Saturday, March 4, 2017

Thanks for the pics Joel...

Here are some great pics from one of our long time guests. Joel is part of the Yorkville HS group(now Newark HS), which is organized by Jim Still, also a long time Black Bear guest. This group is so much fun to have in camp every summer. If you are a loyal blogger then you have surely read about this group and the excitement and energy they bring to our camp. At the start of their trip they divide their group into fishing teams and they keep a detailed tally of all fish caught for their perspective teams. Most fish wins. Of course there is also prizes for biggest fish of each species and most fish caught by an individual. They also have a very competitive Derby Day, where two man(woman) teams are paired up at random and challenge for the most fish caught during that one day. And lets not forget about the the end of each day of fishing, the entire group gathers in the main lodge for nightly meetings where fish tallies are logged and stories are shared. The fishermen or women with the best fish (or least fish) for the day will be required to wear a "special" hat for the next days fishing. Blaze orange hats for the guests with the best catches and either a Turtle or fuzzy Bear hat to the less fortunate anglers. Anyone spotted without their hat on gets thrown in the lake.
Oh, and then there is Hawaiian day. One day during the week the entire camp looks like a Jimmy Buffett concert. All guests are dressed in colorful Hawaiian attire (shirts, grass skirts, lays and hats).
As you can image, our guests are easily noticed on the lake throughout this day.

But my favorite thing about this group is the friendship and camaraderie they share among themselves. I have watched many of these kids grow into amazing young adults. The stories they share with each other at their nightly meetings, and the help and encouragement they give each other is awesome to see. And the adults and parents that accompany the students are just as amazing. They go above and beyond to make sure each kid has a good trip and is able to find some fish. Of course as the years have gone by, these young kids are starting to out-fish some of the adults now.

Oh, did I mention that this group can better believe it! Their group totals are routinely in the thousands not the hundreds. And thanks to Joel, I will prove this fact yet again with just a few more pics. Thanks Joel!!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Wow! Yikes! GRRRR! and Sorry!!

After an incredibly long break from doing my Blogging duties, fighting with the techs on Blogger as to why I could not log into my account for over a month, and relocating our entire family...I think we are ready to kick this thing in high gear again.

Closing camp always puts things into a bit of world-wind when it comes to my "office" duties. Usually I play some kind of catch up once back Stateside and things get back into a normal rhythm. Well not this year. Because I opened my mouth earlier in the summer about living someplace warmer, Jillian decided she was officially done with Michigan winters and wanted out of the snow belt of Kalamazoo. So (like we did not have enough going on) we decided to sell our house, find a new house and a new job in a new State. Where?? Kentucky! Yep, you heard correctly. We are now living just outside of Louisville, KY.

How you ask?  Well, after returning from camp. Jillian and I dropped off the kids in Kalamazoo to stay with a good friend of ours and we drove 5 more hours to Kentucky and spent a long weekend doing job interviews and house hunting. Of course things went just as planned as we found a job and a perfect house, right? WRONG! We did come home with a 2 potential  jobs, but still no clue where we were going to live. What now? Well Jillian moved down to Kentucky and I became Mr. Mom in Kalamazoo. Regrettably, for 2 months our family was basically apart. While Jillian looked at 100's of houses and locations and working full time at a gymnastics facility in Louisville, I stayed home with our kids and tried to get our house packed up and ready to sell. At the same time, Grandma came to help so that I could also work part time with a buddy of mine (had to pay the bills). So by the end of hunting season (of course I did not miss out on my last deer season in MI), we had found the perfect house for us. Thankfully the sellers were nice enough to let us move in early. My December was spent packing up the house into boxes, packing the boxes onto the trailer, driving 5 hours and then unpacking the boxes from the trailer into the new new house and then driving 5 hours back.  So, after 5 trips with our big trailer, we had all of crap out of our house in K-Zoo and now sitting in the garage of our new house in Taylorsville, Kentucky. We officially moved in 2 days after Christmas. Yep, sadly we did not get to have Christmas as a family this year. Thanks to our  amazing family and friends, however, our kids still had a great Christmas. (Jillian and I can not thank you all enough for how you helped out and what you did for our kiddos!!!!!!!)

Welcome to Kentucky! So the month of January was spent unpacking boxes, cleaning and organizing the new house, hanging drywall, building shelves, putting furniture together, getting the kids established in their new home, having our own late Christmas as a family, and starting my new job at the same Gymnastics club as Jillian. Just typing this makes me tired thinking about all of it and I am wondering how the hell we did it!

Was it worth it? Only time will tell, but right now the answer is YES. We love our new house and our new job, and most importantly for Jillian and the kids, the beautiful Kentucky weather. I lost count at the number of days we have had in 60-70's during this past "winter". We have had one (yes 1) snow event. I think we officially got  2 inches of snow and they closed schools for two days LOL!!! Needless to say the kids and I spend ALOT of time outside. Our house is located at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac and the kids have made some new friends who also love to play outside. Basketball, riding bikes, playing tag, picnics, ect are a weekly occurrence around here.

And now? Well it is time to apologize to all of our loyal blog readers and get things back into 'Black Bear mode'. Like Jillian mentioned in our last post, hunting season was slower than expected for big bears but the hunters did persevere and ended up shooting 7 bears. I will try to get those pics up soon.
Fishing, on the other hand, was very good last season. I won't say it was the best year ever, but it was darn close. LOTS of big pike and a crazy number of 14-19inch walleyes. Lake trout fishing was good early in the season but slowed down in late July and August. I will try to find our final Fish Wall charts and get them posted (they are in a box around here somewhere).

Please spread the word the the Blog is back in business and once again, sorry for the delay.  Feel free to email any pictures or stories or fish recipes that you would like to see posted. I just went through a couple thousand pictures of our guests and their trophy fish from the past 12 years, because I hope to update our table pics in the main lodge and the pics in the fish cleaning house. Got any you want to see up there? Send them my way.  Here are just a few to get those fisherman juices flowing..Spring just around the corner!!!!!