Just in case you were wondering, the ice is out on Wabaskang Lake :)
Thanks to Graham, owner of Whiskey Jack, for sharing the current view of Tall Pines.
I invited guests to share pictures recently after the 1992 pic on last weeks Facebook post. Here are a few I received:
Nita shared a memory from June 2014, Camp potluck. John, her husband, passed 3 years ago, and was at Tall Pines with their grandson. Thanks for sharing Nita.
Matt Kenney shared this one (son of one of the former Tall Pines owners)- Rachel and Leah Kenney, Pete and Donna Lou Clagett's granddaughters in about 1997. This was taken in the owners' cabin:
Below is one of Dave's walleye's caught in May of last year. His trip got cancelled this year- but we are thrilled they booked a fall trip along with rebooking for next year:
And my favorite of the week, is one of our newest additions to the Tall Pines Family. Colton and Andrea Hackett, who honeymooned at camp a few years ago and now come every year, welcomed their first baby, Nora. Love the Canada onezie, and can't wait for Nora to experience what her parents have:
So, hopefully this is the last blog that is off topic. The intention of this blog will continue to be about fishing, Wabaskang conditions, and camp life, and I am looking forward to getting back to that soon. With our season still not officially open, today's blog is an exception- it's more of a reflection and updates on lobbying efforts, so feel free to skip :)
We hope you are managing okay. We think of you often! All our guests who have had to postpone trips, and all the ones that are anxious to find out if they can still get theirs in. We know many of you are having a tough time, either with job instability, or peace of mind. We know that this about sums it up for all of us (Thanks Dennis for sharing this one):
Not gonna sugar coat it. This past month has been a test of resilience on our part. I have prayed for hope, strength, peace, and patience of timing. Ryan should have been up at camp 2 months ago at this point. We should have been in week 4 right now- the most "popular" week of fishing. We should have Earl and Patsy with us at Tall Pines as I write this. The list of should'ves and could'ves goes on and on. Darn corona virus!
We have had good days and bad days waiting out this storm, probably as you all have too. Ryan is a doer, so wasting time away and being stuck away from our Canada home was his biggest frustration these last 3 months. For me, the dream of retiring early from teaching was so close, and now that dream is put on hold indefinitely. We've had days we were angry at the "Rona", angry at the governments, days we've felt helpless, defeated, and deflated. As a business owner you think, if you put in enough effort, you have control of your destiny. Having zero control these last few months has been really hard to accept. The Serenity Prayer comes in handy this season. Knowing we cannot change the first half of this season, we are onward thinking for salvaging what we can.
We've managed to "dance in the rain" waiting for our miracle of a rainbow. We spent Memorial Weekend in Tomohawk Wisconsin fishing and camping. We spent a few days with family in Tennessee and Florida, took our boat on the Kankakee River (visualizing being on the Wabby) and visited with numerous friends via the 6 ft. apart folding chairs in the driveway hangout thing. We also spent a good chunk of downtime doing house projects at our states home (it's never looked better/been cleaner- lots of aggression was taken out when Ryan "trimmed" the trees with a chain saw, let me tell you!) But, if you've been to Tall Pines, you get it. You get when we say our hearts weren't fully able to enjoy and live in these moments because our hearts were at camp.
We, as I'm sure you have too, have learned many things throughout these life changing months. Ryan and I have found many people to be grateful for. Our family/friends have let us vent and are always reassuring us. Our Canadian camp owner neighbors have been AMAZING! Numerous have checked in on us and the camp. Heidi and Scott from Lac Seul Wilderness Resort have gone above and beyond in maintaining our property until we get there, adding more security cameras etc. One commercial agent at the border agency suggested we get a goat to eat our grass when we expressed our need of getting to camp as being essential. So thank you Scott and Heidi for being our goat! We look forward to returning the favor one day soon.
Graham, owner of Whiskey Jack, has also been a true neighbor in looking after several of the Perrault Falls camps and giving us updates. I truly hope each and every guest can patron them (whether its dine-in or carryout) when visiting. Certain individuals (like our insurance and tax guys, and all the utility customer service reps) have been so kind and compassionate and empathetic to our situation and that makes us take a moment to pause and be grateful.
And of you course (best for last), you the guests, have been incredible in your support, flexibility, and patience. We may be biased, but we think you are all the best group of people. You are good people and we are blessed.
Things are starting to happen now. Lots of movers and shakers have collectively been lobbying and putting pressure. Provincial restrictions have been lifted as we can resume opening our campground, cabins, and renting boats, though currently only to those in Ontario. The border closure is currently set to expire June 23d. There has been some heresay on both sides- some saying there is pressure high up to open, some saying they may extend again, so we will not speculate. There is a huge protest/rally today, Saturday, in Vermilion Bay, to push for supporting fishing camps and all the businesses that are dependent on you anglers. They are even putting a sign to represent Tall Pines up there for us. We are hoping that leaders hear the message from this rally so you can all get to camp and get their economy going again. I have personally contacted over 20 elected officials on both sides of the border to help get tourism going again. I've learned way more about the Canadian political structure than I ever wanted to.
New Ontario safety and health guidelines have been created, approved, and distributed as well- they are only 40 pages long :) We are doing all we can to be prepared while also providing the high quality Tall Pines experience you deserve. Here is a summary of some items that will facilitate this:
Boats will be disinfected weekly for each party
Frequent cleaning of door knobs/handles/common areas using approved cleaning products
6 feet apart in fish cleaning house for those not in same cabin
we have always cleaned cabins thoroughly, but cleaning times may increase thereby resulting in possible later check in times
hand sanitizers will be available in multiple areas
Potluck this year will be cancelled but small social distancing byob visits are allowed
we will email any temporary changes to guests before your trip
you will want to pack hand sanitizer/disinfectent wipes and masks for your road trip/border crossing to camp
Finally, we are thrilled and relieved that we as business owners have finally been given permission to cross border! After hours of paperwork and many hoops to jump through, Ryan and I got the green light to get to camp. By the time you read this, we hope to be at camp! We appreciate everyone's cooperation in this process. Thanks for the continued well wishes. Whomever gets to be the first guests at Tall Pines- can you imagine the fishing for them! It's gonna be insane! Hoping to share camp pics once we are settled in- stay tuned.