For some reason or other, my paddling buddies have started calling me Rootboy. Perhaps I deserve it. It seems every time I want something ... an article of dry clothing, a handsaw to cut a fire log, or a trowel to dig a hole ... it always seems to be at the bottom of one of my packs. Everything else has to come out first, it seems.

rooter-web (53K)
I thought my rooting days were over when I bought this vest, but it just made my rooting problem worse. Photo by Hal.

That's not the only problem. Sometimes I have to root through two or three packs before I arrive at the right one. Then I have to put everything back where it was before I began my frantic search. Accompanied, of course, by the snickering of my buddies sitting cozy in their camp chairs swilling their cold drinks.

I thought I had the problem solved when I bought my fisherman's vest at Canadian Tire. It has little zipper or velcro pockets all over the front, for essentials such as lighters, treats, bug dope, little flashlights, etc, and places for securing keys, money and other stuff I might need at trip's end. Then it has even more hiding places on the inside and back.

But when Scooter and Hal and I paddled downriver to the salt water at the end of the Nepisiguit River where my car awaited, it took me several minutes to find the little pouch where I had tucked away my car key. I could even feel it through the fabric of my vest, in an inner pocket around the back, but it took several guesses to discover which zipper it was eventually behind. They haven't let me forget this, either.

Miramichi River
Packing for two men on a three-day trip involves serious rooting.
Set to go at Half-Moon pit, Miramichi.

Biff and I have often talked about this. How nice it would be just to know exactly where everything is in the boat, just point a finger and there it is. Reach out and touch it, even. Then we laugh knowingly.

Then again, these same jokers who scoff at my rooting know that sooner or later, I'll find whatever it is. Who knows, maybe it'll brighten up not only my existence, but theirs too. Don't laugh too hard and long at me, or I just might not share it with you. So there.

The Joys of Scouting


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