by Mark Walters
“Flam Clan 2014”
The trip that I am about to write about is an annual one that I take with my 13-year-old daughter, Selina and three of her very good friends Jenna Bistodeau, Tess Bigalke and Erin Smelcer. Along with my golden retriever, Fire and kitten Popcorn we lived on an island on this beautiful piece of paradise that is located in Iron County.
Thursday, July 24th
High 71 low 50
A boat that is not big enough, a day that does not have enough daylight. That would sum up our situation as the girls and I loaded my 16-foot MirroCraft and the two canoes that we would pull behind it with a ton of gear.
By the time we hit the water it was 7:00 p.m. and we were hoping to find a campsite before day became night. Good luck was on our side when we found an open island campsite where I have lived probably six weeks of my life.
Until camp was built I was all business from the time we started loading canoes until our tents were up.
Just before dark the girls lit a campfire and it was time to relax in the serene paradise of the northwoods. I came here 44-years ago for the first time with my dad and brothers and I love the Flambeau.
Friday, July 25th
High 73, low 48
The Flambeau curse for this group the last three years has been cold weather that made water sports pretty difficult. For the most part these girls swim at camp and get pulled behind my boat on a tube and canoe. Today the wind switched to the north and swimming was a challenge until finally Selina and Tess said to heck with it and dived in. Erin Smelcer soon followed and eventually Jenna joined her comrades. In a very short period of time the girls dived to the bottom of the flowage and retrieved 57-clams of which they did some “scientific experiments” on seven of them (the next day it was crawfish).
One of my jobs is to keep food in front of these kids and I cooked a heck of a meal on the campfire of cheesy potatoes and burgers. Later in the day I took the girls tubing which included a two-mile tow just to get the girls to a stump free zone (two girls on the tube, two in the boat).
My motor is a 40 hsp Mercury and it is a challenge to give these girls a ride with such a small engine but they are always laughing when I look behind me and that is what this trip is all about.
Just before dark I left camp and went musky fishing while the four young adventuresses had a blast around the campfire. All four of them are now seasoned to bugs, dirt, and cold water.
Saturday, July 26th
High 79, low 51
The tent that I am using should have hit the dumpster five years ago. To say the least, it is not mosquito proof and each morning from about 4:00 to 5:00 I gave blood to the local flock. Today the girls learned that when put into confinement, crawfish like to pick on the smallest crawfish, they painted themselves with ash, they took Popcorn, the kitten, swimming and we went tubing until there was just enough gasoline to get us back to the truck the next morning. Later in the day we went on a canoe trip and then all of us went on a very challenging swim, which for the girls was a total of a thousand yards. Fire swam with us and totally loved every minute of it.
Just before we hit the rack for the last night a storm approached camp, which was the first of many. I listened to Tess, Selina, Jenna, and Erin until 4:00 a.m. as they laughed their heads off in the tent that they were calling home.
When we got up in the morning my brand new screen tent was a twisted piece of spaghetti, as every pole was busted and when it collapsed it landed just right on my Coleman propane stove and destroyed the gas line.
I put the girls to work and it was strictly business until the truck was loaded and we were headed south for our homes.
They call themselves “The Flam Clan” and they are four tough critters! Sunset!
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Hiawatha National Bank