Last year I met up with an old friend of mine who I’ve known for over 50 years. We got to talking about old times, since we hadn’t seen each other for 40 years. Turns out he owns a fishing and hunting lodge out in the Buchans area. We fished together as young teenagers and I never lost interest in fishing since I was 10 years old. Turns out he never either. In fact, he now runs Victoria Outfitters. His name is Dave Evans, but I always knew him as Tim. Well, we got to talking about fishing and before we parted, I gave him my new address and phone number. Then I forgot about that encounter until May 17.
A knock comes on my door and there stood Tim, a.k.a. Dave. I invited him in but he couldn’t stay as he had someone waiting in his truck. What he said nearly floored me. He was going to open up his lodge for the season and would I like to go along and help out, and probably do a bit of fishing as well?
Well if I had won a lottery, I wouldn’t have felt any happier. Of course I’d like to go.
He was leaving Friday morning at 7 a.m. and could I be ready? I spent the rest of the evening digging out my fishing gear, packing extra clothes, etc. I was up at 5 a.m., ready to go. Tim showed up at seven and we were off. He picked up his buddy, Stew, out in Mount Pearl and we set off over the highway. We stopped in Clarenville for a coffee break and again in Badger for lunch.
His canoe was 20 miles inland from Badger in the interior of central Newfoundland. All dirt roads, so we had to ride quads, 4x4s, which I had never driven before, but with minimal instructions we were on our way. Two hours later, we arrived at the lodge. Wow, what a place he has there. The lodge is about 60 by 30, features a large living room with fireplace, a rustic look, antlers on the walls and other interesting stuff.
The country is absolutely beautiful. We saw lots of wildlife, moose, caribou, beavers, geese, ducks and lot of other birds. But the most spectacular of all was the night sky. Billions of stars were out all four nights I was there. I didn’t want to go to sleep. The weather was really good, too, considering it was the 24th weekend. High teens and low 20s each day. On Monday it actually went to 28 C. Who’d believe that for a May 24th weekend?
We did some work around the site, fixing up the wharfs which had been damaged by ice during the winter. Got the lodge up and running with generators for the lights and hot water. Did some cleaning and getting the place ready for the season.
Then came the fishing. Wow, is all I can say. We went out in the boat and in less then five minutes I hooked a dandy. Then Stew hooked one, then I hooked another. Each one of them was in the one to two-pound range. We spent about two hours up and down the pond catching trout, but mostly enjoying the beautiful scenery. Every now and then we would spook a flock of ducks into the air. Or we’d see caribou roaming by the treeline. The beavers and the birds were all busy getting their homes built. We only kept three trout to have for breakfast, the rest we let go, as it was only our first day and we knew we’d have plenty of time to catch our limit before the weekend was over.
We had cooked suppers each night. Pork chops one night, meat loaf another; the food was great. After supper, we’d sit around the lodge chatting, telling lies about the trout we’d caught and telling tales about bygone years of when we were young (we’re in our 60s now). I brought along a guitar so we had a few sing-songs. We’d turn in around 10:30, but not before gazing up at the stars. Absolutely spectacular. Anyone who looks at that amazing sight and doesn’t know there is a creator must be delusional. Every night I’d have to get out of bed at 2 or 3 a.m. and go outside. One night I stood up outside the cabin door, looking up at the stars. I bent my head back so far I lost my balance and fell backwards into the door, knocking it open. I fell on my backside on the floor — causing a big racket which woke the boys up. I sheepishly picked myself up, apologized to the boys and got back into bed. Each night after that when I went outside, I make sure I was holding onto something before I’d look up.
We had lots of fun, lots of good food, fabulous fishing and fabulous weather. We saw lots and lots of wildlife and I got to drive a quad, but the most memorable sight of all was starlit nights where the entire universe was on display for the naked eye to enjoy.
Thanks Tim (Dave Evans), thanks Stew, great meeting you, young Dave and Adam. Thanks for the greatest 24th I’ve ever had.
John Snow writes from St. John’s.