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Some of us only learn the hard way....
Old 07-26-2019, 06:43 AM   #1
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Some of us only learn the hard way....

There were a few lakes within biking distance but this one was the biggest and had the reputation for large mouth bass, possible a big one. My brother and would get up early and ride to the the first of the lakes fishable spots. By this time I actually had a inexpensive spinning reel loaded with 4lb test monofilament. I remember we would cast those jitterbugs what seemed like a country mile and my line would seem to float and finally settle on the lake. A slow and stead retrieve was the ticket. If you were lucky you would see something like a Mini version Captain Nemo’s Nautilus on a surface ramming run screaming at your bug. What joy for a 14 year old guy. Each spot was only good for a few cast then the Bass became wary.

This memorable day I had just gotten to the spot that required you walk out on to a log. This log wasn’t particularly wide and you needed you wits about you. Fortunately the water only appeared about a foot deep. Well I slipped, I quickly learned that yes the water was only about a foot deep but beneath it was several feet of a quick sand like substance. Try as I might It had me and I couldn’t get out and it was pulling me down. My brother was laughing hysterically until finally he realized my situation was getting worse and with much effort he yanked out. The quicksand gave me up with a mighty slurping sound. I understandably respect oh alright in truth fear the mud ever since. I slept well that night I can tell you having a near death experience will do that too you.

A few weeks ago cool hand (DS) wanted to go fishing well although the nearest stream is complete with a covered bridge and pretty as a picture, I find it too crowded. Locals are either canoeing, Kayaking or swimming. Anyway it is close so I gave in. Oddly the stream doesn’t have too many ‘fishable spots’. The river is old, full of snags and the MUD lined banks are a few feet above the water. Cool hand got a little too close and with much, less than graceful’ flailing of his arms he slipped into the mudbank. He was able to climb out but was a muddy mess. I made him take everything off and put it into a plastic bad I had in my car and drove home. My ‘ribbing’ of him was merciless I made sure and tell the wife of his exploits.

Yesterday was a repeat visit except we arrived at 7:30 PM. Yes there were still a few people around, some actually swimming. So we gave them a wide berth we arrived at an opening to see a footprint in the mud but this foot print was a good 6 inches deep. I stared at that foot print thought “death trap” and told Cool Hand don’t go near there. “It looks old” and he didn’t listen.I think the victims arm flailing really adds to the effect. At least this time he didn’t have a pair good sneakers on. I

Brother you are gone for some time - I hope you shared the good belly laugh I had on the way home.

Are you also determined to learn the hard way?

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Old 07-26-2019, 10:18 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
I slept well that night I can tell you having a near death experience will do that to you.
Circa 1970... Upstate New York in the heart of the Adirondaks... With my 8 year old son Scott, in our plastic canoe. He was well trained since age 6, and we had "done" parts of the Chain of Lakes over many weekends... (later on, all the way from Old Forge to Tupper Lake (see map)... about an 85 mile canoe trip.) Anyway, though I can't remember the actual location, I/we decided to take a side trip on a slow flowing stream, that looked on the map, like we could reconnect to the main river. It was late in the afternoon, and we had plans to stay overnight in one of the Adirondak shelters...

It started off well, me in the stern, and he, riding high in the bow. A slow moving current that gave us a rest... for a while. All of a sudden... faster, and faster... whitewater... rocks, narrowing banks... and absolutely no place to go ashore... and it wasn't straight, but required a lot of paddle, bow and stern, with bow of boat up in the air, most of the time... We were literally "flying"... a quick turn to starboard, and a huge rock. Unbelievable. there on the rock, were two guys... sitting and holding on to... a half of an aluminum canoe. the other half nowhere in sight. As we passed by them at maybe 20+ MPH, a loud "What in the hell are you guys doing here!!!!."

A half mile further on, the stream slowed a bit, and we pulled off and found a wet, flat spot where there was almost enough room to pitch our tent. By the time we were set up, it was getting dark, so we got into the "pup" style tent.
He was hungry, and there wasn't enough room outside to build a fire, so I used our canned heat "Sterno" stove to cook the two hamburgers we had brought. INSIDE the TENT... something you NEVER do. Then curled up in our sleeping bags to go to sleep. Wet and miserable.

Couldn't get worse? Wait... dark... and quiet, until some crashing of brush outside the tent. Louder and louder... No human being for miles... It had to be a bear. Heart beating fast... "Dad... what are we going to do:?"

Out with my hunting knife... lying there until dawn... wide awake. Ready to defend my son!.... Up at 5AM sunrise, and on the rest of the way back to the car.

Some things, we don't forget.

I would never go back there. It was the "old days"... when there might have been a dozen or more people canoeing on the whole stretch of the river. Now, it's a lot like Venice Italy... with too many people (tourists). The Old Forge to Saranac or Tupper Lake canoe route attracts hundreds, maybe thousands...
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Old 07-26-2019, 11:02 AM   #3
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As an avid camper since youth and Eagle Scout, today is the "good ole days" for our camping. We keep a fifth wheel RV in the Blue Ridge Mountains with air conditioning, two televisions hooked up to cable tv and a good strong WIFI signal.

But we do watch out closely nights as two momma bears and their cubs are often coming through our campsite. We once had a Coleman electric cooler, and a bear swatted it with a huge paw. She just wanted the bacon and butter in it.

Now when we hear strange noises outside the camper, we just ignore it until morning.

Close by, we have the Nantahala River and Ocoee River for incredible whitewater rafting. And if we get serious about rapids, the Chattooga River is a short distance away. It's almost like you can hear those "Dualing Banjos" through the woods.
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