Northern Stories
Please listen to the animals -
by Murray Monk

The following is a true story.

Caught up in the hectic life of the G.T.A. and southern Ontario in general at the age of thirty-four, I was contemplating a change.

I was born and raised on a farm just north of Hanover, which I left to work for the T. Eaton Co., and then went on to ten years in the restaurant business. I knew life was too short to waste in the rat race.

Sitting in my restaurant one Sunday morning reading the Toronto Sun is where this story begins. A big, full colour page story in the Outdoor section read that the Nipigon River was the home of the world’s largest speckled trout, and every year the Molson award winner seemed to come from this river. Being an avid fisherman I had to go and investigate. Packing my bags off I went, and found a home, found a job and the rest is history. When not in the bush, my home is still along Highway 11/17, R.R. #1, Nipigon. All this, thanks to a trout.

The fishing was even better than the Sun paper had depicted. Every lake, river and stream had fish, fish and more fish with to my surprise, few to no anglers. It remains that way to this day. The locals call it busy, but they have not seen busy like the Owen Sound Harbour, Lake Simcoe or the Saugeen River.

Hunting soon out shone the fishing, with moose, bear and deer to track. The first fall, pursuit of a large bull moose lead me to moose heaven just north of what is now my main trap cabin, where I spend most of the year. It was originally owned by an old trapper named Joe. He took a liking to me, and my two tag-along sons, Nate and Luke. I became a helper with Joe, and his wife on the trap line. After gaining the necessary points I bought the line and the rest is history again. All this thanks to a moose.

Four years ago Becky came from her farm just southeast of Lindsay, and trapping in southern Ontario, to be my 02 helper, and my wife. She is an excellent helper I must say. Quit is a word not in her vocabulary. With a love for the stars, her array of telescopes perched atop the Canadian Shield outside our cabin door, allow us to explore the wonders of the universe with no light pollution. Her knowledge of the rocks and minerals below us, and her prospector’s license leads us into the next part of this story.

Last year while trapping beaver we were lured by foot over some god forsaken territory to its house, and on the way came across a large bare outcrop of rock with mineral rich veins, larger than any leading to ones heart. These rich quartz veins held showings of gold, silver and copper. It remains our greatest find to date. All this, thanks to the beaver.

To top the continuing saga up, this spring, again pursuing beaver, took us to yet another part of the wilderness, where we literally walked over an artesian well, water springing from yet another rock outcrop. Becky, in checking the prospector’s archives, found it was a failed drill. Other prospectors in pursuit of gold, forty-seven years ago had abandoned the bore at 499 feet when they hit the water vein. Now that magical, mystical hole in the rock has been running water in excess of a gallon a minute for all those years.

One day this spring just past a beaver took us in there and the well has been giving us the coldest, best spring water for our daily use ever since.

Now in summing up, remember the role, over the past twenty-three years the love and respect for fish wild life have played. The speckled trout brought me to Nipigon, the bull moose took me to the trapline, and a beaver led us to our best mineral find, and yet another beaver led us to the well.

Along with the large gardens we plant, the abundance of fish and wildlife feed and clothe us and we have to ask, “How much better can it get?”

This great land is truly heaven on earth.

With respect for nature,

- Murray Monk, as written for the Friends of Fur web site