Somerset, corrected

Sorry for the date mistake.  The Somerset, NJ Show is Friday – Sunday, January 23 – 25.

Thanks!

Posted in Fly Fishing Shows, Updates | 2 Comments

Somerset, Here We Come

Just got a call from the Fly Fishing Show folks that a booth space opened up in Somerset, NJ.  So we’re going!  The show is this weekend, Friday through Sunday, January 23 – 25.  Don’t know where on the floor that we will be located, but you can find us by asking the show representatives in the lobby.

Come By for a Chat

Come By for a Chat

The web site for the Somerset Show is here.

Hope to see you there!

Posted in Fly Fishing Shows, Uncategorized, Updates | 2 Comments

Here Comes (or there goes) Another Year

Yes, one year come and gone from my personal allotment. Probably from yours, too. Years are moving faster, for sure. I suppose it’s up to each of us to make them sweeter. (As my mom used to say, ‘It’s your little red wagon and you’ll just have to pull it’.) Despite best efforts, that’s no guarantee, however. Challenges come along as they see fit. Some are just a nuisance, and we experienced folks have learned to bob and weave through that thicket.  Others come in hard and sudden. And ask what we’re made of.

For eighteen years, nurturing Three Rivers Lodge has been my aspiration. The Labrador journey has had its nuisance thickets, and land-mines, but it has brought me together with more fine folks than I could shake a stick at. And I hope all of you who have blessed my years – you river-loving, long rod waving, out-in-the-boonies kind of folks – enjoyed your 2014 thoroughly, and that each of you has great aspirations for 2015.

Winter Cones

Winter Cones

For 2015, I plan to spend the winter spreading the Labrador gospel, spend the spring knee deep in camp logistics (and in some favorite Maine rivers), and the summer with my fly fishing friends in our little corner of the great northern forest.

Boughs

Boughs

I will be at two Fly Fishing Shows in January. The Denver, CO Show on the 9th through 11th and the Marlborough, MA Show on the 16th through 18th. (Will miss the Somerset, NJ Show this year due to a mix-up with the Fly Fishing Show folks.)

Please come to one of these venues for a visit if you can.  It’s said that the shows are a lot the same from year to year, but they offer a fine escape from the winter blues and you’ll just never know what interesting experience/person you may bump into. (You can always bring a cup of hot, black decaf to my booth and shoot the bull for a spell!)

In between the chores and commitments, I’ll be scouting the woods of northern Vermont by day, sitting beside a wood fire by evening, planning in each moment just how to make the best of my little plot of Vermont acreage. And in all these sessions, be with my two companions, old Bear and spunky Sam, doing my darnedest to give them back even half the joy that they bring to my life.

"Squirrel!"

“Squirrel!”

So Happy New Year to you all. Let’s make this new one our best.

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WIFI, or Not

The previous blog entry (re: the new boardwalk) was first written the end of June when camp was in full session.  But our WIFI was so spotty that the effort (and three subsequent ones) was lost when the service failed.  Throughout the season, our connection to the big world was off and on – mostly off. Very frustrating, to say the least. (Oh! the words that were hurled at the big dish that is mounted on the west side of the dining lodge.)

Of course we called the service provider and from that first moment, their staff put us on the wrong track.  They ‘pinged’ our dish on three occasions and said that it was properly positioned – almost 100% reception.  So we looked for errors in all the other possible equipment components and connections. We ordered and bought two new transponders, a new modem, checked all the wiring, rigged and re-rigged the gear, and still, the service was mostly off. Yes, we had it occasionally, especially early mornings. But when it was needed, gone.

Towards the end of the season (and the end of our patience), we said ‘screw it, let’s move the dish.’  So we loosened the bolts and pushed upwards.  Perfect reception. For the last week of the season!

As mentioned earlier, I had lost so many blog posts to vapors that I gave up trying from camp. Home now, settled, and off to Idaho to visit my new granddaughter, Piper Graham. So let the posts resume.  I’ll get a good report out on the 2014 season very soon.

Appreciate your patience.

 

 

 

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Anatomy of a Boardwalk

As it has for the past fifteen years, a new season begins at TRL when a DCH3 Turbine Otter delivers Kev, Frances and a small crew onto the old dock, just hours after the Spring sun and warming winds have taken the ice off the lake.

Plymouth Dock

Plymouth Dock

Winter has retreated to the north of the Labrador for now, leaving only a few drifts as evidence of the vast coldness that, for eight months, covered our corner of the boreal forest. The willows and alders have yet to bud and tamarack trees have just begin to push out new needles.

Spring Thaw

Spring Thaw

Within 24 hours, Kev and the crew have the generator up and running, the water lines re-attached, and the boarding removed from the camps’ doors and windows. A tidy path is cleared through the snow drifts so supplies can be carted from the dock to the cook lodge.  Frances and Judy stock the pantry shelves and clean the kitchen areas top to bottom.

The cold winter winds have done their usual damage – rocked the cabins off their proper footings and this year, even removed a window from the four man camp.  (Better wind than bears!)

Wind and a Window

Wind and a Window

When the rest of the crew arrives a few days later, chores turn into projects. Our 2014 primary task is replacing the aging, rotting main boardwalk that connects the guest camps to the cook lodge. To its credit, it has endured fifteen years of weather extremes, thousands of foot poundings and the endless munching of the few bacteria we have up this far north.  Gone, it is, and dangerous to boot.  And so begins the task.

The Dismantling Begins

The Dismantling Begins

Dave gets it all started with the removal of the four-man connecter. Guides Anthony, Byron and Ron take to the woods in search of suitable saw logs.  They scour the far shorelines for stands of larger tamarack, fell the victims and drag them to the water’s edge. When a boat load is cut and limbed, they tether them together behind the Lund and haul them slowly up the lake and into the cove nearest the sawmill.

Ron, Byron and Anthony Drag Logs from the Forest to the Mill

Loggers Drag Butt Logs from the Forest to the Mill

Out behind the camps, the sawyers begin to move timber from the lake’s edge to the sawmill where they will be sliced into two inch slabs.

Michel and Kev Heave To

Michel and Kev Heave To

Up onto the Sawmill

Up onto the Sawmill

Slicing and Dicing the Tamarack

Slicing and Dicing the Tamarack

The new treads are cut at 2 inches thick to withstand the weather and traffic that they will endure for the next fifteen years. We have used thinner cuts in years past. Though we get more slabs per butt log, the thinner boards tend to weather and break more quickly.

Simon and John - Three Days in the Rain, Sawing Logs

Simon and John – Three Days in the Rain, Sawing Logs

New Rails, New Tamarack Treads

New Rails, New Tamarack Treads

Trans-Camp Rail-Setting

Trans-Camp Rail-Setting

A crew of eight men make tireless daily progress.  Rails are laid and leveled and the tamarack treads fitted and nailed fast. Foot by foot, the new boardwalk takes its place as the main artery of camp traffic.

Camp Dog Bear Inspects Completed Work

Bear, senior camp dog, inspects completed work

2014 is a fine year for TRL.  All the weeks are booked full and the many guests will be walking the new surfaces, stopping often to photograph sunsets, visit with one another, and take in the surrounding wildness.

Rounding the Bend

Rounding the Bend

Chalk lines are snapped along the edges of the newly laid lumber, cut-lines for the chain saw that will trim the walkway into a uniform width.  Scrap ends are collected and saved for firewood that will fuel the many wood stoves that warm the cabins.

Snow-Cooled

Snow-Cooled

Lingering snow banks chill the end-of-the-day rewards. Calloused hands grip cold cans to whet well-earned thirsts. Then dinner! And perhaps a card game if the muscles are still up to it.

After the project is complete, we stroll the new walk and take inventory.  Total of 385 boards cut from from 130 trees.  2310 nails driven. Eight men, six days – three of rain, three of sun. Project Complete! – just in time, a day before the first guests arrive.

Next years projects will include building a new dock and replacing the ‘back’ boardwalk that connects the dock with the dining lodge. How we look forward to another beginning! One board at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

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Rolling Through the 2014 Season

Yet another angling season in Labrador, our seventeenth, is well under way. After the past several summers with unusual weather (last year being our most trying), things are pretty normal here in Labrador west. Wind, of course, but no “three-day blows”.  Rain in just the right amounts to keep the river levels up and the water temps in the mid-fifties. And the dancing between angler and brook trout has been more than merry with many new beautiful partners. Kev, Frances, Judy and the boys are all back for another season with one new guide, Ron, hanging out down in the Guides’ Camp.  Pilot Gilles Morin is again in the Beaver’s left seat dropping small groups of adventurers into all our fun little pockets of streams and glides.

Life at Three Rivers is sweet!

 

Gone North for Char

Gone North for Char

Kev and I guided an author, a filmmaker and a West Virginia chemist up to the splendor of northern Labrador for a day’s char fishing.  Perhaps the most beautiful spot ‘on the Labrador’.

Tony's 1st Char

Tony’s 1st Char

Cowboy Coffee Against an Ancient Tamarack

Cowboy Coffee Against an Ancient Tamarack

Char Wins Grinning Contest

Char Wins Grinning Contest

Back on the Woods River, Kev and I stand at the ready while the Sage covers rises.

Casting Stimmies to Risers

Casting Stimmies to Squaretails

Author's Speck to Hand

Author’s Speck to Hand

Most importantly, our first four weeks of guests have enjoyed this lively and warm-hearted enclave we call our summer home, miles out here in a wilderness of an uninhabited northland. Songs and joking. Tempting foods and favorite beverages. Long evening discourses where we share our values and learn about one another’s dreams. Such are are the underpinnings for memorable days on the water – slow-motion dances with mermaids.

Once again, wringing the most (and the best) out of each beautiful Labrador day.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in About Labrador, Fishing Reports | 1 Comment

Some Mid-Polar Vortex News

Spring is on the way!

OK, maybe not next weekend.  But my hunch is that it will get here and bring with it mud,  black flies,  fiscal cliff row, green grass, open water, the Masters and escapes to pastoral places.

Apple Blossoms

Apple Blossoms, Dandelions

Two Wild Anglers

Two Wild Anglers

All of us at Three Rivers are excited for the coming year. As noted earlier, this will be Kev and Frances’s last summer with us and we intend to make it our best year ever. We’ll celebrate in all sorts of fashions:  old friends returning, a passel of new guests, major improvements to the camps, and mostly, a harmonious group effort to fully dissolve ourselves into the wilderness setting and relish all the ‘fruits’ therein.

Cloudberry (aka Bake Apple)

Cloudberry (aka Bake Apple)

Brook Trout (Labrador Red)

Brook Trout (aka Labrador Red)

So we’re calling out to friends both near and far, that the torch is being passed to a new generation and we want you to drop your routines and become a participant in our history.

We are booking more heavily now than in any year passed.  We have a few choice openings so check them out and see if one or more fit your schedule:

June 20 – 27, 2014 – four rods;  June 27 – July 4 – full; July 4 – 11 – full; July 11 – 18 – full; July 18 – 25 – full; July 25 – August 1 – four rods; August 1 – 8 – four rods; August 8 – 15 – full; August 15 – 22 – two rods; August 22 – 29 – two rods; August 29 – September 6 – four rods.

As my friend Bill S. remarked, for most of us, “. . . the train has long left the station.  It’s not too late to jump on board.”

We’d love to have you up to share the best take on Labrador fly fishing.

Think it over. No regrets.

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