I might have been crazy.
Might have been crazy to plan a family trip to northern Ontario with two four-year-olds and a six-year-old. No internet. No cell phone connection. No air conditioning. No vehicle for a week, because there are no roads that lead to where we were going.
A fishing trip.
Planned as a Christmas surprise for Jeff - hunter and fisherman and lover of all things outdoors. From the moment he opened his three gifts that spelled out the surprise... colorful, glass-blown Christmas ornaments in the shapes of a fish, a rustic cabin and a Canadian flag, he had been pining for the day we'd take off for the Bow Narrows Fish Camp in Red Lake, Ontario.
He spent months carefully curating his selection of lures that would fill his tackle box. He researched everything we should take with us, from rain gear to waterproof boots that would keep the ankle-biting horseflies away. He crafted the most comprehensive first aid kit you've ever seen - complete with everything he'd need should one of us get into trouble and require stitches. It was impressive.
Me? I'm most certainly not a fisherman. But, I love to travel, and I dreamt of capturing these experiences and memories on my camera. Of photographing every detail. Of seeing new scenery. Of driving through a new country. A LOT of driving through a new country. And, although he teased me about what my life might look like that week with zero access to email, texts or Facebook, I secretly welcomed it. I also secretly hoped to catch the biggest fish. And maybe to catch a glimpse of a moose.
To be honest, I kind of romanticized about the thought of these incredible family moments that we would share, bonding without distractions from any technology. Of late nights playing games around the cabin table. Of relaxing boat rides across a crystal clear lake shimmering in the summer sun.
In reality, we had a few sunny days and a lot of rainy, windy, chilly ones. Some of us preferred to spend the days from dawn to dusk in the fishing boat (Jeff, Henry). Some of us needed to take breaks at the cabin every afternoon (everyone else). We saw stunning scenes on a vast lake and we all caught fish. We saw bald eagles by the masses. We saw open skies with no telephone poles, power lines or wind mills in the way. We ate fresh fish, learned that Henry has fishing in his BLOOD, watched the little Hoscheks jump off the dock to swim in the lake, and taught Annabel to play Scrabble (or Scramble, as she calls it). We played with the camp's ornery chocolate lab, Cork, who has a habit of swiping things right out of your hands when you're not looking. We fed a family of woodchucks, and (of course!) we found a patch of four-leaf clover. We made some awesome memories.
And now, for our week of adventures in photographs.
Some of us didn't want to leave the camp at Red Lake. Some of us were super excited to sleep in our own beds again. All of us made some great memories as a family.