Peace in Perrault Falls. The 2017 season has come to an end. It is a beautiful late fall day. The air is warm, well above freezing. A few lucky golden leaves cling the birch trees in front of the house while most of their kin are scattered throughout the green grass below. Our chainsaw carved eagle stands tall and proud watching over the driveway. You have all come and gone and soon our majestic cedar creation will be covered for the winter. Wrapped in a tarp and topped with snow as the seasons progress. Nature is beautiful, inspirational and always changing. Take time to be in the moment and enjoy it folks! Something new and wondrous will surely follow but what is now may not repeat itself quite the same way. As the branches blow and rustle the remaining leaves inevitably fall. A welcome sense of calm embraces our quiet little corner of the world.
I hope we see another August like this year. It is our favorite part of the summer and this year it was incredible! In the first few days of July a good friend and guest of over 30 years, Jim Leeke, asked us what August was like? Well, there’s a reason they call it God’s country up here. It’s Heaven! June is like a teenager. Everything is new and vibrant, growing quickly, filling with life. The leaves on the trees appear in a patchy mist of light, bright green, engulfing the dull branches of the forest’s canopy. Thick green grass grows way too fast. Hot humid days produce fierce thunderstorms. A new season’s young nervously take their first step, hop, swim, and flight. Not to mention the bugs are in overdrive. There is literally a constant buzz in the air. Life is wild with excitement. As August rolls in our teen has matured. Experience calms the nerves, the cycle of life peaks. The pace slows as nature swells in color and abundance! One must stop to appreciation just how beautiful it is.
The summer air is relaxed, filled with warm confident sunshine. Not a cloud overhead and barely a breeze to speak of. Our vast bright blue sky is mirrored by Perrault’s picturesque clear water, smooth and silky, cool and content to just be. Perfect little circles pop up all around and ripple away as fish feed from the surface. Wildlife inhabits every inch of the lake’s 50 miles of shoreline. A beaver passes by with a branch in tow. A family of mallards, their ducklings in full color, glides along the rocks and olive green reeds. The woods are thriving with rich and diverse vegetation. Kelly grass, shamrock weeds, ferns, moss, emerald/basil/juniper/sage colored leaves, bushy cedar bows, pine and forest green needles all present their own intense shade of dynamic healthy gorgeous green. Squirrels race through the dense overhang of thick trees and hardy shrubs. An orchestra of songbirds tweet and chirp as they flutter branch to branch. (Their symphony is most divine at sunrise.) Perched high above it all on the tallest darkest of spruce trees, an eagle scans the pristine water in search of prey.
All of this natural wonder was abruptly interrupted by the delightful squeals and excited cries of our own young. Long slow summer afternoons offered up the perfect conditions for top water bass fishing. It was pure happiness. (With a hint of someone getting hollered at here and there.) The kids love the outdoors. We can’t imagine a better experience to share with them. Jack was thrilled to graduate to a “real” rod and reel this year. Carmen casted her tiny Tinkerbelle rod with ease! They cast out and reel in their top water baits leaving a lovely little wake trailing behind. Cast and reel, ZZZZZZZZ! The line zings out of the reel as the rod arcs sharply toward the water bouncing and tugging in protest. Little voices exclaim, “I got one! Fish on! Help!” Smallmouth are a lot of fun to catch! “Tip up, reel slowly, let it run, reel in, get the net!” It’s all so fantastic watching your children learn and grow. Guiding them, sharing in the enthusiastic smiles on their precious faces and enjoying the gorgeous late summer day in the background. Can it get better than this? I don’t think so. We even enjoyed musky fishing as a family. YES! On several occasions all four of us were simultaneously casting phantoms and bulldogs in hopes of boating a fish bigger than our kids! Or perhaps we would get the chance to watch a big brute explode out of the water and tail dance along the surface. I have to admit that I was a little worried Carmen would be yanked into the water if a musky decided grab on and run with her flashy little mepps spinner. We enjoyed much of August on the lake as a family. Catching fish, having shore lunch, exploring nature, and making memories. Beautiful memories! At the moment I am extremely thankful for these memories because our youngest creature is squirming beside me, knocking the laptop, bumping my arm and endlessly repeating, “Get up mom, get up mom, get up mom!”
The 2017 season was definitely a good one. True to its predecessors it raced by in an eventful cycle of happy ‘Hello’s and inevitable ‘See you again next year’s. Not to mention a rush of weekly chores, projects and life lessons. Most importantly, our guests! We are so very fortunate to have such wonderful people with us year after year and thankful for each week with its respective friendly familiar faces. As the season goes by, some days more challenging and hectic than others, we find comfort in the routine of your annual stay. We look forward to seeing you all on vacation, loving life in the Canadian wilderness! This season also brought many new guests. I can’t say it enough; wonderful people come to Perrault Lake Camp! We hope you thoroughly enjoyed yourselves and we look forward to seeing you again! To Mark and I there is no better place to be in the world than Perrault Lake. It is our pleasure to share it with you all and to create new and exciting memories to add to your collection of great times at PLC.
In the spirit of making memories, Mark and Jackson were able to get out and go fishing with some of our guests. Jackson is a fairly accomplished fisherman for his age and on one particular morning he caught the most fish. Upon returning to the dock one guest remarked, “Oh man, I was out fished by an 8 year old!” Well, insult to injury, Mark replied, “Actually, he’s 5!” Jackson was very pleased with himself. Our young man is also a workingman around here. As shy as he is sometimes, he lives for meeting and visiting with “the customers.” He is always willing to help and eager to earn a dollar. He is delivering ice upon request, helping with bags, tackle boxes, bait buckets and collecting trash. He is a big help with a big smile. Mark thought this would be a good time to introduce the unfortunate reality of taxes. Now and then he will tease the kids, “Give me half of what you have… That’s taxes!” On Halloween night the candy tax was abolished by a protest that was anything but peaceful. So, we resolved to do what every parent does. Wait until they fall asleep then eat some treats!
Carmen is learning the ropes very quickly. She is always hot on her big brother’s heels and will not tolerate being left out of any activity. (She doesn’t tolerate taxes much either.) We take Jackson to the school bus every morning. Carmen is the first one completely dressed and ready to go, “I too come to Jack bus!” At 2 and a half she is teaching us all kinds of things. For example, where is the best place to hide a cell phone after you have turned the ringer off? Did you know that an IPhone almost completely disappears into the most obscure sliver of a vent in our fireplace? And life lessons like how to successfully navigate a minefield. Our little lady abandons every single thing she touches randomly on the floor. I think her goal is to cover every inch of surface area. On any given day the living room is a scene from an ‘I Spy’ book. And DO NOT even dare to trip on let alone step on one of her babies. She will murder you with a glance! Maybe it’s time to introduce the Elf on the Shelf and explain to her, in my most stern mom voice, “If you don’t pick up your toys the elf will tell Santa that you don’t deserve any presents!” Who am I kidding? I would only be adding another piece of junk to the scene! The thought had potential. Hmm… In the past Mark and I joked about playing tricks on our guests with Carmen’s life size baby dolls. Prop one up so it appears to be digging in a tackle box or leave one abandoned on the shore. Maybe we’ll stage them outside in a boat or on her tricycle. Then we’ll explain to her that leaving them lying around tells the dolls she doesn’t care about them and they are running away!
Through the spring and summer we had our hands full with a whole family of tricksters. Otters inhabited the main dock. They nested, had pups, made a smelly mess and despite wiring the hatches shut; they raided the minnow buckets left to soak over night. If they weren’t such a pain in the butt for everyone we could appreciate them for the clever and adorable animals that they are. Floating on their backs with the bait buckets on their bellies, they skilfully maneuver their sharp little claws and crafty paws to pry open the lid and gobble down every last minnow. Every morning shortly after daybreak Mark would come down to the lake to find empty pails. Occasionally a soft wake could be seen travelling away from his approach. One morning after our guests had gone out Mark sat quietly on shore watching Mama and her two pups swim around the docks cruising for a snack. Mark grabbed a paddle and soundlessly snuck on to the main dock to head them off. They popped up on to the platform without even noticing him standing like a statue a few feet away. For several seconds he watched them wrestle and play at his feet. ‘I could end this issue right now,’ he thought. He couldn’t. A mother and her babies, lively little things they are. “I couldn’t do it,” he later told me. (I don’t blame him.) Suddenly mama was aware of his presence. She suddenly slapped her paws on the dock in a feral rage of fright and sounded the alarm, frantically chirping and squealing at her pups to follow as she dove in to the water. The pups panicked and scattered. One followed mama, the other lost his footing and flopped off the dock landing on shore. Terrified and confused, he ran in the wrong direction. The little one froze on the boat launch as his mother called hysterically from the water. Mark stayed put and videoed… Maternal instinct went into over drive. Mama swam to shore, rushed up the ramp, snatched her pup and bolted for shelter under the nearest dock. A very important life lesson was reinforced that day –What is a parent’s #1 job in life? Keep your babies safe! Many good conversations with our own kids stemmed from watching the video Mark took of a distraught mother rescuing her petrified pup. On a more positive note, if you were one of many guests robbed by the otters you will be happy to know that Mark’s mission was accomplished. From then on the buckets remained undisturbed through the rest of the summer. (Check out mama otter in action in our Christmas album on our Facebook page.)
We are also thrilled to report that Perrault Lake served up some of the best fishing we have ever seen! The Leader Board is proudly displayed outside our office and posted on our website. It is an impressive list of the trophy fish caught and released throughout the season. 2017 produced the longest list in The Board’s history. In fact, we had to add an extension! From opening day on the 3rd Saturday in May through the summer and into the fall, fishing was fabulous! In addition to superb Trophy fishing, the abundance of quality fish in each class of Perrault Lake’s populations was outstanding! The bite was on in predictable patterns, sharp hooks made for sure sets and delicious fresh fish was savoured after an exciting day on the water. Be sure to check out all the photos in our Christmas Album on our Facebook page. What a tremendous season it was! One group in particular of great guys from MN returned for their 4th annual trip to PLC. Five guys fished Perrault Lake for four days boating dozens of 27 – 32 inch walleye let alone plenty of eaters and hearty pike. Premiere Canadian Fishing! This year The Leader Board’s big three titles ended in impressive ties. Very well done to the following anglers for boating and releasing these massive hogs and sharks!