When evening time comes in camp, weary anglers back from the day’s fishing sit to re-kindle with a hearty meal. We dine around a massive pine and maple table that seats sixteen. The usual quiet conversations are interrupted only by a “please pass the so-and-so” or the clink of a wine bottle on a glass rim. It’s a mellow time. Hard to talk much when hungry anglers are dining. Early in the week, what talk there is is mostly about fish and fishing. Perhaps flies, rods and lines. As the week moves along, you hear more about the magic of the wilderness, birds and wildflowers and quietude.
After the meal, the ladies in the kitchen need to clear the table and set it up for morning meal. Guests and some of the boys leave the big table and move into the “tilt”, a sitting room so named as a tribute to the early trappers who spent their winters tending traplines on the Labrador. Like their humble dwellings along their icy routes, our tilt is built with the coarse spruce trees that dominate the boreal forests. Its name has become even more appropriate as the hard winters’ frost heave the floor into a noticeable pitch. It was a welcomed addition to the dining lodge when completed a couple of years ago.
In the tilt, conversation picks up and the laughter begins. The guitar that rests in the corner occasionally gets strummed and prompts a song. It is here that guests molt from strangers to fellow travelers to friends. This is the special magic of a fishing camp. If the night is right and the stories engaging, this celebration will last until the generator shuts down at 10 pm.
Thursday night is the guests’ final night in camp. The soiree will surely last a little longer. Stories get wilder, jokes a bit dirtier and laughter and song rebound from the bony hills across the lake, a fitting end to another week in paradise.