|Nanook's Campfire Tales|
| The Moose in the Meadows
Oh, oh another memory.
"Ah Hell Moose all over the place up there. Ain't gone up the brook once that I didn't see two or three."
Wes related this to Everette and me at our campfire, at our favourite camp site, the mouth of Lake Brook on the Main Miramichi. "Geez, one time a big ole lug of a bull was standin on shore, head down eatin, never noticed me and Skinny commin up to him. I says ta Skinny, "slide the boat right up to his hinder, easy," just then, I reached me paddle out and whacked him right in the ass! It scared the begeez outta him so bad he ran right into next week!" A few more stories, the fire dying, our fatigue claimed our bodies and we hit the sack. Within seconds Everette's breathing progressed to the snoring stage, while I lie awake thinking of Lake Brook and the Moose.
A bright, hot sunny morning greeted us. Wes and Skinny had moved down the River. We could hear their yells going over Big Louie. Everette and I had the pool to ourselves. We fished, ate, watched birds, I wrote in my diary and we complained of the heat. I was not interested in the evening fish as it was far too humid, but my partner struggled into his waders and proceeded to his hot spot. I sat watching and thinking of the moose up Lake Brook. A short time later, I poled the canoe to Everette begging, "It's too hot to fish. Let's go up the Brook!
"Ah Sue, I don't want the trouble of poling in this heat up there, besides, you didn't believe those stories, did you?" "Well, I don't care about the moose. It'll be cool up there. We can bathe. I want to see the meadows and the birds. Might see an eagle! Cummon!" Being ignored, I turned the canoe and quietly poled away.
"HEH EV! IF I DON'T COME BACK BEFORE DARK COME LOOKING FOR ME OK??" I shouted as I entered the small brook and bushes. My body was stinging from the extra fly poison I poured on, just in case. The brook, very narrow, had overhanging alders and right angle turns, making the pole up harder than ranking a cord of wood in a skidoo suit.
I pushed on for the adventure. A couple of times my canoe steered itself into rocks that wouldn't let go. I had to step into the water, making sure of good footing. I didn't want a sprained ankle and die up there.
After some time, I could see a clearing. It looked like the meadows. I could see more birds and the brook was gradually getting wider. I pressed on, excited now, then I thought about the MOOSE! Holy cow! I'm alone up here. Ev is far out of ear shot should I encounter a murderous MOOSE! What if? What if? What if? I convinced myself a moose, possibly several were looking at me RIGHT NOW! I poled for my life down the brook, over the rocks, through the bushes to the security of the known, Everette and our camp site, our food, my other sneakers, my pillow and my spot.
"HOW'D YA MAKE OUT BABE?" Ev was still holding the pool. I drifted to him and announced, "Heh, ever neat up there. Easy going, cool, beautiful. I came back for you. Wanna go now?" Unwillingly he came aboard and once again I was heading up the brook, only in the front and sitting, this time. "Geez Sue, this is narrow, and the rocks!" He had to get out several times. I thought I was the better poler, but kept quiet and enjoyed the ride. "Easy going? I shoulda known. Cripes! A fella can't even stand up for the alders. How much further?"
We reached the meadows, the brook changed its personality. We were in awe. We could have been in Lousiana or a delta swampland. I expected to see crockadiles at any minute. A Great Blue Heron guided us. The brook, now wider, no rocks twisted leisurely. Around every turn, Iris, Blue Flags, Arrowheads and Violets populated the lush green banks. Song Sparrows, White Throated Sparrows, Kingfishers and their friends sang of our arrival to their paradise.
"Sue, we better turn around, dusk is approaching and I don't want to maneuver through those alders, and rocks in the dark." "No," I whine. "I want to go to the Lake. I know it must be just a short distance now. You can motor here, no rocks. Start your motor. We'll get there faster. I wanna. I wanna go."
Motor humming, we proceeded swinging around turn after turn. The brook began changing again and more alders. A very narrow water way, we followed. The little 3 1/2 horsepower motor gave us quite a speed when we boated around a sharp turn and encountered THE MOOSE! The moose was standing in the middle of the brook, his head under water, oblivious to our approach. My feet should have broke through the boat when I put my brakes on.
"STOP EVERETTE GEEPERS!" He had the motor shut off, but we, with great speed, continued heading for the moose. I pictured us running up his bent neck and over his back before this was over. There was no place to go. This moose filled the brook. We yelled, "MOOSE!!!" This massive critter, in slow motion, raised his two hundred pound head. Vegetation hung from his mouth and humungous antlers. His nostrails looked like plungers. Drips of water fell from his huge black lips. I was still breaking with my feet and Everette was paddleing backwards with his hands. We now coasted forward with less speed.
The moose looked at us and I cannot remember seeing him leave. It was magical. I only remember loud crashing through the alders. Ev says, "There, ya seen enough now? I don't know about you, but this boat's turning around." The return trip could have been heard as far as Napadogan, I'm sure, for I sang and shouted before every turn. This was the beginning of my carrying a pole whether I'm the driver or not. I might have to bat a moose in the arse sometime.
Okay, Sue, that was good, but I still want to hear about the time you almost partied with the Maple Grove gang up by Little Louie on the Miramichi.
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