Hook and Bullet Club

by Nick Wognum

The first day of March and we went looking for signs of spring.
Our friends at the National Weather Service said it was the first day of meteorologic spring. Of course they told us the other day it was going to go from -18 degrees in the morning to 40 in the afternoon. When I questioned this on Twitter, I got a great response: “We’re marketing, Mother Nature handles production.”
Marketing or not the calendar tells us we’re closer to the walleye opener every day. But fishing wasn’t the plan for the day, I wanted to get Mary out to the shack so she could see the change in the scenery.
This past winter the area around us was logged off. After 20 years of seeing the same trees we can now see a lot farther in nearly every direction.
“Wow!’ She said as we came up to the driveway.
“You sure can see a long ways away now.”
We hopped off and took one step off the skid road and sank in snow nearly three feet deep. If there hadn’t been logging equipment or a snowmobile there this winter, the snow depth is past knee deep.
We trudged through until we were able to get back on semi-solid ground. If you’ve walked on a frozen snowmobile track you know how this works. One step too close to the edge and you get to test your balance skills while one leg is buried and the other is bent in half.
Somehow we made it to the shack and up the steps to the deck. A little shoveling and the door was opened up.
“I think it’s colder in here that it is outside,” I said.
Sure enough the temperate inside was about 15 degrees colder. We went inside anyway, force of habit apparently.
Nothing much had changed since I was last there a month or so ago to remove the snow from the roof.
We did some shoveling, checked on the sauna building and enjoyed the peace and quiet for a bit.
“Good thing they didn’t cut down the trees by the shack or we couldn’t hear the wind through the pines,” Mary said.
It’s a sound that’s been a calming influence for those who visit Camp Cholesterol. We’ve had our share of visitors over the past 20 years. Some great memories of those visits come flooding back as the wind whistles through the pine needles.
We recently lost one of those visitors. It was news that sent us reeling. On Sunday he was on our minds as we looked around the forest.
“Is that the stand he sat in when he hunted with you guys?” Mary asked.
“Yup, that’s the one.”
He and I had walked from the shack to that stand on a cold November morning. I took some photos of him climbing up into the stand. They were the only photos I have of his visit.
Back at the shack the insulated shirt he bought to stay warm hangs on the back of a chair. What was left behind is now a reminder of a lost loved one.
Pages on the calendar turn. Years go by. Visitors come and go. Some never get a chance to get back.