Saturday, June 8, 2024

Moose-Mania!


Our generation, those of us 60+ or so, are the first to live the first half of their lives without cell phones and the second half with. Our kids will never understand what it was like not to have a cell phone always at hand, never live a life without text or messaging. Try to explain to them party lines and four-digit phone numbers and they look at you like you are from another planet!

 Yet, we to have succumbed to the digital era. As we traveled and camped throughout some of the remotest parts of British Columbia this week, we found ourselves without cell service. I also found myself checking my phone several times a day to see if we had service. Sad, but true. I missed my lifeline to the outside world. As we were camped at Inga Lake for two rainy days, I could not read blogs, I could not publish any comments that someone may have left on our blog, I could not check my voicemail and did not receive any text messages. 

Gone are the days when you do not know what is going on in the world; politically, nationally, or even with friends or family. Sometimes I long for those simpler days. What do they say?…Ignorance is bliss…. But, wait, we were living them now! No news, no drama, just enjoying nature and loving life. 

Then in the middle of one rainy day while reading a book, my phone started going crazy. Ding! Ding! Ding! A half a dozen text messages came through. One from my bro-friend Dave in Alberta, a couple from Chris at the farm, and a couple from neighbor Jim back home. I quickly grabbed my phone and was able to respond to a few of them before the signal was lost. Then I was again in no-cellville. 

We eventually moved on from that campground and got spotty cell service, then lost it again. Along the way we stopped and fished a couple of remote rivers and streams without success. We did see some beautiful scenery however!

Yes, there is still snow on the ground in some places. Many of the larger rivers are still running fast due to the snowmelt. I do not think that is helping the fishing situation at all. At one spot Barb was fishing just down river from me and I noticed her rod was bent like crazy! I looked like she had the monster of all fish on, but luckily for me, it was just a large log. Being the wonderful husband I am, I watched (and photographed) as she took off her shoes and socks, rolled up her pant and stepped into the ice-cold water to unsnag her lure. 

We made our way to Fort Nelson. A week ago, the entire town had been evacuated, population 3,400. Now, the fires are out, everyone has returned, and you would not know anything even happened, except the scorched landscape and a few burnt out dwellings and cars. (Diesel was $2.019/liter by the way) It could have been a lot worse. Thank God for Mother Nature and Wildland Firefighters. I don’t think there is a more physically strenuous job on the planet. I know I could not do it.

Speaking of diesel, since we crossed over into Canada we have seen prices anywhere from $1.46 (4.02 USD/gallon after conversion) to as high as $2.49 ($6.87 USD/gallon) 

We passed not one, by two of Barb’s scheduled overnight spots ending up at Tetsa Lake campground about 3:00 in the afternoon and spent the night near the highway. The next day, after stopping and fishing a few more spots, with no luck, we kept on a truck’in. 

We ended up at the Toad River Campground. It was not a planned stop, but when I saw they had Wi-Fi (I know!) and I needed to post a blog we decided to stop and spend the night. Let me tell you, if you ever pass by this way you HAVE to stay here! Talk about a cool campground. We parked our rig (site #14) and looked out over the lake to see not one, not two, not three, but 4 moose feeding out in the lake!

Barb did laundry, I worked on the blog, and Zoey watched moose out the window.  

Some were as close as 200 yards (182.88 meters) from the camper. 
At one point, one moose was walking through the water to another moose. 
When they got close together, one moose pinned its ears back. I have seen that look before from Barb, so I knew what was going to happen next. I just kept my finger on the shutter button and captured this series of pictures. 






Yep, pretty much the same result as me (I am on the right), I get whacked on the head and sent on my way. A little while later, this young bull came out for a photo op. 
So far, we have seen 6 moose, 3 bears and two stone sheep. The bears were along the side of the road but we did get this picture at one place we fished. 
And there was a lot of bear sign in that area as well. Looks like they were digging for grubs. The Stone Sheep were walking right along the road. 
Just before Toad River was Stone Mountain. No trees, nothing, just stone.....

We managed to get one hike in when we hiked Red Rock Canyon. We hiked 2 miles up the canyon before turning around and heading back to the truck.



Arriving at Muncho Lake, we were anxious to get fishing. Thus far, any fishing luck we’ve had has been in lakes. The rivers and creeks have skunked us. We quickly got our rods ready, chairs set up, lines in the water. Then we read our books, enjoyed the scenery and waited.

In 2016 I was the only one to catch a fish here and was hoping for a repeat to bring me to a 3-0 lead. Not insurmountable, but a commanding lead, nonetheless. Barb was the first one to get a bite as her line went taunt and the fish started tugging. But it was gone before Barb could set the hook. A few minutes later a fish was back tugging on her line, but again she did not get a hook set. I reeled my line in to make sure I still had bait on the hook and casted it back out. Our lines were just a few yards apart, surely, the next fish could not resist the tasty morsel at the end line. But again, it was Barb’s line the fish went for. This time the hook set was successful, and the fight was on! 

I ran to the camper to get the net was Barb fought the fish. She only had 8lb test line on her rod meaning any fish over 8lbs would surely break her line unless so fought it properly. The water is so clear here that you can see deep into the depths, and it was not long before we saw she had a lake trout on, maybe about 5lbs.

 

The fish would come up to the surface, then dive back down, repeating this 3-4 times, never getting close enough to shore for me to net it. I had taken my shoes and socks off as I would need to wade out to net it if she got it close enough to shore, 3 more times it came up to the surface, I would wade out to my knees each time hoping it would come close enough, but each time it just turned tail and headed for the depths. Let me tell you, this water was cold! Just a week ago when our friends Steve and Debbie were here, they said there was ice on it! I could only stand in it for 30 seconds at a time before needed to go to shore and warm my toes. 

Then, Barb’s line ceased to move at all apparently stuck around a log or rock, it was not moving. I took her rod in an attempt to get it free from whatever was holding it back, putting a little more force on the line than I was really comfortable with when all of a sudden the fish started moving again. I do not know if the line was really stuck, or if the fish had just settled on the bottom and became stubborn. Either way, the fight was still on! 

I gave the rod back to Barb, grabbed the net and continued to wait. By now, a good 5 minutes had passed, and we had gathered a crowd of 3 from the neighboring campsites. Barb played the fish like a pro as the fish continued to take more line out and Barb slowly gained ground on it. At one point, she was able to get it within feet of the net before it turned and swam back to the depths again. It was at this point I realized we had a problem. Remember that scene in Jaws where Captain Quint turned to the crew and said, “We’re going to need a bigger boat”? I turned to Barb and said, “We’re going to need a bigger net.” Apparently, the clear water was so deceiving that it made the fish look smaller than it really was. There was no way this fish was going to fit into the net!

I then started to get nervous as so many thoughts went through my head. “What if I screw the netting up and the fish gets off?”. “Should I purposely knock it off, so she does not catch the fish?” “Would I ever get breakfast in bed again?”. The next time she got it up near shore I waded in, managed to get the front half of the fish in the net, grab the tail with my other had and walk it to shore. Everyone was in awe, not of my netting skills, while they were superb, it was the size of the fish everyone was in awe of. This thing was a slob!  

Measuring 37” and weighing over 20lb’s this fish is by far the biggest lake trout either of us have caught. 

We had it fileted and one the grill within 20 minutes and were soon eating fresh trout lakeside. I fileted into ¼ sections; for a couple of different reasons. One, the whole filet would not fit onto the grill, or our freezer and two, it allowed us to share with our neighbors! Barb went over to the neighbor to our left and asked if he wanted some. He was an Albertan from Calgary. He in turn asked if we wanted a couple of beers. She declined, explaining to him that we do not drink. Ha! No, she actually came back with two beers as we were totally out! 

We shared another ¼ with our neighbors to the right, a young couple in their 30’s. He (Cory) is from eastern Pennsylvania, and she (Dagmar) is originally from Minnesota, just a few miles from where I grew up! We must have talked to them for over 3 hours as we ate and continued to fish. We had a lot in common with them.  They have been on the road fulltime for 11 months now and are loving life. At the end of the evening, we exchanged information with a promise to meet up again on the Kenai to do some more fishing. We made some new friends on the road! 

 The next morning, I awoke with the realization that there was no way I was going to catch the biggest fish on this trip, unless maybe there is a toad halibut in my future. On the bright side, I did get breakfast in bed this morning, so life is indeed good!

A huge thank you to Cory and Dagmar for letting us steal their internet this morning!

80 comments:

  1. Wow! Now that is a fish! Well done, Barb!

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  2. Man, what an adventure! That is some fish all right. Bet it was delicious!

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  3. You make a long trip seem very appealing. Amazing shots of the scenery and the fighting moose! And Barb's huge fish that you shared! I too am more hooked on the internet than I care to admit. :(

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    1. It is hard being away from our home so long. We miss it. But had we stayed home, we would have been longing for this trip!

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  4. I am loving your trip but not really the fishing part. In fact, I was cheering for the fish. 😁

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    1. Nothing wrong with that. We tend to release most of them, only keeping enough for a meal or two. In fact today, I bet we let over 20 go and didn't keep a thing.

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  5. I was enjoying the beautiful scenery and then came The Fish!!! How exciting!

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    1. Come for the scenery, stay for the fishing. It should be B.C's summer slogan!

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  6. No internet or cell coverage is such a mixed experience. We usually enjoy it, but after a few days get anxious to connect :-)) The moose photos are incredible. What an amazing encounter!! Yeaaah, you probably should just concede the big fish win is Barb's this trip (holy wow!!), but you are still in the lead for total number :-)

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    1. Holy wow is right! We had a great day of fishing today as well. I out fished her by quite a bit, but it was a different species, much smaller.

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  7. Oh my gosh! How fun! So glad the line didn’t break!

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  8. Wow, Barb's fish is huge! I enjoyed the moose battling photos, great series.
    Beautiful scenery and great photos. Safe Travels. Have a happy weekend.

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    1. I've seen enough deer act similarly, so I knew something spectacular was about to happen! Fun to capture it though. Could you imagine getting hit by one of those hooves?!?

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  9. You have marvellous adventures! I enjoyed reading your tail! 🐟

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    1. You have marvelous adventures of your own, right in your backyard!

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  10. Maybe, it's time to use heavier line. Great Catch Barb.
    Be Safe and keep Enjoying the trip.

    It's about time.

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  11. Photos look like you are having soooo much fun!
    I am in my mid 70's now so I remember rural party lines. My farmgirl grandma had one, and she would sit by the phone and listen in-My grandpa would scold her haha.
    I refuse to be dependent on a cell phone. we have one for emergencies and 20 years ago when we were traveling from Illinois to our move to Missouri so I did insist my husband carry one. always just had a tracfone all these years, but this year I upgraded him with a smart phone so he can check the internet etc. People me "text" me by messenger on facebook I just figured out that is what they were doing. instead of calling me on house phone they contact me there. never had one so don't miss a cell phone. sorry looks like I wrote a book haha

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    1. I know a couple of hold outs like you. Good on you! Now it seems hard to believe that there were party lines and four digit phone numbers in our era. Now, you have to dial all 10 digits!

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  12. Incredible photos of those moose Jim. And WOW Barb…that is one hog of a laker! I caught fish at Muncho but nothing even close to yours Barb.You certainly have your work cut out for you Jim right from the start to beat Barb, but I’m rooting for you. Us guys got to stick together. 😉 Safe travels!

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    1. When we were here in '16, I caught a 3-5lb'er. We'd have been happy with that!
      Her fish probably out weighed yours and mine combined!

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  13. Congratulations Barb, what a catch!

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    1. Thanks Ingrid, hope you are having a a great summer too!

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  14. Hell yeah the youth of today have very little if any idea what it is like to not be connected to the world, not saying that's a good thing or a bad thing it is just how it is. I know this 61yr old Aussie likes being able to read blogs and comment on blogs and feel connected to people and animals she has never met but feels she knows, if that makes any sense. The internet is such a big part of our lives now.

    Have to say that is one big ass fish and your photos show you are having a bloody good time.

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    1. We are the same age and it sounds like we have very similar relationships with the Internet world.
      Love it, hate it, don't want to be without it

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  15. Now that's a great fish story! Well done Barb! Your trout is about the size of a salmon! And you gave away 1/4 for a couple beers? I might have offered more :]
    Fran calls calls lake of cell the No Zone and much prefers the Know Zone. The first time we had FHU she wanted to know why that did not include cable!
    Great trip!

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    1. I guarantee you, we will not catch any salmon that big. If we were fishing for kings maybe, but we will be fishing for reds and silvers.
      I know several people who love to RV, but only when hooked up to 50 amps. Several of them call themselves 50 amp princesses. Nothing wrong with that style of camping either.

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  16. That fish was definitely not the one that got away and sure it was a delicious dinner too. Nice too that your exchanges with neighbors netted bear and wi fi and the possibility of a future meetup. We were without cell phone or texting on our recent Canadian trip. Our cell phone carrier charges extra, so we turned them off and used emails and we also have WhatsApp so cojld make calls over wi fi.

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    1. We have T-Mobile and the plan we are on allows for free phone and text in Canada, but when we are so remote, even that doesn't help!

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  17. Wow! That was one huge fish! You made some new friends with it, too. Nice! :)

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    1. We did. It is always fun to meet nice, like-minded people on the road.

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  18. Now that is one big trout! And don't lie to yourself, you KNEW when you started out that Barb was going to out fish you. I hope the WiFi is much better than it was back 2016...most of the time it really sucked until we got into Alaska, and even then...

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    1. I honestly thought I had a chance! Now they are slim to none and Slim has left the building.
      Cory and Dagmar have Starlink. Was that even around in '16?

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  19. That is a beaut fish. Congratulations to Barb on catching it.
    Scenery is good.
    Can relate about no interent/phone as you travel. I never did my blog whilst travelling as always no internet.
    Take care, keep enjoying.

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    1. I will type the blog as a draft email when we have no Internet. Then copy and paste it to blogger when we get it. The only thing left to do is upload and place the pictures. Which, as you know, can take just as long as writing the blog!

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  20. That's the biggest fish story I ever heard. You guys out of beer. What a laugh.

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    1. Truth be told, we did have some Busch Light, but that's not really beer so it doesn't count.

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  21. You are certainly seeing some remarkably beautiful territory. And that moose encounter would be fascinating to see. They are such enormous beasts. I love the fishing photos, too. Good luck with your cell signals. I can see why that is frustrating when we are so used to it but you seem very good at going with the flow!

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    1. Moose are really fascinating. So huge! The only thing we haven't seen yet, which we hope to are caribou.

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  22. This post was very interesting. Starting with the phone. Yup, I know exactly what you mean, and how on earth did we ever survive without them when younger? But we did, right? And I've never seen moose fight like that. We have moose here where I live in New Hampshire, but usually they are pretty spaced out. That was fascinating. And holy cow. That is the biggest lake trout I have ever seen. I had to show the hubby that photo. Enjoy your driving. It looks gorgeous, even if the cell phone doesn't always work.

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    1. We looked up the lake trout record for Muncho. While Barb's trout is huge, imagine on two and a half times that big! The record for that lake is over 50lbs!

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  23. Fishtale extraordinaire!!! Go Barb

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    1. Really? Why am I not getting any comments rooting for me?!?!

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  24. Oh my Gosh guys! That fish is a monster for sure. We have been on the receiving end of lake trout gifting before and it is mighty fine and certainly appreciated. So glad you are catching the many spectacles the natural world has to offer, and thanks for letting us tag along. 🙂

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    1. You two are welcome to tag along any time. I have never been a huge fan of lake trout, but this one was delicious for some reason. And as a bonus, we made new friends!

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  25. HOLY CRAP!!! Now THAT is a FISH!! Barb wins now cuz she is WAY ahead of you in weight!!! Great moose shots by the way!!

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    1. I would take hundreds of the fish I catch to match the weight of that pig! I am really so happy for her, that is a fish of a lifetime.

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  26. Okay, so nice try with the emphasis on the Moose and no WIFI and scenery. Unfortunately, your attempt to distract us all from Barb's OUTSTANDING ACCOMPLISHMENT has not worked.

    Congratulations, Barb! What terrific catch.

    Since I just read the previous post, your idea about breaking all the rods must now be haunting you.

    In all seriousness, I'm really enjoying all of your exploits on this truly amazing adventure.

    Stay safe, y'all.

    And don't worry. I feel certain Barb won't be mentioning her HUMONGOUS FISH during the rest of the trip.

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    1. Dang! You were on to my ploy!

      Humongous is the appropriate adjective when describing that fish. Now, I just need to find me a ginormous one!

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  27. Wow that was some fish!! Way to go Barb! She sets a high bar for you!

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  28. Awesome trout, and what a thrill to see the moose so close up like that :)

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    1. I had to look up whether or not there were moose in New Zealand. They tried introducing them in the early 1900's, with the last one sighted in 1908.

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  29. OK--we too have been on vacation and I'm behind on commenting! That was an awesome gift--your friends taking the time and expense to meet up with you and Barb!! Love the moose photos and holey moley--that is one huge fish!! Yea, Barb--just give it up Jim! We too found traveling in Canada and Alaska difficult at times with the limited internet--I would have thought it might have improved since we were there in 2014.

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    1. Well, I hope you are having/had fun on your vacation! We have been in towns (Watson Lake and Whitehorse) the last couple days, so we've had both civilization and Internet!

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  30. Great pics....and WOW what a fish! Spring time and the bucks are fighting for the right to mate with the female. Around TN, animals seem to lose their mind and you have to be careful that they don't run out in front! They all go WILD....haha, no pun intended. Loving the beautiful pics with that awesome blue sky and white clouds

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    1. The bulls shouldn't be fighting yet, I think this was just a couple of teenagers with an attitude.
      Pictures just don't show the true beauty of the area as it washes out the sky and snow covered mountains.

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  31. Great photos of the two Moose having a battle. That was quite a fish Barb got and enough to feed a bunch of people. Good job on landing it and I can see that the fish put up a good fight. Hope the weather will improve for your trip!

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    1. The weather has not improved dramatically, but we do not mind the cool or even the wet.

      It's all part of the adventure!

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  32. OK so I have not read the comments and do not know if it's "only me" ... but, did you photoshop that fish into the picture with Barb? Don't be hatin' but I am having a hard time believing that is reel ... ahem, REAL. Hahahaha ... speaking of laughter, I nearly spit my coffee out at this line: "I have seen that look before from Barb" ... hahahaha! So funny. And WHY in the name of all that is reasonable did you not take a video of the moose battle? Inquiring minds want to know. Fabulous post anyway! I loved it! And now you should just forfeit the fish-catching contest. Save face. hahaha xoxo

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    1. You are probably not the first one to wonder that, but no, it is not photoshopped. Dagmar and Corey are our witnesses as they saw the whole thing.

      Why did I not video the moose? Because my finger was on the shutter button and it would have required too much brain power to move my finger 1/4" to the right to hit the video button. It all happened so fast it seemed like it was over as soon as it started.

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  33. I love the moose shots, but that fish is amazing. What a great story to tell, even if it results in Barb getting one more win on you.

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    1. She does have a great story to tell, and I am super happy for her. I'd be happier if it was me holding that big fish though!

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  34. What an adventure. Thank you for the wonderful landscape and animal photos. The moose are terrific. We saw moose in Norway, but not in this waterfront beauty. And I only know fishing from Norway... I've never even seen such a huge fish, what an experience.
    Congratulations Barb :-)
    Isn't it wonderful to fish so much that you can give it to your neighbors? I would have liked to eat with you too :-)))
    A hug to you... happy travels and a hug from me.

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    1. This is by far, the prettiest landscape we have ever seen. There is just nothing in the lower 48 like it!

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  35. Wow! What an amazing trip. The animals you are seeing and that huge fish! And the scenery is amazing!

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  36. I am enjoying every bit of this trip....thanks for posting all of these amazing pictures. I may need to borrow your itinerary .....My husband would love this trip. We are planning another trip up North, maybe next year and he so wants to see the wildlife. What an amazing fish....Such a fabulous adventure you and Barb are on....Enjoy and keep posting..

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    1. If you are interested in our itinerary, let us know. Our one from '16 would be more touristy whereas this years is more fishing based

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  37. Wow! I must admit to being envious as my husband rarely walks out of the house anymore. ~sigh~ We did enjoy a patio lunch today; he's willing to go out for taco Tuesday. lol Thank you for sharing these amazing photos, great stories, and some giggles. :) Travel safe and enjoy!

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    1. I mean, if you are going to go out, you may as well make it on Tuesday's for tacos!

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  38. Wow ! That is quite a fish!! Beautiful pictures!! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind comment!!
    Hugs,
    Deb
    Debbie-Dabble Blog

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  39. We didn't have to even leave our state to have no cell service. Our trip to the SP outside Caliente didn't have any service. It was nice to get away from everyone and everything for a couple days. But it is very difficult. Glad you survived. I loved your moose video! Wow!! How cool was that! Way to go, Barb!!! That fish was amazing. I can't believe how big it was. Barb's smile is priceless:)

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  40. WOW!!!! the moose images and the video, good stuff!!! what a fish barb caught, not to make light of your netting skills but a fish like that is quite impressive!! you are living your best life and i am so happy for both of you!! btw, our kids will never know or understand a lot of things!!

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  41. Hey Jim....I would love to have your itinerary for the 16 trip. This would be wonderful and appreciative.

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    1. Send your email address in a comment and we will send it to you. I will not publish your email address, so no one else will see it.

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