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home : columns : dave fjeld
September 16, 2019

8/9/2019 10:30:00 AM
Time away 'Up North'
Last week was our annual vacation escape to Northern Minnesota - yep, the "Up North" trip.
I wish I could report that things were different in 2019, that there was some new event we took in, some new thrilling water apparatus or new boat we launched, or even some new golf course at which I spoiled my walk. There was none of that.
So, what's there to report in this edition of our Up North adventures?
I'll paraphrase Terrance Mann (James Earl Jones) in that timeless baseball classic, "Field of Dreams":
"We come to Northern Minnesota for reasons we so easily understand. We turn down a windy, gravel road carved through the forest, always knowing for certain why we do it - why we need to do it.
"We arrive 'Up North' as innocent as children, longing for relaxation and memories of the past. Of course, local residents don't mind that we come, year after year. We take the same 300-mile route without even thinking about it: for it is peace we lack and relaxation we seek.
"We walk out to a hill that overlooks Cutfoot Sioux Bay; and sit on swings, in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. We find our reserved cabins throughout the campground, where the Hansen family has come for years and now renew friendships created as children and young adults.
"We fish and read and play games and do crafts and golf and eat and talk. It's as if we've dipped ourselves again in the magic waters of Lake Winnibigoshish. The memories are so thick we have to brush them from our faces.
"Yes, folks, we come Up North - every year. The one constant through all these years, folks, has been a summer getaway Up North. Life rolls by, sometimes like sands through the hourglass and sometimes like a Brooks Koepka drive - the hourglass flipped and the ball re-teed, flipped and re-teed again. But vacations Up North mark our time. The resort, the lake: it's a part of our past, folks, and will be a part of our future. It reminds us of all that once was good and will be again.
"Oh, we come Up North, folks - we most definitely come Up North."
If you haven't figured out by now, our annual week-long visit to Eagle Nest Lodge near Deer River is not about the need for something new and exciting, but simply for comfort, pause and refreshment. We do the same things every year because it's what going "Up North" is all about for us - every year.
And, every year, the week gets shorter and becomes more difficult to say goodbye for another 51 weeks.
But to us, it's a part of our lives - and a fourth generation of Hansens are learning what going "Up North" is all about.
The big catch
Ok, not everything was the same in 2019.
Admittedly, fishing slows down considerably when we arrive at Eagle Nest Lodge in late July. It's just the time of the year. However, some of the Hansen clan still enjoy wetting a line.
Grandson, Wilson, got the week's big thrill when he and his dad, Jamey, took the boat out to do a little casting for northern pike. After an hour or two, Jamey texted that we should get the cameras ready.
As they pulled up to the dock, we rushed to the boat.
Wilson reached into the livewell and pulled up a whopping 35-inch, 10.5-pound northern. While the fish was a big one, the smile and excitement on his face was what made the week memorable.
Great catch, Wilson - a catch for the ages!

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