Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hachet Men

The President of Waddell and Reed, Tom Butch, loves to fish. He also really likes to hang out with Waddell and Reed folks. He had the vision of getting a bunch of us together to go fishing in Canada. I was thrilled when he asked me if I'd be interested. I get to travel the world with W&R folks. I thought this would be a good chance for Bo to get to know some of the company's top brass. It was also a small reward for 2010 being our best year ever in the 15 years we have worked together. So we were off to become "Hachet Men"

We flew to Winnepeg and stayed the night in the Fairmont Hotel. The next morning (4:15 AM wake up call) we boarded a chartered flight with Nolinor Air to fly to a dirt landing strip at Hatchet Lake. Hachet Lake is located 600 miles South of the Arctic Circle and 680 miles North of Winnepeg

Dirt landing strip at Hatchet Lake.

We walked down a short road to the lake shore where there were 14 boats waiting for our group of 28. We boated over to an Island where the lodge is located. The lodge is the only dwelling on the Island or the 200 square mile lake. It is all made from locally cut spruce logs. There are cabins for the 28 guests of the lodge, the 14 Cree Indian guides and their families, the pilot and the other staff members of the lodge.

Our cabin had four bedrooms, two baths and a little living room. It was very comfortable for us. It is quite obvious that there are no building codes this far north but it was great. To make things more comfortable, the staff came into our cabin at 5:30 AM and started a fire in the wood stove and left a pot of Hot Chocolate for us. I tried to get Bo to serve me my Coco in bed but he wouldn't do it.
The staff in the lodge always dressed in matching uniforms. Breakfast at 7:00AM, dinner at 7:00 PM and always served with white linen table cloths.

These next few pictures were taken of our first fish we caught. We took pictures because we didn't know any better (we were catching minnows compared with what was to come) and we have both been on fishing outings were we catch one right off the bat and then nothing more.

We were catching Northern Pike and Lake Trout. The lake is strictly catch and release using barb-less hooks.

Now that's a fish. Bo caught this 42 inch Northern Pike. 42 inches is a big fish but up here they don't really get excited until the fish measures more than 50 inches.

They lake is catch and release, but we were able to keep enough fish for lunch. Our guides were Cree Indians. Being Indians they are allowed to keep some fish.

They would start looking for "lunchable" size fish around 11:00 am. They have many prearranged sites for a shore lunch. Some times we would get several of us together and sometimes we would have lunch alone with our guide Winston McCleod. Lunch consisted of french fried potatoes, fried onions, creamed corn, baked beans and fried fish.

Our Guide, Winston, was 3/4 Cree and 1/4 Scott. His Grandfather, Malachi McCleod, canoed into the area in 1938 and set up a trapping line and built a small cabin. He was one of the first settlers in the area. Several of his grandsons are fishing guides at the lake.

We also caught a couple of Walleye. We weren't trying to but they jumped on the line anyway.

As if Hatchet Lake was not remote enough, we had the option to fly out to 20 other lakes in the area. Here we are flying out to Hanna Lake.

Our plane was a 1976 Dehavelin (Canadian made) turbo prop plane. Our pilot was a little French speaking guy from Quebec. Most of the flights are only 15 - 30 minutes away.

38 inch Northern Pike.

Now that's a big trout. It measured 36 inches. One of the guys in our group caught a 42 incher. The fun thing was I caught three just like this in about 10 minutes.

After a while we decided to try our hand at catching Norther Pike with medium weight fly rods. At first we lost them. Pike have a mouth full very sharp teeth. We usually had to use steel leaders. It took a while but we got the hang of getting them into the boat.

Here is a 38 incher Bo caught on the fly. I know that some of the guys brought fly rods but to my knowledge we were the only ones going for Pike with them.

Our Second fly out was to Donahue Lake. It was a nice calm day. I think we caught the most fish here.

Here was our shore lunch crew on the shore of Lon du lac river that feeds into Donahue Lake.

Here we are with our Cree Indian guide, Winston McCleod.

Here is Mr. Butch and Mr. Hofmiester with their guide.

After four days on the Lake our plane comes in to take us back to Winnipeg. We never really kept track of how many fish we caught. But it had to have been 250 to 300 fish. Men are funny creatures. We are so competitive. There were daily scores of who caught the most fish. Some boats were getting over 100 fish in a day. Fish were measured to the fraction of an inch. Since all we could bring back to the lodge was pictures; strategies were laid out on how to take the picture so as to make the fish look the biggest. We tried to keep score, but we were having so much fun we usually lost track by 10:00 in the morning.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Friend, My Brother

My Friend, My Brother

Thirty years ago my family and I moved into a new home in Corona California. We were newly graduated from BYU, working a new job, expecting our second baby, and moved into an unfamiliar neighborhood in an unfamiliar town. One of the first families to welcome us to the area was Conrad and Claudia Cole. They had not lived in the area very long either and they made us feel right at home.

A few months later Conrad was called as the Yong Mens President of our Ward and I was called as the second counselor and Scoutmaster. This was to be the beginning of a wonderful friendship and many years of working together in the church. I was 24 at the time and had no idea of how to be a scoutmaster but we gave it our best. I figured that Scouts should do hiking and camping so we did a lot of that. Conrad would go on most of our outings. I learned later that he hated camping and especially hated hiking. We took a week long backpack trip in the Sierras. That is were I really learned that he hated camping and hiking. He also hated oatmeal which we had for breakfast every day. It was on this trip that I learned an interesting oddity about Conrad. He is 100% Native American Iroquois Indian from the Iroquois Nation in Upstate New York. He may be 100% Indian but from his ankles down to his toes he is pure white.

Even though Conrad was not a fan of hiking and camping, ( I did not learn this until years later) he loved the young men and he loved the Lord and was completly devoted to His service. A few years went by in the Young Mens program and Conrad was called to be the Bishop of our Ward. I was called to be his First Counselor. We worked together in that capacity for five years. The hours were long, but the work was sweet. Our five years in the Bishopric went by quickly. Bishop Cole chided me for not being a better fan of the BYU Cougars and taught me what obedience is really all about. He would push people to be better. He didn’t think that he was pushing hard enough until they would push back. But the people grew. There are many Bishops that later came out of those leadership meetings and Ward Counsels with Bishop Cole; including me, several years later. There are so many times when as Bishop, I would ask myself the question; “What would Bishop Cole do?”

A few more years went by and Conrad was called as the Stake Young Mens President. I was his counselor again in the Stake. Conrad was not one to tell jokes, but he found humor in everything and had an infectious laugh. It seems we laughed all the time; usually at each other. The Cole home was always a center of activity. After all he had the best game room in the neighborhood and the biggest TV with a satellite. (Reserved for BYU games) Conrad was such a loyal fan (having played on BYU’s football team) that I have seen him get in his car and drive out into the desert until he could pick up KSL radio in Salt Lake to hear the game.

Conrad was a good salesman and as he said, he sold “scrubbers and sweepers”. I sold mutual funds and financial advice. We had many long conversations about business and sales. I’m still selling mutual funds, Conrad ended up owning and expanding the business into a national firm. He would always say that running a good business is just applying gospel principals.

As a member of the Iroquois Nation, Conrad was not required to pay income taxes according to a treaty with the US Government. He carried a card in his wallet that said as much. But he always paid his taxes. He did not want to receive anything on the dole. He knew how to work, whether it was as a ranch hand in Eastern Oregon, or a heavy steel worker or just remodeling his house.

Conrad’s love for the Lord and the gospel of Jesus Christ was evident in everything he did. Every conversation would eventually end up in a gospel theme.

We moved to Nevada and the Coles moved to Utah. The friendships from Corona have spanned the years and many from the old Corona days continue to maintain friendships and frequently visit the Coles. (He has an even bigger game room now and the big satellite TV is now an in home theater.)

In the later years of his life, his humor remained even in physical adversity, and his testifying of the Savior grew sweeter. I believe, as he did, that we will meet again, with an even bigger view of the latest BYU game. Until then my friend, my brother.

Jeff L Whitaker
June 15, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The New Office

I have a number of clients between Northern Nevada and Southern Washington. I decided it was time to pay them a visit. This time, insted of rushing from place to place and meeting to meeting, I decided to take Marla and combine a little business with some camping in our little trailer. I call it my new office. We spent the first night in the Redwoods in Hendy State Park. That night we had dinner with Geoff and Margi Rice. We had Japanese food and Margi gave us a copy of her latest CD.

Hiking on Titanium knees in the Redwoods.

We next stopped in Roseburg at the Rising River RV park. This is our first time in an actual RV Park. We make lots of friends with our little trailer. I can't tell if people like our little airstream or they are taking pity on us because our trailer is so much smaller than every other trailer in the Park. That night we had dinner with Dick and Barbara Jorge. Wednesday morning I had breakfast with Kash Siepert.

We next drove over to the coast and hooked up with our friends the Glasmanns at the Honey Bear RV park in Gold Beach Oregon. We have been friends with the Glasmanns since our Jesse and their Jessica were friends in Kindergarden. They are both 30 years old now.

We took a day trip up the Rogue River on a big Jet Boat. It was powered by three massive engines. Our trip was 104 miles round trip and we were gone for about eight hours.

They Call this the Pinosarous Tree!

The first half the the trip was pleasant boat ride aided by entertaining commentary from our guide. The second half was more white water and rapids along with high speed 360s in the jet boat.

We saw bald eagles, ospreys, deer and harbor seals.

note to self. Maybe time to try a Rogue River fishing trip some time.

The Rogue River trip as well as camping with the Glasmanns definitely deserve a do over. Soon.
It wasn't a bad business trip either.