Sunday, September 11, 2016

Bungalow Cabins, Harrison Lake and more "View and Release Hunting".

We love the Bungalow Cabins at Harrison Lake!   With swimming pool and beach view Bungalow Motel is  the best  accommodation. It’s great spring and summer too but for close to 25 years I’ve also been coming up in the early fall for hunting season.  I confess I’ve not shot much  game here but it sure is one of my favourite places to hunt.  That’s because of these great little rustic cabins, with kitchenette,  hot showers, quiet, comfy bed, and cable tv.  The owners are the best hosts too.  It’s really ‘roughing it” hunting at it’s toughest.   We added a new harsh twist to our regime this year, getting our thermos filled at the Mall Expresso service, Americanos with Cream.
There’s also the public hot springs pool.  The pizza in Harrison’s is the best though there’s only pick up.  We loved their cheese pizza this time but the meaty ones have been fantastic too.  Again we’ve had the mall morning breakfast sandwiches.  Everything is close in Harrison’s so I’ve walked down from the Bungalow to bring back breakfast for the gang.  This time I also brought back two dinners from the fabulous Hotsprings Steakhouse Restaurant.  We all loved a roast beef dinner one night and another night had the steak and prawns special. The mashed potatoes and gravy was delicious too.  Laura doesn’t mind when I bring back my days “kill’ cooked with potatoes and veggies and blueberry pie.
While Tom and I were out messing about back country with our Honda 500 Pioneer side by side ATV we’ve named “Charles’, Laura was  in the cabins doing her nails and reading novels.  She had Gilbert with her the first day because we were bow hunting and don’t like Gilbert about the razor sharp arrows. He also tends to bark at bear which limits our hunting opportunities.  I actually got a shot at rather  large partridge.
In the world of guided hunts, one pays $10,000 dollars at times for the ‘shot’ at game.  I’ve had several ‘shots’ at buck this fall bow hunting and missed.  The bucks departed just as I registered they had horns and got away before I pulled the trigger. Now a swaggering great partridge did the same.  Tom watching said he’d seen my arrow from the Excaliber Max, most powerful of cross bows, part the feathers on the partridge’s head. I was really sorry we didn’t have a wildlife videographer along for that incredible moment. The partridge utterly bored with me trying to cock my bow for another go walked off into the woods giving me a final feather.
We got back in time to indulge a major soak in the glorious  “sacred” “mineral’ “ waters’ of Harrison’s.  I feel like a new man each time I come out of the womb there.  We had two such ‘treatments’ and my skin is tingling hallelujah still.
Sept 10, Rifle hunting proper opened.  We were up in the dark before dawn and drove the Ford F350 with Charles on the back up to the top of Harrison’s Lake. There with dawn breaking we found that we’d lost one of ramps for the unloading of the ATV. It must have slid off the back while we drove up a hill hell bent for leather, bouncing over potholes.  Tom, ever the engineer, and Evil Kenevil managed to drive Charles off the back of the tailgate onto a mound.  Getting it back up onto the truck without a ramp was even more impressive. I’d wanted to use the winch but Tom insisted he could manage without the ramp.  He’d amazingly taken the remaining ramp apart creating two short  5 foot ramps out of the remaining long ramp.
All the game had received their annual message.  I was sitting hiding in ambush watching the sun rise with Gilbert happy to sit on my warm belly all the while the animals watched us from hiding. The annual email says, “Beware of men wearing came and carrying guns. They are out to kill and eat you." All deer bear and even some partridge get the message.”  Sept 9 we saw game. Sept 10 they were all in hiding.
Still we got to drive Charles up to the top of the mountain and through streams and dales.  The Honda 500 pioneer is truly an amazing machine.  There’s more than enough room for 2 hunters and even Gilbert sat half on the seat in the middle with his chest on either of our knees.  Getting in and out in a hurry was just fine too.  On the straight logging road I was doing 50 km on my own whereas climbing and travelling in the back woods we did the standard hunting travelling of 5 to 20 km an hour, just loving the little machine as it chugged along over boulders, through mud and across logs. The roof and windshield kept the rain out and the engine under the seat kept the cab warm in the early morning.  My favourite ATV to date.  Gilbert loves it too.  When we are alone he sits in the passenger seat bolt up right watching for grouse.  We saw a half dozen or so but only one waiting for me to shoot and that one got away.
At night Tom Laura and I watched the cowboy movie, Unforgiven with Clint East Wood and Gene Hackman.  What a great movie to watch on a hunting weekend.  Silverado was on the next night.  Laura is ever a trooper and enjoyed the weekend with the guys. She loved finishing her Harlan Coben,  Fool Me Once novel saying it’s his best to date. She had a walk and shop round the little town too while Gilbert was off with the boys on the rifle hunt.  The most excitement for me was watching Tom back straight up a cliff so he could descend into the truck bed with the shortie ramp.
“Do you want to go?” Tom had asked.
“No, “  I said,  “I’m a doctor.  If I tried that, whose going to care for me while waiting for the ambulance?"
The views of Harrison Lake from the Slocum trail we’d taken that night were spectacular at dusk.  Other’s hike here and some were camping up in the hills.  It really was beautiful. The fall colours are just beginning to appear.  A young couple were tenting on a ridge with their little car.  I thought of myself, romantic and young once.  I liked seeing the kids out in the fall.  Harrison Lake is grand central station in the summer but it quiets pretty quickly in the fall.  There were still a number of tents along the beach and the rustic will be out until well into October.  Bungalow Cabins was still full and we’d  booked early in the week. In the summer bookings are often made ahead of times though I’ve been fortunate to have cancellations.
It really was a great weekend.  “View and release!” is our motto. We just take the guns and bows along for the selfies.
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