Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson
For August 27th, 2010 Edition.
Bibon Bound (Part two & conclusion)
The wind and pounding rain was short lived. Within fifteen minutes the noisy rattle of raindrops on our tents was replaced by gentle "pitter pat", which for dyed in the wool tent campers is the Sandman's lullaby. Softly falling raindrops on the roof of a secure tent is a peaceful treasured sound guaranteeing sound, relaxing sleep, which for me came swiftly.
A familiar urge pulled me out of my tent about 1:30 a.m. The star studded nighttime sky once again reminded me of the complete insignificance of mankind. An unexplained total silence hung over the wetlands. Not a frog croaked, not a mosquito buzzed, not a single normal nighttime sound could be detected! Our immediate world was consumed in deep sleep.
Returning to my tent I lay on my back and welcomed the comfort my foam ground pad and sleeping bag provided. I replayed the day's events in my mind once more. I recalled Mark's wide grin after winning his battle with a 15-inch German Brown and marveled at little five-year old-Grant's newfound casting skill. And grandpa Tom's approval of his grandson's acceptance of sitting reasonably still and content for almost four hours in a canoe. I almost shivered recalling the chill of plunging into what seemed like ice water after we had made our campsite ship-shape. And just before I re-entered dreamland I faintly heard a familiar night sound.
Off to the northwest a roving pack of wolves sounded off several times. Were they celebrating a kill or simply communicating with relative? Maybe it was the boys coming home from a "night on the town?" Who could tell and who would ever know? I slept peacefully once again until the gray of dawn slowly over powered the night's darkness.
I took my time dressing in the tent prior to exiting into a new day at 5:45 a.m. My three companions in the neighboring tent were still submerged in dreamland, so I simply set up my canvas folding chair next to the river bank, drank in the cool morning air and watched the dark, silent water slowly and relentlessly flow eastward towards its final destination with Gitchee Gumee. Patches of fog hung like a soft lace curtain over the river as well as above the canopy of elm that surrounded our tiny grassy glen. This morning there would be no sunrise color show along the eastern horizon. Old Sol would need to turn up the thermostat for an hour or more in order to burn off the foggy ceiling that covered the Bibon Swamp.
My wandering thoughts continued uninterrupted for nearly a half-hour. Then my desire for a mug of hot, fresh brewed coffee overcame my desire to remain quiet. I loudly asked Tom in which cooler the coffee was packed. He responded in a sleep-drugged voice that he'd come out of his tent and find it himself. Two up and two to go!
A small strip of birch bark I had packed in my cooking kit plus a few pieces of dry cedar soon had a modest fire blazing under my portable grill. What yesterday was a gallon of ice in a plastic bottle produced just enough fresh water for a sizable pot of "guide's coffee." A small handful of coffee grounds dumped on top of the cold water and brought to a boil produces coffee that Starbucks wishes they could reproduce! One cup of cold water poured into the brewed coffee settles all the grounds to the bottom of the pot. Now all one has to do is pour the brew into insulated mugs or authentic tin cups and enjoy five star coffee! None better!
Mark appeared scratching various parts of his anatomy about 7:15 and Grant followed shortly. Soon crisp fried pepper bacon, scrambled eggs, pan fried trout fillets and fire browned toast resided on four aluminum plates. Ten minutes of mostly silence followed.
By 9:30, the campsite restored as we had found it, we once again headed downstream hoping to recognize the same campsite Tom and I had used for a second night on the river eleven years earlier. But in eleven years Ma Nature can create many changes!
The seating arrangement in canoe number one was different than it was on day one. My companions decreed their guide would take the bow seat and accept the applied pressure to produce a trout or two for our dinner. I pretended to protest - then quickly took the front seat before Mark changed his mind.
Old Sol was now in firm control of the sky above and once again heat and humidity dominated the environment. The river was still running very high and swifter than normal, as it was on day one, and the trout did a magnificent job of avoiding my temping offerings of various sized and colored spinners.
During my first two hours of relentless casting I was rewarded with one just barely legal trout and four undersized dinks. But on about cast number 400 a sudden violent jolt awakened my reflexes and I set the hook. A huge surface boil erupted and the back of what looked like a very respectable trout presented my eyes with a split second look. My little ultra-light rod bent to maximum, the drag on my spinning reel sang like the fat lady in the opera as yard after yard of line peeled off my spool. I increased the drag a tad and braced myself for a battle.
Fortunately the initial strike had occurred in the middle of a long straight stretch of river. The fish and the canoe headed downstream together as the battle see-sawed back and forth. The tiny hook held - Mark did a masterful job with the net and eventually victory was ours!
Tom and Grant were right behind us in canoe number two and quickly paddled next to our canoe to help celebrate the conquest of my largest stream trout to date! And I must say, over the past six plus decades I've caught hundreds! Tom's photos of the 20 ½" speckled German brown beauty turned out professional grade, although the guy holding the trout might look better shaven and showered.
I caught but one more undersized fingerling during the next half hour and then I put my rod away for the day and helped my guide, Mark, paddle.
Sometime during the next two hours we passed our intended second night campsite without recognizing it! Ma Nature had obviously reclaimed what was rightfully hers during the past eleven years.
The increased flow of the river, due to an over abundance of summer rain, plus a strong following wind deposited us at our take out point about 1:30 p.m. During our two days on the river we had conquered 22 miles of wilderness in only eight hours of paddling, which was four hours less than my previous five trips through the Bibon Swamp! My truck was waiting at the take out point and Mark and I used it to recover Tom's truck at our put-in point. By 4:45 we were back at the Anderson homestead in St. Germain.
Tom prepared a gourmet dinner out of the two huge fillets from our trout. Wrapped in aluminum foil and grilled on each side for ten minutes, plus seasoned with Emeril, pepper, onion, lemon and a dash of Grand Mariner, an orange flavored liqour, the four of us, plus Wifee Poo, ate like kings and queens.
The following morning, as our three guests prepared to depart for their respective homes downstate, Tom, Mark and Grant asked if I'd consider making this same trip an annual event.
Guess what my answer was!
Mr. Leon "Buckshot" Anderson is one of the few old time hunting and fishing guides left in Northern Wisconsin. Buckshot is a personal friend of the family and has known and worked with my grandfather, Howard "Pop" Dean, both of whom are members of the fresh water fishing hall of fame, Legendary Guide. Buckshot has authored 7 books on the great outdoors. All of his books can be purchased directly from him, at a discount, by email: email@example.com or by mail to: 2220 Deadman's Gulch Road, St. Germain, WI 54558.
Books by Leon "Buckshot" Anderson Click Here
Yes; Deadman's Gulch is the correct name, I have been on that road many times. Sincerely David D. Cruger
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