campfire tales Nanook's Campfire Tales
Romance on the Riverbank

Several visitors to my humble website have remarked that there are no stories involving bikini-clad women, or romantic encounters on the shore. I tell them I'm sorry, but I can't indulge their erotic fantasies. I have enough to do trying to live my own, thank you very much.

Polynesian canoeists
Somewhere in the world, beautiful girls carry a canoe.

I've heard several tales spun around the campfire of romantic trysts on the riverbank. These yarns are usually told in the third person, involving folks who were not even there. The details are too sketchy, or improbable, to believe them, in any case.

I remember the closest I ever came to having an adventure of this sort on a canoe trip. It happened not too far from home, on the Nashwaak River.

Scofflaw and I were cruising downstream from Taymouth one fine summer's day, flicking our salmon flies at the usual imaginary fish, gliding from pool to pool. No luck, I'm not a fisherman, but that's beside the point.

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The hulks of trees uprooted by the Nashwaak come to rest in the slower waters of the estuary.

So we rounded yet another bend, and came upon a gravel beach. Several boats were pulled up on shore, and seven or eight women of various ages and stages were engaged in animated conversation. Heck, they were hootin' 'n' hollerin', cursing and belly laughing. They all held bottles or cans in their hands, and several ladies were lifting them to their lips as we drew near.

The moment they saw us out on the water, they ran down to the shoreline, and invited us to come ashore. I'm not sure "invited" is the right word ... "dared," "challenged," or something in between might be closer.

On a whim, I turned our boat toward the shore, with a grin on my face. But Scofflaw, in the bowseat, spoke up in a sharp voice tinged with panic, "Are you crazy? They'll tear us to pieces! Get us out of here!"

At the last moment, I saw into his reasoning, and turned the bow of our canoe back into midstream and pulled away. Several pairs of grasping hands reached for our gunwales, but fell short by a few tantalizing inches. We were safe.

I often wonder what would have happened if we had gone ashore. I might not be here now to tell you this tale ... but I might have gone "down the river" with a smile on my face too.

Who knows?

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