Story Contest 2016 - First Place

An Epic Adventure featuring Love Bros. & Lee Outfitters

First Place 2016: Another Epic Adventure…

by Capt. R. Claude (Frenchy) Corbeille USN (Ret.)

The morning of 20 September 2014 found me and Mark, my great friend and hunting partner, marking time on the shore of Tyhee Lake near Telkwa, British Columbia. Though a generation apart in years, Mark and I are of like minds and paths and we get on famously together. Our gear was loaded aboard Alpine Lakes Air De Havilland Otter float plane, for further transportation to our hunting destination. The sky above us was a 60/40 blend of clouds and blue sky, but the sky over our intended destination was overcast with low-slung clouds. The night of 16 September, prior to leaving Wisconsin early the 17th, I had taken one last look at the weather maps provided by Environment Canada and had concluded that the weather over Northern BC would be a dicey mix on the 20th, and would take a down turn for a few days after that. I am a meteorologist by trade with more than 60 years of experience, so I trust my own predictions more so than I do those of the modern day TV experts. Our best window for a fly-in was the 20th.

We made the acquaintance of the third member of our hunting group who would be with us at Love Brothers & Lee Firesteel Camp, so the three of us chatted as we cooled our heels and waited for a favorable report on the destination weather. We were advised to go to lunch, then return to await further word. We were also advised that if the weather break did not occur prior to 1600 we would be put on hold until the next day. This was not good news to me because my recollection of what was coming in the way of weather was that it was going to be worse the next day, and if we did not make it out on the 20th, we would, in all likelihood, wait around for several days. The up side to it all is that we became well acquainted with the third member of our hunting group, John, who hails from South Carolina, embarked on his first ever Canadian hunting experience. Mark and I had hunted two years earlier with Love Brothers & Lee and we hastened to assure John that he made an exceptionally good choice in selecting his
outfitter. We also advised him to stand by for a lot of humor, camaraderie, and the opportunity to be the butt of a joke or two.

At 1545, when I, along with everyone else, had become quite anxious over the situation, the pilot sauntered forth looking happy and said “Let’s get aboard.” In a matter of minutes we were strapped in and taxiing across Tyhee Lake, readying for takeoff. The flight was bumpy, as one might expect given the weather conditions, but otherwise uneventful. Our first stop was on Tatlatui Lake to pick up Ron and Brenda, the owner/operators, and our guide, Brandon. It was a homecoming of sorts for Mark and me because that was the camp we had successfully hunted out of in 2012. A huge set of antlers from a well weathered moose was on display with the widest grin serving to identify the man who had shot the moose. The flight from Tatlatui Lake to Firesteel was a short one; the Firesteel River flows out of the northeast corner of Tatlatui. About 12 or 15 miles below the lake, the river widens considerably over a distance of a few miles, and it is where it narrows down to a stream again that the camp is situated. Low water level dictated off-loading passengers and gear about ½ mile from camp, so we finished the trek to camp on our leg-o-mobiles while Ron barged all of our gear and the food supplies over in a large boat.
With the late arrival, our first day in camp was a short one that involved no hunting.

While we unpacked and readied our gear, dinner was being prepared by Brenda. It was the first of many epicurean delights that would have graced the dining hall of a king. If one came intending to shed a few pounds, he would be disappointed. The quantity, and especially the quality, of the food rivaled any meals to be served anywhere.

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