August 26 - The Adventure Begins

Sue and I left Saskatoon about 6:30 am on Monday, August 26. We had one LONG drive ahead of us - around 500km. I was amazed..... the time passed very quickly. I soon discovered I wasn't mistaken with my initial assessment of Sue based upon our first meeting the day before. She was a BLAST to travel with!
 
Sue has experienced a myriad of things in her life. She has toured the world twice with kd lang, experienced the glamor of cities like New York, Los Angeles and London, lived on the Queen Charlotte Islands, settled in rural Idaho, and much more. Now, she was in a car with a bald guy, beginning an adventure in Saskatchewan's far north. She was definitely not phased by this at all!
 
We chatted about all kinds of things as we drove north. Sue talked about her experiences out there in the world, and I related stories about my experiences driving north on this highway literally thousands of times from the 1970's until today. The time flew. Soon, we were pulling off the last 80km of gravel road that Sue affectionately called "The Logging Road" into Missinipe.
 
We had a couple of hours to kill before our float plane trip to Hutchings Lake, next to the small Lake Forest House overlooks, so I took Sue on a tour of Otter Rapids. I was very impressed, because we had spent over six hours together cooped up in a car and for the most part, we still liked each other!
 
We arrived at the dock at Osprey Air just in time to begin loading all our gear onto the Turbo Otter that would be our chariot to Forest House. My Chevy Equinox was loaded to the hilt with about 300 lbs. of  "Pelican" waterproof floating cases, ranging from 24" x 30" inside (the majority) to smaller. A I was recovering from a heart attack, suffered just 8 weeks earlier,, I was THOROUGHLY & ETERNALLY GRATEFUL that Ric Driediger, owner of Churchill River Canoe Outfitters, had provide us with two willing "mules" to load our stuff....... son Dan Driediger and his friend, Nick Bergen. The duo would also accompany us to Forest House.
 
Soon, we were airborne,  cruising over a landscape of seemingly endless lakes and in less than half an hour, we were landing on Hutchings Lake, next door to Forest House. Ric Driediger and his wife, Theresa were standing on the dock, with warm, welcoming smiles to greet us.
 
The next phase of the operation was to haul all gear over a portage to the lake Forest House sits on. It was then canoed to the lodge by the boys. Sue and I walked in on a moss-covered trail through the quiet forest. Every time I travel to Forest House, the beauty of the lodge and the forest overwhelm me. This time was no exception.
 
It had already been a very long day, but I was extremely excited to see if all recording equipment we hauled in would work on the solar-powered grid. The main lodge at Forest House is large and spacious. Sue and I checked out the acoustics throughout the building and decided to set up in the gorgeous dining area. It is roomy and features high ceilings. I set up all the equipment and tested everything except our Blue Bottle Rocket Stage Two main vocal mic. Everything worked perfectly. Life was great!
 
Ric, Theresa, Dan, Nick, Sue and myself sat down to our first fantastic dinner at Forest House. Great food and great company!
 
After supper, even though we were extremely tired, Sue and I decided to do a little recording. I set up the Blue Bottle Rocket and turned on its power supply. It's an old style tube mic, so the power supply cycles through a red glowing light, meaning the tube is warming up, to green, indicating all is ready. Disaster! Every time the power supply tried to cycle from red to green, it would shut down. This was not a good thing. After several attempts to get the Blue running, I tried my other mics. They both also ran off their own power supplies....... same result! This was definitely not a good thing! The Forest House solar grid just couldn't run these mics! To bring Sue all the way out here..... all the preparation..... all the effort..... only to find out we had no way to record vocals!
 
God put Ric Driediger on this earth to primarily point people to the wonders Mother Nature has provided us. Fortunately, he also gave Ric the ability to problem solve. As I panicked over this dilema, Ric calmly watched me while deep in thought. Then he said " We have a generator just up the hill. Let's try plugging the mics directly into it. It's far enough away that we shouldn't hear it. Wanna see if it works?"
 
My panic turned into joy as the Blue's power supply turned green. Ric had saved the day! We would just have to run the generator while recording vocals.
 
Our first glorious day at Forest House ended with Sue and I laying down some test vocals and turning in, tired, but very content.