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Let the family adventure begin

“I grew up in paradise and didn’t know it,” Katrina says wistfully as she watches the trees and sky from our patio in Bozeman, Montana. “Just listen to the wind through the trees, the leaves rustling … in Texas and Oklahoma all we had was wind.”

She thinks a moment and adds, “You and Laurie took me to so many wonderful places while I was growing up, and now I don’t know, can’t remember, where any of them were located. Like the time in the big green tent when Laurie was bustling about, cooking breakfast. And I was just freezing! I remember lots of leaves on the ground outside the tent.”

 “That was the James Kipp Campground on the Missouri River,” I tell her. “We probably were on an antelope hunt that time We’ll be driving right by that campground on our way to Saskatchewan tomorrow.”

Laurie tells son-in-law Brad, “We used to go camping over Memorial Day weekend, no matter what the weather. Usually we got rained on or snowed on, but we still had a good time.”

 “Katrina, do you remember the campout we had up in the Rocky Mountain Front Range in the Augusta country? That’s when Bruno was a puppy and he wore himself out playing. We have a picture of him covered up and sleeping beneath a camouflage sweatshirt.”

Katrina remembers that, and also the drive out in four-wheel-drive through six inches or more of wet snow.

Katrina has youngsters of her own now — Ben, age 6 1/2 and Erin, who is 3 1/2. They are both excited to be going on a two-week fishing trip to Canada. It will be Ben’s second trip there, Erin’s first, Brad’s third. Laurie has been to Saskatchewan seven or eight times, Katrina 16 or 18 trips. This will be my 43rd trip to Amisk Lake since 1967.

Ben recently told a doctor in Oklahoma that he was going fishing at Amisk Lake. The doctor asked, “Where is Amisk Lake?” Ben replied, “It’s on top of the world!”

I had to laugh at that. It reminded me of my late son, Ben, who had a similarly inquisitive mind and asked me non-stop questions. One time he asked what clouds were made of. While I was fumbling about, trying to explain water vapor and the like, he said, “Naw, that’s just snow stuck up onto the sky!”

Grandson Ben was in diapers the last time he was on a boat; this time he is ready for fishing and is intent on netting a fish. Laurie has promised to be his instructor on netting.

Thanks to Brad, Katrina and Laurie we have the Dodge loaded with gear, the Lund Alaskan hooked up and ready to go tomorrow. We’ll travel to Malta, Montana and spend the night, then drive to Swan River, Manitoba the second night. We’ll reach camp mid-afternoon the third day. The rest of that day will be spent unloading the truck, getting the boat into the water, hooking up gas lines to the outboard motors, putting up the boat windshield, installing rod-holders and getting rods-and-reels out of the storage bins on the boat and placing them into the upright rod-holders that surround the console.

“I am the boat operator, guide and entertainment on this trip,” I tell my family. “I can’t do much else.” Everyone says they are fine with that. Like most family fishing trips, this one promises to create plenty of stories and unforgettable moments.

Let the adventure begin.

Bernie Kuntz,

a Jamestown native, has been an Outdoors columnist for the Sun since 1974