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 with Rob Miskosky

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

When I first laid eyes upon her, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. She wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, quite the contrary. But there was something about her that seemed to fit, and that was exactly what I wanted. She didn’t need to be a thing of beauty, because everything around her was perfect. And so, we became a team. I would provide her with the attention she needed and in return, she would provide me with the comfort and safety I needed. For 10 years, our relationship stood fast, never wavering. No, I’m not talking about my wife; I’m talking about my trapline with “her” being my cabin.

The cabin on the author's old trapline.

Professional trapping is a tough job. It is physically and mentally demanding, full of highs and lows, and often wounds or injury. Those who dream of spending their time alone in the wilderness trapping often don’t understand just how rigourous and potentially dangerous the job really is. Even with today’s modern tools and the use of quads and snowmobiles, trapping demands you pay attention. If you don’t, you are at risk of serious injury, or possibly, even death.

There are many hazards when you are alone in sub-zero temperatures making many hard trail miles in the middle of a forest, and sometimes in darkness. Plenty can go wrong, so you need to be prepared for all instances. I carry a fully equipped backpack with all the essential items required should the need arise to spend a night alone in the bush, regardless of temperature.

When running my full line, at its farthest point, I was as far away as 20 miles from the warmth and safety of my cabin. She (the cabin) is the basis for all things considered on a trapline. She’s also the starting and ending point of a trapline. Just as you make your way to work each day from your home, your end goal is to return to your home at night. This holds true for the trapper, and a cabin is that home, the lifeblood of a trapper alone in the forest. I can’t stress the importance of a trapper’s cabin enough.

So, when I considered the option of selling my trapline to purchase another one closer to home, it was with a heavy heart. In fact, I came very close to backing out of the deal I had in place. The memories of 10 years trapping the same area are hard to forget and those memories will linger with me for the rest of my life. I know that particular 48-square mile parcel of land far better than anybody else does, and I have far more respect for Mother Nature and her wild side now than I did when I first started trapping those foothills 10 years ago. But as they say, time marches on, and as time marches on, so too does our need for change and new challenges.

My new trapline is completely different from my previous one. There are no mountainous areas on this new trapline but there is a lot more muskeg, lakes and rivers to deal with, so the challenges will be plenty and my abilities will be put to the test. Exactly what I’m after.

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