We have all had those really good hunting or fishing partners in camp or our everyday lives and through the years have learned to appreciate a really good and helpful partner. My last fishing trip once again reminded me of the importance of having good people along on your wilderness adventures. The kind of people who step forward and are always doing something to make the time there easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
You know the type of person that I am referring to and I am sure several names pop into your head when you think of your favorite hunting and fishing partners. Likewise I'm sure you can also think of a few guys you would just as soon not be along with ever again. Guys that are rude to others in camp and seldom if ever do any of the camp chores like haul in wood, clean game, cook or do dishes. These are guys that are constantly looking for new partners because they have obviously wore off their welcome with their old hunting partners.
Lucky for me I never have had to deal with very many of these undesirable type of partners and if I did I tried real hard not to allow it to happen again. Steve Dambacher and Lonnie Wares were my last two fishing partners and we had a great time. We switched off cooking and doing dishes and everyone helped clean fish. We also shared our fishing gear and everyone took turns pulling our tip-ups. It was a very successful and rewarding fishing trip. We all shared in the cost of the fishing trip and divided our catch equally when we got back home again.
One of my all time favorite partners ever is my daughter Kimberly even though her busy schedule these days does not allow her to spend as much time in the outdoors as I would like. Kim and I started fishing together when she was just 3 years old. We spent many hours on the ice in our small red fishing shack on either Coon Fork Lake or the Dells Pond Lake near Augusta Wisconsin. Kim was baiting her own hook and unhooking her own fish by the time she was 4! Day after day she caught 30 to 40 panfish all by herself.
One of the highlights of her early fishing career was watching her walk around the ice handing out free cheeseburgers and cups of hot chocolate to the many other fishermen on the ice. She made sure not to miss any one and often times would come back to the shack like a waitress placing an order. We still need two more burgers and 3 hot cocoa's dad! I would throw a couple more burgers in the frying pan as she delivered the last of the cocoas. On one occasion she pointed out the window at an elderly man who was drilling a hole with his adult son and commented how much difficulty they were having trying to get a hole through the ice. "Dad you better take your power auger over there because it will be dark before they get through the ice with that dull hand auger!" I agreed and Kim said she would watch the burgers cooking on the stove while I drilled our fellow fishermen a few holes.
I will never forget the look on those two cold fishermen's faces as she handed them cheeseburgers and hot cocoas later that day. It was very windy and cold that day but surprised and happy look on those two fishermen's faces was priceless. Once Kim had everyone on the lake fed she would return to her fishing as though it was all just part of her day.
Well here it is 2005 already and Kim just turned 16 years old last month. Besides going to school at Skyview she also plays in the school band. She also just returned from Beluga where she attended a trapping seminar for girls. Besides the many compliments we received from the Caraway family for her enthusiasm, and helpfulness she also hauled extra arctic gear over to help clothe the other girls. Kim also shot in archery tournaments at Fairbanks and the National tournament in Los Vegas, Nevada where she had a top ten finish in her first ever-major tournament.
By now your probably thinking I'm just bragging but wait I'm not done, there is still more. She also is involved with the Peninsula Rodeo and has excelled competing in various rodeos through out Wisconsin as a young girl. Besides taking care of her horse "Ruggy" here she also takes care of 4 large aquariums in our home that are full of a large variety of fish and one with turtles. She also feeds and waters over 100 chickens, turkeys and over 20 rabbits here with the help of her brother Travis and sister Alea besides working a part time job at the Twin Cities Vet Clinic in the evenings. Then there are the various other things like the chinchillas and hamsters and hedgehogs she has also raised. She also teaches Sunday school and is involved with the Youth Group at the Star of the North Lutheran Church in Kenai.
Kim just got her Drivers license on April 7th, which will greatly help her getting to and from the many of the activities that she is involved in. I know that it would not be possible to do the many things we do here as a family especially in the charity programs we are involved in without her help. Last summer we raised and butchered 180 heavy chickens, which Kim was a very important part of. Many of these birds were donated to needy people as well as the 48 road killed moose we have processed here in the past 6 years. Kim is one of those unique people we run across in our lives and even though she is my daughter she can be on my team any time she wants! See you next Week!
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