From the North Woods

Posted 7/6/22

As many of you may know by now, my beautiful girlfriend Michelle Chiaro passed away unexpectedlyonJune15th. I am trying to find myself and begin a life minus Michelle and her children who were set to …

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From the North Woods


As many of you may know by now, my beautiful girlfriend Michelle Chiaro passed away unexpectedlyonJune15th. I am trying to find myself and begin a life minus Michelle and her children who were set to move into my house the weekthatshepassed. Iwrote this week’s column back in 1989, it was the first one that I ever wrote and I will be doing this for the next five weeks as I take care of as much business as possible.

You may have read the article in press about me a couple of weeks back. My name is Mark Walters. I manage a fly in hunting and fishing in Northwest, Ontario. This summer and fall, I will send down some letters telling you about what’s going on up here. This is a very interesting business.

I arrived in Red Lake on Mother’s Day. It was 90 degrees. There was still ice on the big lakes. The owner of this camp is a German immigrant by the name of Peter Hagedorn. Pete started this camp in 1974 here on Roderick Lake. He built his first cabin in 1974 and now has 14 at 9 different locations. To get to all of them, you have to fly. Our guests come on Saturday and leave on Saturday.

We flew out of Red Lake on Sunday the 14th; I will probably not see town more than two or three times before November 1st. Our main camp is located on Roderick Lake 50 air miles from Red Lake. When we arrived here the lake was still froze over. We landed on a smaller lake behind the camp that was opened up. A lake we call the supper lake because we can usually catch supper on it real quick. I brought my Golden Retriever up. His name is Ben. It was his first plane ride, and he did not want to get out.

We have a 200 foot plane pier. The last 50 foot took some ice damage as did both of our boat docks. Other than that, everything was as we left it on October 24th.

Monday, I put the plane pier back together and Pete got the water running for the camp. We have 3 cow tanks on top of a tower that have a 1000 gallon capacity. We pump the water from the lake and gravity brings the water from the tanks to the cabin. Simple but efficient.

Tuesday, we flew to one of our outposts called Marvin Outpost. An outpost is one or two cabins on a chain of lakes where the guests are alone. Last fall I cut 8 cords of wood into 8 foot logs across the lake. Tuesday, I hauled it back to the cabin by boat, pulling a boat behind mine. On one trip I got caught in the middle of the lake by a storm. It got windy, rainy, and cold real quick. I got soaked.

Opening a camp is a lot of work, especially when you have eight and only 4 days to do it. Fishing opens Saturday and the guests will be flown in Friday.

Later in the day I went to two different portage lakes and bought motors, gas tanks, and paddled to them. Each portage lake has one or two boats. A portage lake is a lake where the fisherman follows a trail anywhere from 100 to 900 yards carrying only his fishing gear to a boat and motor we have rigged up. Between all of our camps, we have 75 boats and motors. Its only Pete and I, so they keep us very busy.

On Wednesday, we opened up Schultz and Keeper River Outposts. The outposts only have hand pumps in the cabins for water along with gas lamps, a gas oven, a gas refrigerator, and a gas freezer. You really have to be a jack of all trades in this business. It’s a good thing Pete is. He’s taught me a lot in the last year. It’s not like you can just go to Sears and replace equipment up here or call a specialist to fix it.

Today I got to Chimo Lodge ready for the 20 guests that are flying in tomorrow morning. I was the official outboard motor hanger and tester. It is 12:30. The guests will arrive anytime after 5:30pm. The last five days we have worked as many hours as we could. We’re both tired, but we’re both excited.

It will be hard to get letters every week. Sometimes it takes a week to get them out of the bush and two weeks to get them to the states.

Sincerely, Mark Walters P.S. As I sit here, I can hear the loons calling. That’s a nice way to end the day.