SOMETIMES YOU JUST have to get out of Dodge. Last weekend was one of those times for my lovely wife and me.

We fled north- and westward to familiar country. In the winter, we see a piece of this country where many thousands of skiers gather to celebrate and challenge the world-class cross-country race known as the Birkebeiner. In trips during warmer times, we camp at favorite small lakes where uncrowded national forest campgrounds are found.

I fish. My wife reads books, knits, talks to anyone and everyone she meets, and survives dozens of marauding bears only because our two loyal guard dogs are constantly at her side. She also walks forest trails with me as we explore parts of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest around the little towns of Cable, Drummond, Delta, Barnes and others.

Our camping destination was a little different this time around. Instead of our favorite national forest campground, which is still closed, we found a place at the Drummond town campground. It’s a pleasant park with 16 sites.

Aside from sleeping and eating, I didn’t spend a lot of time in the campground. I fished and explored. Thwarted by washed-out road closures in attempting to access some of my favorite trout springs and streams, I first fished a small lake where bluegills are numerous and large. I kept seven, which represented one tasty meal to come.

It was a lake where out on the water was the only place to be. On shore it was a mosquito factory. Hordes of them swarmed outside the driver’s side window as I pulled to a stop. Squadrons hovered there, waiting for the fresh meat inside to emerge. With a liberal dose of 40% Deet applied before I ever opened the door, I survived just long enough to launch where a stiff breeze blowing across the lake kept the hordes away.

I fished other places as well. I visited the special places on the Brule River which were treasured by Gordon MacQuarrie and featured by him in his world-class stories of trout fishing with Hizzoner, the honorable president of Old Duck Hunters Association Inc. (ODHA)

For the first time, I found my way to McNeil’s Landing, a stretch of the river where MacQuarrie and Hizzoner began many an expedition for the rainbows, brooks and browns which lured them there time after time in the 1920s and ’30s.

I put a toe in the water at Stone’s Bridge, the launch point for many of their canoe fishing expeditions. I did the same at Winneboujou Bridge and upstream from the ranger station farther down the fabled river.

I didn’t fish there, but I showed my wife a lovely stretch of the Namekagon River below Cable where MacQuarrie and Mr. President also fished; a stretch where I have landed some beautiful trout, mostly browns, over the years.

I also was given orders to take my bride to the start area of the Birkie a couple miles outside Cable, the place where I launched my attempt last February to conquer the hill-strewn course for the 20th time. I succeeded that day, but just barely.

The absolute highlight was a trip to the Barnes Area Historical Association’s museum in Barnes. As a member of the ODHA circle at the museum, I was lucky enough to be given a guided tour by historical association officers Steve Lynch and Larry Bergman.

As a hopeless and shameless MacQuarrie aficionado, I found myself simply drinking in the history of Wisconsin’s most famous outdoor writer of all time, who is without question my favorite writer of any kind of all time.

Born and raised in Superior, MacQuarrie spent a lifetime of fishing, hunting and exploring the northwest piece of country from Superior to Ashland, Gordon to Barnes to Brule and many other small towns which I have grown to enjoy immensely over the years.

When it comes to MacQuarrie history, Lynch and Bergman probably know every inch of it, and they were happy to share that history with me.

Our stories flew during a nearly two-hour get-together. Of course, my lovely wife, with her ever-present camera in hand, had to take my picture with MacQuarrie’s circa 1920s duck boat and the ancient typewriter with which he reeled off so many of his ODHA stories.

The Brule-Barnes-etc. area was the love of MacQuarrie’s life and his writing is one of my loves. Time permitting in August, I will join Lynch, Bergman and other “MacQuarrie-ites” for their MacQuarrie Pilgrimage and Canoe Trip Weekend where fans of MacQuarrie like myself get the chance to visit his old cedar log cabin on Middle Eau Claire Lake and with descendants of the families who still own the cabins nestled next to MacQuarrie’s on the shores of that lake.

My thanks to Lynch and Bergman for giving of their time to help make our short trip out of Dodge a memorable and enjoyable one.

We’ll be back.