Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Rises’

*It’s a fact that for more than 400 years people have reported seeing large, hair-covered, man-like animals in the wilderness areas of North America.

The real Big Foot photo

I'm no hoax!

According to the *BFRO, (Big Foot Research Organization), Vilas County Wisconsin has only had 2 documented Big Foot reports.  Since there was no internet when I was a boy and I’d have had no time for it if there had been, my experiences have gone unreported until now.  It was not until watching Eastern Rises and learning about Frank Smethurst’s fascination with Big Foot that I recalled my early interactions with the creature.

From the age of 6 until I started working in Alaska, I spent most of my summers along with a few other seasonal visits in and around Camp Manito-wish.  The camp is located on Boulder Lake, adjacent to the town of  Boulder Junction Wisconsin, which lays claim to being the Muskie Capital of the World.  My father was the executive director at the time and camp was home for me as much as or more so than our official residence in Whitefish Bay (Milwaukee).

*It is a fact that, for over seventy years, people have been finding, photographing, and casting sets of very large human-shaped tracks. Most are discovered by chance in remote areas. These tracks continue to be found to this day.

During the time when camp was in session, my dad was pretty darn busy.  I’d say his deal was a lot like mine as a fishing guide in that there is no down time in-season and something always needs doing.  Being a boy, I had unlimited downtime and a great big area to spend it in.  Fishing was often the mission, but I also fancied myself a woodsman.  I spent countless hours stealthily wandering deer trails and old logging roads.  I even made a sort of tree stand with a big 2”x12” wedged between the perfectly aligned forks of two oak trees.  I could lie across the board and silently watch as deer walked the trail and paused for acorns.

*It is a fact that the cultural histories of many Native American and First Nation peoples include stories and beliefs about non-human “peoples” of the wild. Many of these descriptions bear a striking resemblance to the hairy man-like creatures reported today.

I knew that I was the only human wandering the woods and I never saw any bear scat, but sometimes I’d come across other unexplained sign.  Tree stumps uprooted, huge rocks pulled from the earth and strange diggings.  Something else was out there in my woods.  Back at school, I managed to find some books at the library about Bigfoot and I was pretty sure there was no other explanation.  I read everything I could find about the creatures and did at least one class book report on the subject.  I’m sure the girls and some of the boys all figured I was a true nerd.

Then there was the incident that left no doubt.  I was poking along the lake shore, rolling rocks for crayfish and chasing minnows when it happened.  From out of the woods came strange grunting noises and as I turned toward the sound, a giant boulder whizzed over my head and splashed into the water.

A true believer.

*To many, these facts, taken together, suggest the presence of an animal, probably a primate that exists today in very low population densities. If true, this species, having likely evolved alongside humans, became astonishingly adept at avoiding human contact through a process of natural selection.

I’m not talking about someone throwing a rock.  It was truly a boulder hucked into Boulder Lake and right over my head.  The intensions were clear.  Something did not want me there and that something was Big Foot.  Heart thudding and head buzzing, I crouched for a moment, ready to dodge the next barrage, but that was it.  My woodsmen instincts soon kicked in and I crept up the slope toward where the rock had been launched and there was nothing to see.  I was both relieved and devastated.  The ground in the area where the creature had been was packed dirt covered in a deep layer of pine needles.  My meager skills could not discern a trail.  One thing was clear however; there were no rocks on that slope.

*It is a fact that sightings of these animals continue today. Real or not, these reports are often made by people of unimpeachable character.

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In the past 24 hours, I have had five people make reference to my great lifestyle.  While I could create an entire post listing the trade offs, that would be no fun.  I am a happy guy most of the time and thankful for all the wonderful experiences and fish I have seen in Alaska and other wild and fishy places.  On Tuesday, I was actually fishing Montana in 50 degree weather and exercising a bunch of trout and maybe gloating a bit.  But right now, its 3 degrees and its been snowing since Wednesday.  My buddy captain Eric Lund is using his new smart phone like a voodoo doll and poking me with pictures from Islamorada where he says its a bit chilly at 79 degrees.  Then we have these guys…frankly Frank (and Felt Soul guys), I am envious.  (I have also encountered Big Foot and have a story for another time.)

On another track, I read an interesting opinion post yesterday from Fly Fish Ohio called the Extinction Event.  Joe writes about The Fly Fishing Industry’s Headlong Rush Into Irrelevance And How It Might Be Able To Save Itself… The fly fishing industry is missing the mark for generating more participation. The number of fly fishing anglers is spiraling down.  The number of fly fishing days per capita spent on the water has increased dramatically and the amount of money spent on high end goods by a shrinking number of dedicated and financially solvent people is keeping us going for now, but for how long?  The future of our sport is about to nose dive, unless we can make some changes.

Despite what we say about fly fishing not being an elitist sport, videos showing anglers flying around in helicopters and casting $1000+ fly rods are just not helping our cause.  Sorry Felt Soul guys…we still want to be you, it’s just that most kids will never grow up to do what you are doing.  The problem we need to face is getting young people off the couch by showing them opportunities at home.  There are many good fly fishable waters and species to chase throughout our country that don’t require a helicopter, only a little knowledge and an inexpensive fly rod.  So here is my thought.  Beyond the industry offering lower priced tackle, fly fishermen need to begin recycling.  How many first generation fly rods are out there gathering dust?  Will you ever actually fish that 5wt DS now that you have an XP, ZAxis and TCX?  Even if the answer is yes, how valuable would it be to pass it on to a young angler who just needs some spark and some tackle to begin the lifelong quest we are all passionate about; to become someone who will grow up to support the industry and care about preserving his local waters.

A couple years ago, I pulled a modest fly rod from the Kenai River.  While there was nothing wrong with it, I had no need for such a rod.  Several days later, I had a father and son on a guided trip who wanted to try fly fishing.  They loved it, but the father said that after the cost of the trip, he could not see spending $500 bucks to get his son started fly fishing at home.  After fishing, we drove back to my cabin and I presented him with the rod and dug out an old reel and fly line to make it work. He has since landed many fish on that outfit in Florida and his dad is bringing him back to Alaska for their third trip this summer.

This spring, with some help from our fly fishing club (MRF) I am planning a free fly casting class for kids from the Great Falls schools.  We will pull in as many donation rods as we can get and send as many kids home with a rod and a dream as we can.  Its grass roots time people.  We need to save our sport.

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