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This past week I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a few days at our cabin near Grand Rapids in Northern Minnesota. The weather could not have been any better with mild sunny days and cool clear nights which made for excellent sleeping. I was once again greeted by some fallen trees which gave me chance to practice my “Old” Lumberjack prowess.

This time I actually came prepared as I had borrowed my son Brian’s trusty chainsaw which would make removing any tree standing in my way an easy task. Unfortunately for me I had not paid very close attention when Brian explained to me in great detail how to start said saw. I’m sure in my mind I was thinking “piece of cake” when in all reality I should have been asking questions. After exerting much of my energy in a futile attempt at starting the by then flooded chainsaw I had to resort to what I now call the “poor man’s chainsaw” or the saw for those that don’t pay attention.

I had one tree leaning across the drive in a dangerous position and another wedged up tight behind it while a third lay about forty feet away just partially blocking the drive. After hand sawing and axing my way to clearing away the tree blocking me from getting a clear chopping angle to the base of the large leaning pine I was ready. I could have reached the trunk from the front but that, more than likely, would have resulted in the tree falling towards me, thus making me feel dumber than I was already feeling.  After chopping the base loose I still had this huge pine tree connected to a couple of other trees at the top.

I needed a plan, and in what I have lately been calling “the Herfindahl way” I improvised; which seems to be what I am probably best at these days, some may even call this McGuyvering but after too many occurrences I must put my own stamp on it. After rounding up a couple of tow ropes I secured the two  together and tied one end to the base of the tree while attaching the other to the hitch on my pickup. As I slowly inched forward the base of the tree rose off of the ground pointing at me but not budging. I backed off a little and began doing subtle tugs until the tree started to lose its grip at the top and dropped to the ground where I was able to drag it off to the side. Another job finished, but with the amount of trees that we have at our place I am sure that it won’t be too long before another challenge awaits the old lumberjack.

Taking that tree down was one of the reasons I decided to head north for a few days because it was in a dangerous place and could have had serious consequences if it had fallen if someone was near it. The other reason(s) were purely selfish, take a little time to enjoy some beautiful weather, do a little work around the cabin and maybe even get in a little fishing.

In just four days the leaves had really started to turn and the fall colors were starting to emerge from their summer hiding places. The yellows and reds of the softwoods had started to paint the roadsides and forests. I have to admit that my plan to fish hit a little snag when awoke the next morning to find that I was so stiff and sore from playing lumberjack that I could barely get out of bed.  I definitely was not agile enough to be climbing in and out of the boat.

I actually enjoy doing the “putsy” things around the cabin because it keeps me busy and moving. By the next morning I was feeling pretty good and once again the fishing thought entered my head but I had already devised a plan “B” which is driving around exploring public accesses on different lakes that I have not visited before and maybe doing a little casting.

This may sound kind of boring to some folks but to me it gives me the thrill of exploring some of the countless lakes that seem to be behind every bend in the road in Itasca County. With the beauty of the day and the hint of change in the air I was able to find some new lakes that I had not visited before and I was also able to wet a line at a few of those public accesses. Not all accesses have an area that is open enough for casting but most will offer that opportunity and may even offer up a bluegill or a perch to temporarily satisfy the kid in me who says “fishing is fishing and catching, no matter what species, is the bonus.”

Until next time, the trees will soon be turning painting a whole different picture for us to enjoy. Fall is by far my favorite time to spend time in the outdoors.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

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