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A Spectacular Vacation

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Jim Ellison walked into the cabin, shaking off a few flakes of snow from the storm that was just starting. Not totally unexpected, since it was mid-December. He looked toward the fireplace, the warmest spot in the place, where he expected to find the love of his life. He was not disappointed.

Blair Sandburg looked up from where he was lounging on a sofa he had moved closer to the fire. He was sipping hot mulled wine and looking a little ruddy, both from the heat and the drink. "Well, did you have any luck?" he asked.

Jim grinned the grin of the victorious and showed Blair the contents of a bucket: one impressive fish. "Just what we came here for, babe. This is an authentic Arctic char."

"Okay, I'll bite. What's an Arctic char?"

"Well, they're related to salmon and trout. They can live their whole lives in fresh water like trout, or can go from fresh water to the ocean like salmon. And they don't die when they spawn, so some of them can get quite large, because they grow over several years."

He's so cute when he's excited, Blair thought. "Do tell," Blair encouraged with a smile.

"Arctic char are found in the most northern lakes in the world. Like in Iceland and Siberia and the northern islands of Canada."

"But we don't have to actually travel to the Arctic to find them? For which I'm very grateful, by the way."

"Nope. The Canadian fishery department started a project a few years ago to populate them in lakes all over the country."

Blair looked at Jim and grinned. His normally taciturn partner had unexpectedly become a bubbling font of knowledge. "Wow. Good for Canada. But Jim, why didn't we just fish for salmon or trout? We could have found them a whole lot closer to Cascade than Williston Lake in the hinterlands of British Columbia."

Jim looked at him incredulously. "You're kidding. Isn't this place gorgeous? Have you ever seen water so clear or smelled air so clean? The views from the hiking trails are incredible. Isn't that all true?" Jim looked a little crestfallen.

Blair got up to make amends--and a new batch of drinks--stopping to give Jim a lingering kiss. "Babe, you're absolutely right. This place is unbelievably beautiful. We owe your Army buddy a good bottle of Scotch for telling us about it. You look like you've shed five years of stress, and I feel like I have. The hike this morning was amazing. I'm looking forward to the rest of the week.

"So how about we have some more wine to warm us up, then start dinner. I have a recipe that will do justice to that beauty. Then, tomorrow, you can take me out on the lake and show me your favorite fishing spot. Maybe we can even catch another one. Whaddaya say?"

Jim took a drink from Blair's mug, then shared another long kiss. "I say get that pan ready while I go clean this baby."

Arctic char