by Mark Walters
Back to the Flambeau!
This past week I went on a four-day camping trip, to an island on the Flambeau Flowage, with four young ladies that I have been traveling with for quite a few years.
Jamie and Jenna Bistodeau are a couple of the original KAMO Kids (Kids And Mentors Outdoors), Tess Bigalke is KAMO mentor, Jody and Johnnie Bigalkes daughter and then there is my 12-year-old daughter Selina.
Last year, the five of us camped on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage and we had so much fun that we decided to make this an annual trip.
Wednesday, August 8th
High 70, lo 51
Two canoes and one boat fully loaded with camping gear, a sun setting in the west, and high hopes for finding a vacant campsite. The island that we camped on last year was occupied, which gave its occupants the title of “Island Stealers” the rest of the trip. We found a vacant island with a campsite nearby and as I have seen so many times in the past, these girls worked hard and in no time we had a comfortable camp built and ended our day with walking tacos.
Thursday, August 9th
High 68, low 47
Last year, the majority of this adventure had something to do with swimming, tubing, hide and seek, fishing, and campfire time. Last year the water was cold, this year it was too cold to swim, and our tubing experience did not last long at all.
This morning I went musky fishing and dropped the girls off on a large island where they tried to swim and then found a campfire that was not totally out so they got it going and made pine needle tea and laughed a lot.
This afternoon, the girls played hide and seek on the island and Jamie and Tess found a white pine that they could easily climb. That white pine would be their roost many times over the next 48 hours
My job is chief cook and bottle washer and it is enjoyable, the background is always kids having a blast and a view from our island campsite that I have enjoyed since I was 9-years-old.
The last two hours of daylight was spent on a long boat ride where we casted musky lures and I listened to four girls in their endless banter.
Friday, August 10th
High 69, low 44
Today, Selina and Jenna wanted to find a cooler fort then the top of the white pine where Tess and Jamie live. While searching for paradise the girls managed to walk onto a ground bee nest and between the two of them, they were stung at least 15 times. About all I can say is that they toughed it out. Later, I dropped the girls off at their island getaway and someone had used a burnt stick and carved the name Jenna and put a smiley face next to it, this happened since yesterday and pretty much freaked the girls out. I happened to mention that I thought I saw a big ugly dude swimming towards our island and tonight the girls kept pretty close to me.
We tried tubing and also swimming in a shallow bay off from the tube. I dropped the girls off and went to throw some casts, when I came back all four were on the tube and rather chilly.
Later we went exploring by boat and casting for musky. Tonight we had steak and homegrown potatoes cooked in a cast iron pan over the campfire. I cooked the potatoes in olive oil instead of vegetable oil and they were incredible. The girls were all-proud to be carnivores and ate the steak with their hands.
This is truly one of my coolest annual adventures and it is obvious the girls think so as well; it will be neat to see how long all of us can keep it an annual trip.
Next year it will be a July experience with the hopes of being able to swim.
My guess is, that like the memories I have from being here almost 45 years ago, these girls will also smile when they are in their early fifties and think about the Flambeau Flowage! Take care, Sunset
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Hiawatha National Bank.