campfire tales Nanook's Campfire Tales
Stuck on the Piskahegan Road

Back in the day, paddlers were on our own when we went into the woods. Maps were old and useless, and there were no cellphones. Roads were rutted and swampy. And we usually didn't tell anyone where we were going, maybe because we weren't sure yet ourselves.

That was the way it was on the Piskehegan, when Biff and I were being shuttled in up the road from the lower dam. We were driving an old Scout, and the ditches beside, and over, the last road to the put-in were full of cold, muddy water. The early May thaw was just coming out of the woods roads, and several times we had to grit our teeth as we forded yet another overflow from a beaver pond. How deep is this one gonna be?

Piskahegan Road
Paul, Bill and I on the Piskahegan road.

Finally, our front tires sunk into a hole up to the fender in the soft mud. All attempts to extract the heavy utility truck were futile. We were five miles of muddy road away from the last folks we had seen, several gentlemen who were gathered by the roadside leaning on their muscle trucks.

The meadows of the Piskahegan are long and quiet. This is Mitchell.

As we stood conniving how we could cajole one or the other of our gang to trek back to the crossroads and solicit assistance (beg for help, really), from these weekend warriors, didn't one truck pull up beside us. The driver leaned out his window and talked to us.

The rapids are long and steep. Mitchell, below Ducks Unlimited Dam, Piskahegan

'In a bit of a spot, are we boys?'

Well, we could have come back with a snappy retort, but thought better of it.

'I kinda thought you fellers wouldn't make it too far down this road.'

He proceeded to tie a hook to the back bumper of Biff's truck, and hauled it out with his front-mounted winch, barely breaking a rev. It appears he genuinely did suspect we would come to grief, and drove in to help us out from the goodness of his heart. He would accept no reward over and above our thanks, not even a token refreshment from our ice chest.

Surfing a ledge in the Dowdall Rips

As we thanked him sincerely, he had a few well-chosen words of caution -- and wisdom -- for us.

'Don't get stuck again boys, cause I won't be coming back.'

We followed his advice, followed him back to higher ground, and chose another river with a more reliable access. Thank goodness for the good ole boys.

campfire tales    We might still be wandering the wilderness if not for the good ole boys from Tay Creek.

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