More Than Fishing

IMG_3977 Fishing the Little Rock

Little Rock River

The weather was really nice a couple days ago so my husband and I decided we should try fishing on our bit of the river that night.  There is a sandbar that is a great place to sit and fish…..or contemplate life.

To get to the sandbar; we had to slither our way down the bank through head high weeds, saplings, and fallen tree branches. It was kind of a trick getting down there while holding a fishing pole, bucket (to sit on), and having my camera slung around my shoulders.

We did make it, and it was great once we were down there. It was quiet, except for the birds singing, a beaver crawling around behind a tree on the opposite bank and the sound of water rippling over rocks….a perfect evening to sit with a line in the water.

IMG_3972 Beaver Hideout

We were kind of worried that we would get eaten alive by mosquitoes, so we each took our choice of spray. I whipped up an essential oils spray that I wanted to try. I will share the recipe because I really like it and it worked for me.

10 drops Geranium EO
15 drops Lavender EO
5 drops Patchouli EO
10 drops Lemongrass EO
10 drops Citronella EO
2 oz. Witch Hazel
2 oz. water
Put Witch Hazel in 4 ounce spray bottle
Add EO’s (Essential Oils)
Add water 

I found it worked wonderfully for me. I have yet to convince my husband it would work so he continues to use his chemical-laden spray. Someday I will convince him!

Anyway…..back to fishing…….

IMG_3974 My Zebco 33

We stayed out there for a couple hours. I regret to report that all I caught was a corn stalk, two sticks and a bush on the bank. I am so glad I don’t have to survive off my catch!  My husband did have a few nibbles but nothing that really grabbed the bait and latched on.

I have a feeling it might be due to the really low water levels in the river. The water is so shallow you could see to the bottom most places. We were hoping that would enable us to see the fish swimming along….no go on that one.

I did find some pretty weeds flowers along the bank. They were such a beautiful shade of purple that I could not resist taking a picture of them. I must admit, I find it hard not to take pictures of most flowers.

IMG_3975 Pretty

I have no idea what kind of plant that is but the blooms were really delicate and so pretty.

There is something so peaceful about sitting by the river’s edge. It might be the way the wind blows through the tree tops and sets the leaves to rustling. It might be the birds twittering in the trees and settling in for the night. Maybe it is the fact you can watch a young beaver swim silently along the bank, leaving a wake in the water behind him. It might be the sound of the water rippling over the rocks and sparkling in the last of the evening light.

I do know that it is a great place to be. It is a great place to reflect and slow down the pace of life. As we came up the bank and out of the trees we were greeted with a beautiful sunset. It was the most perfect way to cap off the day.

IMG_3979 End of Day

This weekend may you find a place, hidden away from the world, that you can stop, reflect and slow down just a bit and feel the blessing.

“Many men go fishing all their lives
without knowing 
it’s not the fish they are after.”
Henry David Thoreau

Road Trips and Memories

The Boyden Pit.JPG

Yesterday was a wonderful, slow, autumn Sunday. As there was nothing urgent taking place in the afternoon we decided it would be a good time to take a little road trip. My husband had a couple ideas of places to go and we picked one that brought back a lot of memories.

The place we decided to head for was a spot that we used to visit a lot as teenagers……the Boyden Pit. Back when we were in high school it was the place to be on a hot summer afternoon. After hot sweaty mornings of walking beans it was a great place to go and cool off.

The beach was small and did not have the greatest sand, but it was always full of teenagers, moms with little kids and was loud with the sound of laughter, water splashing, and the tunes belting out of multiple battery operated radios. It was the perfect place to see others and to be seen.

All we needed for a great afternoon was a beach towel, a  radio, a few snacks, some pop, and as many friends as we could round up. We didn’t worry about sunscreen… cancer was not on the radar that decade. In fact we would use baby oil to get the great dark tan that we all coveted.

There weren’t any life guards on this beach and we were all responsible for our own safety. We did make sure to swim in pairs if we were swimming out to “the island”. (I am not sure it was really an island but it was on the other side of the pit and seemed to take forever to get there.)

I don’t know the entire history of the Pit. I do know it was a former sand/gravel pit where some company or other dug out the sand and gravel to use in other places. Once they had gotten as much as they wanted the machinery was taken away and water filled the hole that was left. It became a natural place for people to go and cool off on steamy summer days and nights.

There was even a massive cottonwood tree with a rope attached for those who wanted to swing off the cliff, dangle precariously over the water and let go in a timely manner. If you did not let go soon enough you slammed back into the cliff and slid, in an inglorious fashion, down the face of the cliff and into the water.


Later the tree met it’s end when it was sawed down because too many people had hurt themselves. (Our high school Bible teacher ended up having surgery after smashing his heel against that cliff wall.) All that remains of the tree is the weathered stump in the photo above.  It was a sad day for those who loved the thrill of flying over the water and plummeting to the water 20 feet below. I never had the urge to attempt that feat after having witnessed the slamming and sliding type of end to a swing on the rope.

It seemed that with the death of the big cottonwood; a lot of changes came to the Pit. Someone drowned and the Pit was closed for a number of years due to insurance issues. The beach that once was alive with shouts and laughter slowly grew over with weeds and small trees. The concrete bath house was torn down and only a non-functional light pole remains to mark it’s location.

Some years back the County took over the Pit area and began the task of turning it into a place where people would once again picnic, fish and camp.  It is not the same as it was back in the day I regularly visited it…. there are some things I like better and some memories that are hard to let go.

The beach area is no longer available for swimming as there is no swimming allowed.  People now come with their canoes, fishing poles, tents and campers. They come and once again this place is a place for people to spend time together.

The quiet that is this fall season, lays like a blanket over this area. The mowed path that now makes it’s way around the pit is an invitation to take a walk and listen to the leaves rustle in the wind. It is fun to observe the frogs sitting on the rotted logs at the water’s edge and to see the birds flit from tree to tree.

I have a feeling it is the same quiet that held this place way back before it’s years as a gravel pit. It is probably the same quiet that descended when the pit was closed to the public for those many years. It is a quiet that permeates this place and seeps into the soul when you stand quietly at the water’s edge.

The “new” pit is a beautiful, peaceful place. For those who did not come here in the 70’s and 80’s it is probably hard to imagine how noisy it once was. All I have to do is stand on the overgrown beach, close my eyes, and those days once again play out in my mind like scenes from an old movie.

I think I have enjoyed the best of both worlds that make up the life of this place.  I have lived the vibrant, noisy memories of my youth spent on this beach and I am also getting to soak in the quiet, soul-nourishing peace that it is now. It is indeed a blessing.

All changes, even the most longed for,
have their melancholy;
for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves;
we must die to one life before we can enter another.
~Anatole France

A Camping Weekend to Remember

Lake Shetek Sunset

I heard the forecast for the coming weekend…..HOT. This took me back to a camping weekend we had taken years ago. I started looking through our old photos to find the ones we had taken on that trip.

I found the folders that contained pictures of this camping trip. It was to Lake Shetek State Park, MN, back in 2007.  At that time we only had one son living at home anymore. He wasn’t sure he wanted to come along with mom and dad, but we assured him he could take a good book along and if we did something he didn’t want to do, he could stay back at the camper and read. He decided he could live with that and took along the Ted Dekker book, Blink.

Our pickup was not working properly at that time so we borrowed my dad-in-laws’ red Dodge Dakota pickup, to pull our fold-down camper. Fortunately the AC worked in it; as the weekend we chose to go turned out to be cooking hot.

We had purchased a small outboard motor at an auction earlier that year and had a friend who had a flat-bottomed boat that we could borrow.  We were set for a weekend of fun!

The Boat

We set up the camper, purchased our weekend fishing licenses, collected the boat from the friend and headed out onto the lake. The boat was built for people with very short legs.  Mine are short…..but were not short enough. Sitting on the bench seats that boat had; put our knees fairly close to our noses. (The next day we rented a V-bottom boat from the state park. It was much easier on the knees and back.)

Once we got around a certain point on the lake,there was not a hint of a breeze. My son decided to cool off by hanging one of his legs out of the boat.  Needless to say this rocked the boat that was already riding pretty low in the water. My husband hollered at him to get his leg back in and got the very dry response, “What’s the matter dad…..doesn’t it feel very stable?” He then proceeded to wiggle around enough to really rock the boat.

Later, looking at the map of the lake we noticed it was very shallow and only 8 foot deep at most parts. If we had gone over we could have bobbed up and down off the bottom till help arrived!

The fish were biting, but the heat was unbearable and we were slowly melting into sweatballs, so we headed back for shore. This took us a long time as our bargain motor seemed to keep cutting out. We kind of coveted those boats with the 25 HP motors that were speeding past us.

Once back at camp we squished into the pickup cab (which in a Dodge Dakota is not very roomy) and headed for the camp store a couple miles down the road. What we found there were these foot long Mr. Freezes……they were the best thing I have ever tasted on a hot day.

With the AC running full tilt we made our way back to the campground, sat in the pickup (with it running so we would stay cool), and finished off our Freezes. As we sat there, we started to laugh as we pondered how ridiculous we must look, three people, squished in a pickup cab on a hot day, eating Mr. Freezes. We were soooo close to heading back to the store to get a few more.

The next day was cooler and we had opportunity to do a little hiking.

Lake Shetek State Park is a beautiful place to visit and to camp. My son later told us it had been one of the best camping trips he had been on. I am not sure if it was the freedom we allowed him or the Mr. Freezes.

I do know it does not take a lot of money to have a bunch of fun and make some great memories. We have found when things don’t always go smoothly (heat, tippy boats, and testy motors) some of the best memories are made.

End of the Day.JPG

End of the Day



Your greatest memories aren’t always
about where you are
what you were doing.
it’s more about
who shared that moment with you.
Nishan Panwar