campfire tales Nanook's Campfire Tales
If it don't need disturbin', leave it alone!

This is a cautionary yarn I feel must be told. If you are offended by bodily functions, you may be disgusted by the contents of this true campfire tale.

It was the third weekend in May, when everybody who has a canoe seems to be on the water. It's the first three-day weekend in New Brunswick after Easter, and hordes were gathering on the Miramichi at Half-Moon for a three-day run.

Nashwaak River
A summertime shot near the mouth of the Nashwaak.

Except us, of course, my brother Paul, his friend Joel and I. We were running the Nashwaak, a smaller stream with some runnable stretches and some unrunnable drops in its upper reaches.

We put in at Gorby Gulch, past the alder meadows which twist into a formidable alder maze, and it was cold and drizzly out. A nor-easter blew fierce winds upriver that morning, with waves of precipitation blowing fine frozen droplets into our faces. It wasn't long before we sought the comfort of a cozy landing site just below where the western branch joined the main stream, actually a brook too small to navigate in a canoe.

So there we were, standing on a level area above the stream. It was plain to see that it was frequented by the all-terrain vehicle and muscle truck contingent. All sorts of detritus flecked the alder bushes around the perimeter.

So we were bravely sharing a brew, doing our best to pretend that it was not drizzling, that a fair breeze was blowing, and that we were bathed in warm sunlight. Actually, it was cold and clammy, and we stood shivering by the water's edge.

Nashwaak River
Fall foliage on the Nashwaak

As we chatted, I noticed a tin can sitting upright near my foot. I gave it an absent-minded nudge, and instantly regretted my action. The can was filled with human fecal matter to the rim, whipped into an evil brew by the rains of the days before. It spilled its foul stench onto the ground by our feet.

Needless to say, we were not long vacating our refreshment stop. It took a while before we could rid ourselves of the stink. And we exercised caution from then on.

Moral: Watch what you touch out there, if it don't need disturbin', leave it alone.

campfire tales    What are friends for? My faceplant on the White River.
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