“Plane’s here, b’y!”
It’s a strange little undeclared competition amongst the camp regulars, to see who can first hear the float plane drone into the camp’s air space. After all, keen ears are a key attribute of the accomplished outdoorsman. If you’re not wearing the winning ears that particular flight, then you chime in instantly after you hear that first pronouncement and embellish the word ‘plane’ with a higher inflection or by adding a word or two.
Regardless of who sings out first, it’s a call to arms. Chairs push back from the table and warm cups of coffee are drained in a gulp. Women step quickly, drying their hands on soiled aprons and removing hairnets. It’s a scurry, especially on Fridays – changeover day.
The staff and guides make their way directly to the dock wearing their ‘Friday Blue’ denim shirts. Bear and Georgia, camp dogs, are already there. Georgia looks out to the Otter now taxiing in, awaiting the arrival of ‘new’ friends.
Bear, though equally excited to visit the newcomers, cannot resist the water, checking each ripple for the movement of minnows. Always fishing, never catching but forever filled with Labrador optimism.
Friday mornings bring a myriad of emotions. First-time guests, filled with expected anticipation, will finally discover if they chose the ‘right spot’ to hunt brook trout. Returning guests smile at familiar faces and swear it could not have been a year since they last said good-bye.
The previous weeks anglers, many with a tear on their cheek, limp a little with the fatigue served up by a week wading wild rivers. Sad to be leaving, they look past the long return trip toward the comfort of home and familiar surroundings. Most pose with their new ‘family’ to capture a final memory.
When the Otter is off-loaded of the new week’s anglers and their gear, the departing folks board the big float plane and buckle into their seats to begin their journey home.
With a last look from the water, the port hole serves as a lens to focus thoughts on the wilderness home shared, the power of a trophy brookie. And the laughter, the food and spirits, camaraderie and adventure.
The nine cylinder radial pops to a start, hums up to pressure and hauls the floats off the water. Passengers on the port side have one last look at the camps. A diminished figure waves from the dock, then gives the ‘thumbs-up’. Travel safely. Enjoy the ride.
The Otter’s drone fades over the ranges. A new week begins. Arriving guests settle into their cabins and assemble their gear. The staff bustles – girls dive into the day’s meals, boys pull on damp waders that are as much Aquaseal as Goretex. All parties will soon gather in the cook lodge for orientation and licensing. Compliant and informed, anglers wader up and make their way to the dock – to the fishing.
It’s Friday at Three Rivers Lodge. It doesn’t get better than this.