campfire tales Nanook's Campfire Tales
Rescued on the Machias

The Good Ole Boys have always been there for me.

Many times over the years since I first took up the paddle, complete strangers have helped me and my buddies out of a tight spot deep in the woods. They appear magically out of thin air it seems, just when we need them most.

And once they save the day for us, they disappear back into the mist whence they came, existing only in my fond memories and undying gratitude.

There was the forest ranger who picked me up on the woods road by the Machias River in Maine. I needed to hike on foot back to our vehicle twenty miles away because the river had run dry and our supplies ran out.

He went out of his way, knowing he'd never see me again, yet showing me every kindness he could in my hour of need. He even drove five miles down a secondary road, depositing me two steps away from our vehicle.

Machias River
Low water on the Machias River, Maine

I could go on to cite many more examples how the good ole boys came to our rescue, but just one more to prove my point.

Grand Falls of the Nepisiguit
There is no easy portage around the Grand Falls of the Nepisiguit.

We had come to the dam at Grand Falls on the Nepisiguit River. We were looking forward to lowering our boats and gear, and ourselves, down a cliff face into the gorge just below the dam's millrace. After all, we had performed this stunt with ease a few years back.

Imagine our dismay when we found our access to the cliff completely walled and fenced off by NB Power. Seems their lawyers had warned them about liability, and even a whiff of a possible lawsuit for injury is enough to scare the mightiest corporate beast.

We were faced with a multi-kilometer trudge with our boats and gear down a muddy track, when the pickup truck pulled up alongside. This time, the good ole boys invited us to load the bed of their truck with all our gear, and lash the canoes, all four, over their cab.

goodoleboys-nep (229K)
These good ole boys trucked our boats and gear
around the Nepisiguit gorge for a smile.

We were spared at least half a day of back-breaking toil --- after all, we were a little older, maybe even gittin' on --- and it didn't take more than a nano-second to accept their kind offer.

They dropped us off at a spot where we could bushwhack down to the gorge, and we parted with a handshake and thanks. They wouldn't even accept a beer in return for their help. We hoisted a beverage in their honor around the campfire later that night.

These examples are only a sampling of the many instances where the Good Ole Boys have come through for me. I only hope that some day I can return the favor and pay it forward. It's the least I can do.

campfire tales    This is what may happen if you don't sweep out your boat.
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