Wild Northerner Magazine Summer 2018 - Page 5

I remember the moment when the hornet nest hit the boat. It bounced off the bow of the 14-footer with me sitting at the back by the motor. All hell was about to break loose.

My older cousin, Steve, and I had been out fishing on Big Gull Lake, where our aunt and uncle had a camp, or cottage as they called it. I was 13 and he was 16. The day had been rather uneventful. The weather was warm and muggy and the bite was slow with the exception of the odd smallmouth bass and rock bass. A friend of the family, Jason, was out with us in another boat.

At one point in a small bay, Steve had launched a cast way up into a white pine tree. It was a Rapala lure and it was new and he was not leaving without it. Jason urged him to give it up. Steve climbed the tree to retrieve the lure. He got to the Rapala and yanked it free but his shouts of joy were replaced by screams of pain. He disturbed a hornet’s nest and knocked it loose on his way down.

I was in about two-feet of water and the boat was nudged up against the shore when the nest came crashing down. I didn’t have time to think.

In an instant, angry hornets were swarming me.

It was freak out time. I started the motor to get the heck out of there. I chewed up the prop on rocks as I forgot I was in shallow water. Steve and I were being stung. He took control of the motor situation and I shoved us off shore. Steve got the motor going and we raced out of there, cursing and yelling.

Jason, who had the privilege of a front row seat, complete with no hornets, enjoyed every second of it and had a good laugh.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if not earlier in the week, Steve and I and a few other family members were checking out my uncle Ken’s grand collection of abandoned cars. That was neat and going good until Steve opened a glovebox in one old Subarus and hornets poured out and stung the crap out of all of us as we ran back to the main camp.

Have I mentioned getting stung by hornets is terrific?

I can relate summer to being stung. I’ve been hit by bees and hornets and yellow jackets on multiple occasions over the years. They seem to find me and/or I seem to find them. The result has never been good for me.

I was on Manitoulin Island, staying with a friend, Shane, at his parent’s camp for a week during the summer after Grade 8. That entire week was a parade of misfortunes and injuries for me. That’s for another time. I will say this though, towards the end of that week, I had gone into a muddy section of Lake Huron to retrieve a football. I stepped on a wasp nest. It was horrible. I was hip deep in mud and it took a long time to get out. I was stung repeatedly and extensively over my arms, neck, hands and face. I had to go to the hospital. It was awesome LOL.

Most recently, my family was visiting my good friend, Ryan and his family at a camp on Lake Huron a few years ago. There was a day when Ryan and I had a few hours to go try some fishing in a local river and creek. It was fun. We caught smallmouth bass. Then I walked into a yellow jacket nest and was stung more than 20 times. They chased and drilled me all the way back to the car, which I spent running and cursing. Ryan never got stung once. It was outrageous.

Summer is an amazing season. Some call it the best time of the year. It can be hard to argue with stunning sunsets with orange and red skies, warm days filled with swimming, paddling, hiking and fishing and nights with a campfire and family and friends. Enjoy the moments and live the experiences wild and free.