campfire tales Nanook's Campfire Tales
The Runaway Canoe Trailer

Every time I travel north on Highway 8 along the Nashwaak River, I try to pick out the spot where, years earlier, we lost a trailer after a successful three days on the Bartholomew.

Bartholomew River
Bushwhacking, Bartholomew River

Ray Swazey was driving, when we heard tremendous thrashing and banging behind the car. He instinctively slowed down, and when we looked around to see what was happening, the trailer, with two canoes on top, pulled out to pass us.

Mouth of the Nashwaak River

It was moving along beside the car when its front hit violently. We watched in amazement as the jolt moved George Yeaman's Coleman canoe (borrowed by Bill and me). It jumped forward and was pushed along sideways in front of the trailer, still in the front lane.

We continued to slow down, giving the effect of the trailer and canoes accelerating past us. We held our breaths, sure that this would end in a terrible accident, possibly with us or someone coming at the trailer in that lane dying. Amazingly, just when things looked their worst, the trailer bounced to the left, across the ditch, and came to rest by a pond, with the Coleman gently drifting across it.

Nashwaak River
Pastureland, Nashwaak River

As we began breathing again, a car sped out of nowhere to stop between the trailer and us. Out jumped two uniformed men, who raced to the trailer. After they tore through the wreckage and flipped cooler tops, we realized that they were not there to check on our welfare or to help us, but were wardens, intent only on ensuring that we were not abusing more trout than we were allowed.

Nashwaak River
Sunset on the Nashwaak

We were still wide-eyed and speechless when they jumped back in their car and sped away, without a word to us. Although it appeared like a scene in a Steve Martin movie, we could not have made this up!

campfire tales      I still lick my lips when I remember our Cains River chili.
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