By John Pineau, MCP
When you head into the middle-of-nowhere with Nestor Falls Fly-in Outposts expect the weekend to produce a lot of stories. In fact, there’s not enough space here to tell about everything happened, so I’ll just focus on the highlights.
As a supplier to Gregorash Aviation I’m not normally invited to these kinds of company retreats, my seat on the aircraft reserved for a more deserving staff member, but someone had to back out in the last minute, creating the opportunity for me to experience a once in a lifetime event: four days in the wild with fifteen other guys including Gregorash owner Alvin Gregorash, lots of fishing rods, perogies, steaks, eggs, various beverages.
Two aircraft took off from the docks next to Selkirk Air / Riverside Maintenance, an Otter and a Beaver. As we flew above the rugged Canadian Shield, it was assuring to know that Nestor Falls Fly-In had worked with Aero Recip for many years. The flight was calm and uneventful, but for guys who’d rather have their feet in a fishing boat our safe landing at Larus Lake couldn’t come quickly enough.
The first evening involved a quick fishing expedition onto the lake while Alvin and I protected the cabin from dangerous animals like squirrels. Chopping wood kept them at bay, not because squirrels don’t like work, but because they don’t like noise, and we had an axe.
While we did our part in the fire wood department, the rest of the crew was out on the lake making sure we had enough fresh Pickerel for the evening feast. And a feast it was, some of these multi-talented guys “wilderness chefs” as well as fisherman. The result was a mix of barbecued potatoes and breaded pickerel like you’ve never tasted before.
While the weather the next day wasn’t necessarily ideal for fishing, it didn’t stop the guys from eagerly heading onto the lake to begin the Fishing Derby, protected by layers of rain clothing. In the end it was Ben Picard of Ultimate Oil Coolers who won the Fishing Derby while Alvin and I caught a total of three fish, mostly because we were focused on protecting the cabin from squirrels with an axe.
I expected to see a lot of wildlife on this trip. But you never really know how awesome it is until you’ve actually experienced it.
Many an eagle can be seen on the lake, most perched high in the trees as they watch for unsuspecting prey to emerge from the depths of the water. We stopped to drop a few hooks near a majestic waterfall that created a break in the tall trees around us. The eagle quietly watched over us some 100 feet in the air atop one of the conifers. After catching a few fish we decided to throw another line in the water. Within seconds the eagle soared down toward us, its wings creating a shadow across the sky. In routine fashion, the eagle skimmed the water, devouring a fi sh near the surface, and flew effortlessly back to his perch.
Speaking of flying, I caught the first flight home as the guys hung out at the cabin waiting for the next plane to arrive. As we traced our tracks back toward Winnipeg we saw a few moose in a swamp down below, again, an awesome sight even from five hundred feet in the air. As I watched them quietly eating grass and drinking swamp water to pass the time, fur on their necks drooping like an old blanket, I realized how similar they looked to many of the guys back at camp, the effects of a weekend in the wild slowing them slightly as they packed their bags.