Wild Northerner Magazine Fall 2017 - Page 20

BY SCOTT HADDOW

Wild Northerner staff

He had bad timing. He had poor taste. He had a foul mouth. He had a bad attitude. He had no filter. He was drunk half the time and the other half stoned. He was dirty. He was crass. He clearly didn’t give a shit.

These were the charming elements of one owner of a northern Ontario fishing lodge in which I and three buddies stayed at years ago. He no longer runs and operates a lodge, but damn it, that SOB will never be forgotten by me and my friends.

He made one hell of an impression.

Like any small independently-owned business, the owner(s) make or break it. In northern Ontario, when you get around to a few lodges, you get a true taste for these unique and sometimes wild and out-of-control people.

Sometimes it is excellent and sometimes it is awful and sometimes somewhere in-between. No matter what, they can leave lasting memories, especially when it dips into the shitty end of the spectrum.

A few years ago, my friends and I got together for a four-day outing south of Timmins. We got four VIP tickets to a real gongshow.

We were late getting up on our first day. The ride in knocked me for a loop. I ate some bad food from a restaurant along the way. We were about an hour down a bumpy logging road when I yelled at my pal, Ryan, to stop the truck so I could get out and hurl. I dropped out of the truck on all fours and began the nasty deed.

My buddies howled. I looked up and we were about 30-feet from the lodge.

The owner, who I will call Peach because he was so warm and fuzzy, came out. I’m sure it was the only time I saw him sober over the next four days.

“I’ve seen guys puke while staying here and puke when they were leaving, but never coming in,” Peach yelled. “You guys are going to be trouble, eh?”

The first night was low-key. Peach showed us our cabin and said he had it all cleaned up for us. We would have believed him, but we walked into a pile of dead squirrels in the fireplace. We fished a small pike lake to cap the day.

The next day we asked him to show us were a good speckled trout lake was.

“Follow me,” Peach said as he jumped on his ATV and roared off at full speed in a massive cloud of dust and debris.

Ryan tried, in vain, to keep up to Peach. It was hopeless. Peach lost us on the rough logging roads.

Then we just ended up lost. It was bizarre. We drove around for close to three hours before making our way back to the lodge.

Peach was standing there with his arms folded and a smug look on his face. He asked what happened to us and why we didn’t show up at the lake - he waited 10 minutes for us.

Ryan explained to him how he lost us in the dust and how we ended up lost. Peach shrugged his shoulders and muttered some now famous words.

“It’s your fishing trip,” he blurted out.

We went back to the brook trout lake and Peach took it extra slow just to make a point that he was an asshole. We caught four decent trout weighing between two and three pounds and went back to the lodge.

Peach came over to us just to shrug his shoulders again at our catch.

“Meh, average,” he proclaimed and walked away.

What a great ambassador for his own lodge, eh?

It only got better, depending on how you look at. Peach spent his days stumbling around the lodge and cabins doing fierce and loud air guitar sessions. We got back from a morning of fishing and Peach came up to us with a strange look on his face. We thought he was going to tell us our trout sucked again. He didn’t. It was much worse.

“My wife stinks,” Peach said.

He continued and told us it was that “time of the month” for his wife. He said a bunch of other stuff and continued until we told him to shut up and walked away from him. He shrugged his shoulders and walked away too, but did so while playing air guitar.

On our final night, Ryan and I were cleaning fish. Peach burst into the cleaning station and asked us to square up the bill and pay. He meant right at that moment with fish guts on our hands and all. Peach had the bill in his hand and even gestured a pen towards Ryan.

Once again, we had to bluntly tell him to back off. Peach walked away shaking his head. He was a prime piece of work.

On the last night, I was chased out of the cabin by the other guy’s snoring. I took refuge in the truck. I cracked the window and tried to drift off. It was about 3 a.m. As I settled, I could hear some strange muffled screaming from off in the distance towards the lodge. I’m sure it was the lodge owner. Who knows what he was up to. I certainly wasn’t going to look. I rolled up the window. I had heard enough of him.

The fishing was decent, but the lodge host was the real spectacle of the trip and not for anything good. He made fun of our fish. He was useless most of the time because he was blasted.

Not every lodge owner is going to be a gem, but it is nice when they are at least sober LOL.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a crazy experience at a lodge. Sometimes the cheaper you go, the more memorable it will be for reasons that make you wonder and then laugh at later.

Rude and crude from start to finish