Consider the Loon

A close encounter

The loons were dunking their heads into the water, rubbing the back of their heads on their feathers, diving once in awhile, but mostly checking out this stranger on a very small rock island sticking out of their lake. Black flies and mosquitoes were attacking them and I think they wanted to hand them off to me. Here at six feet away the loon cooed softly and looked for her partner who started toward me as well.

All is well, don't bother us!!!

    This was a strange day as even the turtles on the rock nearby stubbornly refused to be scared into the water when one of our canoes came by as we fished. The fish followed our hooks in but most wouldn’t bite.

diving for minnows

Very rarely is anything in nature at peace. We think of nature as peaceful but it’s an illusion. Kill or be killed, eat and be eaten, be alert, danger comes in an instant, life is often very short in the wild. As I watched these loons dive and swim through the school of shiner minnows in front of me, coo at me, and dive again;

All is well today, last night not so much!

I knew the school of shiners was gradually disappearing.

The turtles didn’t mind because the sun was out.  One lake over where we made camp we watched a mink go after the loons nest. The male loon attacked the mink in the water and drove it away for a short time. We knew when the mink prevailed because of the loons crying in the darkness just before dawn. But have a cry and go on…and they did.

A couple days before going into the wilderness some of us observed a huge bald eagle attack a loon on her nest. She was vulnerable and the eagle had a meal.

dealing with black flies...wish I could bend my neck like that...maybe not!

Are we not like the loon in many ways? A predator to many things and yet so vulnerable as well.  We live for the moment and do whatever is necessary for our comfort. We fight for those close to us and mourn when we lose. We just watch or scamper when tragedy strikes someone else. We want to be by big things that may shield us if trouble comes (a big bank account or working for a large stable company is nice).

Security, that’s what I’m looking for!

      How about some serenity with that security? Now we have the world by the tail!

I took this picture from a high rock cliff protecting this back bay in the high winds. Later on we would have a canoe tipped by those winds as we ventured out of the safety of those rocks (I suspect the loons were using me as a shield for a while).

Unlike the loon we have a safety net beyond this life. Sooner or later this life goes back in the box (pardon the picture), but the next one will be great for those who know and trust our creator Jesus Christ. That’s a promise from the one who beat death. It’s explained well here.

One last shot will show what loons take for granted. After all it is what it is. We are different as we are created with the ability to enjoy beauty, get all choked up, spontaneously worship God, and forget time (until a mosquito bites).Gary

Comments are welcomed and encouraged

Fishing: with Adventure Possibilities

Bald Eagle fly-by

I love fishing. I love adventure. I love being out in a wilderness setting with a rod, gun, and a camera. I absolutely enjoy the rush of insight gained about, God;  who created all of it and knowing He hears when I whisper in awe of the moment, “Thank you Jesus, Thank you. What an awesome God you are”. So I’ll share with you yesterday afternoons adventure with my brother, Dwight.

Still wet from his bath he is hanging out his wings in the slight breeze to dry

The pike were at it again; but we had to work for them. I picked up the camera when Dwight spotted this bald eagle in the reeds on the edge of the lake taking a bath. It’s not often you catch an eagle in all their majesty in an indisposed state. I guess we all get dirty and need a bath sometime. After 30 pictures or so I realized I probably missed a lot of good shots as I watched this huge eagle begin the drying process. He seemed not to mind us in lieu of enjoying himself. After his fly-by and looking at the size of his claws, I see why we didn’t seem a threat to him. I get the feeling he knew he could take us!

As we kept drift fishing the crappies started a very soft bite. Two loud trumpets started going off in the quiet evening and turned out to be trumpeter swans that flew right over us and checked out our little lake. They live up to their name as we probably heard them a mile away.

Watching us drift fish

A beaver splashed at us and climbed out of the water;

Dwight with first keeper

heading up a steep bank for who knows where. Loons came by, visited us then continued on. The sun set on the west end of the lake as a                        huge moon began to show itself. on the eastern horizon.  “It’s hard to leave the lake on an evening like this,” Dwight commented. What an evening. What an adventure. I’m so thankful that my creator gave us the capability to be amazed and enjoy the beauty, love adventure, and communicate to others in some small way.

What are your favorite adventures? Please make your comments below


Fishing and making fishermen

Loon hiding near her nest

Yesterday three of us searched for some monster crappies where they should have been but I guess that’s why they call it fishing…No crappies in the shallows because the cold front took them back out again. The little pike were not shy about eating our crappie lures, and there were a few bass not willing to let hooks near their beds.

Nice bass Chris

It was quite a contrast from my last weeks fishing experience with my grand-kids in Kentucky. The girls Liz (9) and Nique (7) can both cast and reel in their lines. Liz can avoid the logs and rocks for the most part and Nique seems to catch them all. The learning curve is there and they both love fishing.

Then there is Aron (2). Yes I took him on his first fishing adventure. I did it right with pop and gummy bears. I would have taken one of Americas funniest pictures, but My camera, Aron, me, and my , reel, and tackle were so tangled with line and a small hook and bobber that I couldn’t get to the camera. I thought I had a good system planned with a two year old. I was wrong!

I had this mental image of a small boy sitting patiently beside grandpa watching a couple of bobbers and maybe catching some bluegill or hybrid bass swimming by.

Reality was quick as Aron grabbed any rod available and started reeling and flailing the end of the rod like a sword. It was closest to fly-casting while doing some karate moves while swinging at a panicking frog in the grass. The small tree nearby quickly acquired line and lost all it’s spring growth of leaves and a few branches. I rushed to the rescue and ended up in the same shape as the tree looking for my glasses in the shallow waters edge while taking the end of the bobber out of my ear.

After retying a new hook on and wadding up the first half of what was my on my reel spool, I calmly put the bobber back on and cast out again. “Can you just watch the bobber and not reel in the line?” I asked Aron. “Uhhh-ha” was the answer. “Can you hold the rod stil and not wave it around?” I asked. “Uh-ha” came too quickly. I figure the hook lasted four seconds longer. This time I saved the rest of the tree and the frog was long gone.There were more than a few chuckles down the bank a ways as some older gentlemen sat on buckets with surf-casting rods out for stripped bass. We also drew the attention of a turtle that Aron wanted to go after in the deeper water. I held him back with another package of gummy bears.

Lone Swan at the end of the lake "I like Me and my space...leave me alone!"

I later reflected on how it must be hard to be two and want to fish. In Aron’s mind he was fishing and doing it right. It seems that no matter what age we are and what level we find ourselves at, we know what we are doing; just ask us! It shall take some years and many times fishing to give Aron his own rod. After all he is only two. Meanwhile I have a list of things to replace before fishing from the bank again. If you see a robin with half his feathers gone or a bobber at the top of a tree in the middle of no-where, I may have the inside scoop for you.

I also wonder how many of us are two when it comes to being “Fishers of Men”. If you would call yourself a “follower of Jesus” He has called us to that adventure as well. Read about it in Matthew 4:19

Make some comments at the bottom under “Reply” about your fishing skills or being a fisher of men, Are all followers of Jesus called to be “fishers of men “?  Is it only for the mature and talented? Are there a lot of Two year olds going on 50?


Looking For…Signs of Life

Spring is finally here in northern Minnesota.  Winter could not hold it back anymore! I am always so amazed at the tenacity of new life and the signs of life pushing fall and winters death aside. It’s natures “Picture Truth”of Easter and it’s story of Life over death

Yesterday the lake was partially filled with broken ice cubes at one end. The open water in the last 24 hours already had loons, ducks, and a muskrat enjoying a swim. The frogs sang loudly on the edges and in the nearby swamps as my friend Joe and I were first to canoe this little northern Minnesota lake. The willow branches are puffy white and the maples are already being tapped for their sap to make maple syrup by the locals.

That which is alive is showing itself in blossoms, buds, nests, song, and new growth.  I’ll say it again, it’s natures version of Easter.

I get revved up about the fishing coming soon, but I have to pause and look for all the signs of life all around. just as spring cannot be held back, neither can the signs of life be hidden. Life conquers death every spring . Life grows and the dead decays; very simple. It’s no different than people except that people can be dead spiritually (no ongoing relationship with God) and still be walking around physically alive. Spring in our life is when we are made alive by God and the signs of spring begin to appear.

    Even from a distance you can see that one birch tree is fully alive and the other is dying. One will leaf out in a couple of weeks from the forming buds and the other will stay the same. I watch these trees every day out my windows over the back deck. I know them well. One is growing and one is dying. The dead birch will still look good for the most part because the birch bark outer shell won’t rot for years. The inside is already part rotten and punky  inside.  Like people the real life comes from the inside. One of my favorite Quotes was from Jesus in the Bible where He said “I have come that you might have Life, and that you might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10)

 Are you alive?Really alive? Showing signs of Life and not dead on the inside? Are you blossoming? pushing through the dead stuff in your life and growing?

Big pike in BWCA ...Fun

Those who know me know that I come alive fishing and being in the wilderness. But if you really know me, my aliveness comes from the inside. I have my passions and they are even more alive then ever. not only alive, but kept alive through a personal and daily interaction with Jesus (yes the same one who didn’t stay dead on Easter and yes, for real).

Read a good example in an earlier blog called “Food For Thought” (this happens to me once in a while and is commonplace for those who spend time with God and allow His spirit to work in their lives). It’s a great story

One Last thought as an axiom of how life works “If you are not growing…You are Dying” To the degree your roots gain nourishment every day, is the degree the signs of spring and life will be seen in you. Now I’m not talking spiritual injections here. non of this “I prayed a prayer once stuff, or I go to church once a week, or I’m a good person”.  I’m talking about an interactive life with the God of the Universe and His Spirit (who gives and sustains life). The one who didn’t stay dead and wants to make us alive cause we’re born dead and need his life in us to be alive….ya that stuff!

What are your thoughts on this? what things do you put into your life to grow? It’s not always spring in my life either…It’s actually been a long winter for me but I am growing.

    Gary Fultz

Spring and new growth

Watching the sunrise each morning Its just good for the soul!

It’s spring from natures point of view. What was frozen is now thawing a little more each day here in northern Minnesota.

Last week my wife and I watched the sunrise each morning from a vacation condo deck overlooking Table Rock lake Missouri. It’s fully spring there as the tree buds have leafed out, dogwood blossoms whiten the wooded hills,  and the crappies and bass are staging near their spawning areas.

The geese are another sign of spring

It’s not hard to spot the signs of spring. New growth is all around. The birds are claiming territory and building nests, the fish are doing the same.

We couldnt resist keeping some fish for an easter fish fry back home

Cheryl and I intentionally got away this spring to focus on our future together. We played miniature golf, fished, watched sunrises and sunsets together. We tried some new foods and cooked for each other. We discussed our priorities with our hopes and dreams and our commitments. We prayed, talked, walked the steep trails, got sun-burnt, and took a lot of pictures. We made plans, set some goals, and vowed to go back to this great place. After all the fishing is great and the natives are so friendly you might find yourself in someones nice boat!

We found ourselves in captain Ricks LaPoints boat...what a guide and what a blast

    Finally, A discovery or an insight by My wife. She said to me; “It has been winter in our lives for a very long time. I think spring is finally coming to us” 

Change is hard. Spring is a great time to observe but hard to let happen in our lives. I wonder how many of us are stuck in winter Spiritually in our walk with God? How many are frozen in place in our marriage,  emotionally,  a bad job, or just comfortable with your status quo life?

What observations do you have about the seasons that hit our lives? what is easy and what is hard? Make your comments below


Time on the condo deck

Fishing, Do it Right

Last week: wilderness fishing- roasting brats over a fire- doing it right...Thanks Uncle Jim

Planning an outing on the ice, in a boat, or walking through the woods can be great; Why not make it Fantastic!

I am a die hard fisherman, hunter , and wilderness adventurer. I tend to grab the basics and go. Auger, bait, minnows, gun, ammo, canoe, boat, water bottle, and I’m good. In my history of great trips, I have forgotten tents, extra rods, matches, extra clip, and yes even the canoe paddle on a solo fishing outing. I even caught a couple of walleye on the still lake using a long dead stick like a kayak paddle but it was ten times the work getting around the lake. It was exponential work after it broke in the middle (ya- both the lake and the stick).

Grandkids have a bigger smile on pop and chips

When my son was in junior high he made a comment (because I’m slow at catching hints) that he loved fishing with uncle Mark. I took the bait and asked why. “Because when I’m not catching fish it’s still fun!” was his reply. “Why” I asked “is Marks boat funner than mine?” Thankfully I have not forgot his answer; “because uncle Mark always has pop and chips. Sometimes he has the little gas grill and hot dogs and sometimes…Alright alright” I said mentally checking my wallet.

Top Photo tip for fishermen: never show the gas grill on the ice!

I have since learned that guiding clients professionally and taking kids fishing will be successful based on about three things. Was it fun? Did you catch fish? Let me translate that for you in layers. Layer #1 Was the guide fun to be with? Layer #2 Did he tell great stories? Layer #3 Did you have great food and snacks in the boat or was he one of those health nuts? Layer #4 What kind of boat did you fish out of? Layer #5 Did you get a lot of fish?  Layer #6 Did you get any big fish? Finally they ask “did you get a shore lunch?”     For kids I use a special pop batter and roll the fillets in the crushed chips in the bottom of the bag. When I tell adults about it they say “How come we don’t get that?”  (sigh…I have a long ways to go!) “Eat your fish jerky and after you eat the beans you can dip out of the lake for a drink, Oh, and make sure you sharpen your fillet knife! cutting the cans open might be hard on the edge. Here’s another band aid…muttering…I must have lost the forks”.

We snuck out of the house for a couple hours. The women thought we were in the garage!

Fishing by itself is fantastic for some of us, but most people need a lot of garnish for a fantastic experience.

Last night my wife and I were involved in a church committee meeting. Planning spiritual growth for our teachers and the lives of the kids, you know, really important stuff with eternal perspectives…got your engine roaring with that-didn’t I (not…I heard that!)

I mixed up my special venison hamburger with salsa and other special seasonings and made nice patties, grilled them with two kinds of brats. Baked beans simmered with fresh onions  with a nice jello salad were served with all kinds of fresh garnishes to add. In the middle of the committee meeting we had an overly good chocolate cake with ice cream (My wife’s birthday…thanks Kathy for remembering for me).

Ha, I just changed your opinion of coming to one of our committee meetings didn’t I!

Now the kicker! I will be guiding a limited number of clients fishing this year. I’m going to do it right! You just got smacked with an advertisement but it’s gonna be great! I have pop and chips and a can opener…(and some whittled one of a kind diamond willow forks!)  Who wants to go fishing and hunting? “ON CALL GUIDES inc.” coming soon.

Gary Fultz

Pictures of Life

New snow    pictures of life     taken this morning     peeking between the blinds

I am posting some pictures I captured this morning, within a few miles of our house, that need captions about Life.

Do you ever feel neglected?
Do You ever feel Lonely?
Does life ever crush you?
  • Do you ever feel like you are not communicating?
  • You see Life from a rabbits viewpoint when you fall down

    Do you ever feel like going away and hiding?
    Sometimes we feel outdated and irreparable ... By Gary Fultz

    STA…StoryTellers Anonymous

    Monster Pike from a canoe, no net on 1# test, old fiberglass rod, fish was trying to eat the canoe!!!

    I thought it was a great idea! I could start an outdoors club in our area under the guise of “Storytellers Anonymous”. Cretian Certain relatives and friends would pay us to go!!!It would probably be a great fund raiser for the next high school band trip!

    I can see it now; Johnny to old aunt mae“I’m raising funds to send our band to Washington DC to play for the president” Aunt Mae “I’m not paying you kids any money do such a thing!” Johnny “please Aunt mae, If we raise $1000 apiece our dads have to go to Storytellers ananymous  for a whole year”. Aunt Mae “I’ll give you $2000 myself to see that happen” Johnny “but I only need $1000”, Aunt Mae “I want him there for two years and he can’t get off for good storytelling”

    fiberglass canoe, food pack, front tackle bag, mile long portages, 30 miles into uninhabited wilderness... Don't stick your fingers in the water You will lose them to the hungry fish!

    Just my way of helping all those outdoors people hobnob and plan their next outings and socially connect with the “others”. Of course they promise to learn how to tell their adventures in such a way that words, phrases, facial expression, and gestures would make people come alive, hanging vicariously on every word that came out of our mouths. “So Real, I’m living it, I could listen forever” would be common expressions of friends, enemies, and other relatives of those involved with the secret club know as “Storytellers Anonymous” (eye roll please except uncle Fred. That  one glass eye of yours doesn’t roll with the other one and that freaks me out).

    -20 below zero 3 feet of ice, fish photoshopped to fit in picture! H... We are working on your story... STA

    We would help each other with the proper embellishments due to the story. The logic behind embellishment is that a told story is not even close to the same as living it. I propose that proper embellishment can help the listener almost experience the excitement, fears, nightmares that night,and adrenaline (OK I haven’t worked the adrenaline part out yet) that accompanies good story telling techniques. One reaches a whole new level of holding the audience breathless when you believe the story yourself. Just a heads up: psychologists disagree with me on where that level is, and have strange beliefs  about the really good story tellers and where they should live

    Now this is a fish story!!!

    Now I know this fish was caught through two feet of ice in three feet of water on a stick with some line on it. You should hear him tell it!

    Being I am posting this on April fools day, Those of you who do not know me in person but read the blogs – know I would never exaggerate on any other day(cough-hack-twinge of TGIA1st).

    For another good April 1st blog, check out my niece Elena’s here
    Yes the Billy Joel kid can fish.   pictured above (I’m mixing in Elena’s blog here)

    Someday some of my extreme wilderness bear stories and wild rescue stories will be told here and only here. No one else has the rights to my life’s adventures so only at can you get it…or around a campfire at night on one of my trips. I will tell you about how a bear got our food pack hanging 15 feet in the air between two trees, grabbed most of the food and I went after the bear with a flashlight in my teeth at 2AM and got it back. True story but working on reverse embellishments or you really wouldn’t believe me. But maybe I’ll tell it like it is because I believe it!

    Have a good April Fools day  (did anyone click on…that’s where you are already!- ha..OK groan, ya- lame)

    If you would like to learn how to write better than me, do nothing. However if you want to get good at it I strongly recommend Kristen Lambs blogs on writing and social networking. Good stuff

    Advertisment: Top secret photo-shop lessons given next meeting

    Gary Fultz

    Outdoor Adventures insights and stories

    Adventure most often lies beyond sight

    After 4 months of writing in another section of the cyber universe, I have moved. I am an outdoor adventure- go before I think-skin my knee on the way out the door-kind of guy (or just accident prone sometimes). I relate to the guy who went to the doctor and said doctor, doctor, I broke my arm in seven places!” and the doctor said “well you gotta stay out of them places”. You can go back to my first blogs and there are some very good ones, and some I broke my arm on (that means they are not as good) but I learned and they are worth reading I am told, so I imported them into the archives here.

    I began to write a “picture Truth” series and will continue. I appreciate your comments and your own stories and comments as well. I vote for the Angry Beaver Blog as the most entertaining.  For a spiritual challenge linked to adventure  Firestarters of the Soul

    great wilderness lunch special

    I have to talk fishing sooner or well-sooner. I will bring you to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness often. Trip # 56 is coming up with a bunch of us guys going for five days into regions few people portage and paddle (a bunch of portages) into. I hope to have great pictures to show for it. Another writer is coming along, I would encourage you to earmark his “Outdoor Truths” for your reading and encouragement as well. read about his invite to our trip in”No Excuses by Gary Miller,

    I value your comments, stories, and encouragement. I’d love to gather enough stories to run out and make a book that people would actually buy. So I hope to provide weave stories for good entertainment value, share insights that deal with our lives, and throw in a few outdoor tips on camping and cooking (Not the cooking?…..I heard that!).

    Who knows, you might find yourself on an adventure in the BWCA, At Elk Camp in the Rockies, Bear hunt and walleye fishing camp in northern Minnesota, Goose hunting the Dakotas,  Ice fishing on Lake of the woods or Itasca State Park area. I am contemplating the ultimate photography trip into the hidden areas of the BWCA (with a fishing rod handy just in case I sense a fish nearby).

    So Welcome to my blog, enjoy, make comments and suggestions below. Till then keep your hook in the water.

    Gary Fultz

    >Gary Fultz on…The Steak or the Sizzle? Picture truth #7


    Steaks with a Mesquite or Cajun rub in the middle of the wilderness

    I know the smell and sizzle carried half a mile because that’s how far away the teenagers were when they came running. All to be eaten with black beans, rice, fresh onion,peppers, hot sauce, with fresh fish in an avocado burrito shell. This is as close as I hope to get to a Hungary pack of wolves in human form.
    I was on the lookout for vampire teeth showing their true nature. I heard thunder in the distance but there were no clouds. I realized it was stomachs rumbling three stages past the mumbling stage.
    I looked at the sun and it hadn’t moved much since they raided the extra granola bars and jerky. I was guessing the smell and the sizzle of the steaks would not satisfy this bunch.
    No fantasies of the five adults eating the steaks while the teens watched–would come true today.

     First on the scene….steaksteak...steak!

    Leverage is often used as a business term. I used it! “No one gets a steak till we get a stack of firewood waist high” I said. Poof…there it was.
    “No one gets a steak till the onions and peppers are chopped and the burrito shells are laid out”
    No poof but bingedy – bang – clash “where’s the band aids?are the steaks done yet? why am I dizzy? Pause to inhale. “why am I growing fangs?”

        I gave God thanks for the food with my eyes open and prayed the big fish would bite.

        Isn’t it odd that it’s easy to spend a lot of time, energy, and money to devour good food, yet satisfied with the smell and sizzle only, of great spiritual food?
        We settle for going to church or a concert for the smell and sizzle of spiritual food and often don’t take the time, energy, or money to just get alone with God in his word (as recorded in the Bible). Pray, fast, Listen to the holy Spirit speaking to us, and finally obeying what God wants us to say and do. Jesus told His disciples who were urging him to eat some food; “I have food that you know nothing about” Then to clarify he said “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:32-34). Read what Frank Aragon says on this in his devotional.
        I know how demanding my stomach is. It can rumble with the best of them. I often let everyone around the campfire do a little taste testing as the food is about ready over the open fire. It good, It’s fun, and it would be down right mean to the body if that’s all we did. Let’s not be “taste testers” for our soul. Are you content with the sizzle? How bad do you want the steak?
        What helps you the most in your food for the soul? Make your comments below… recipe sharing is a good thing!

    “Come meet with Me” The sights, the sounds, the sizzle
    Gary D