campfire tales Nanook's Campfire Tales
The Cabin Smashers

So here were Biff and I again, on the Miramichi in May. Usually, mid-May is warm and inviting on the Miramichi. But this time, we had to watch our step, or slip on the icy ground as we lowered our canoes down into the water at Half-Moon, near Deersdale.

mirslide (39K)
Miramichi boat launch slide

The trip itself down to McKiel Brook was uneventful ... the wind was fierce and cold, and there was nowhere to hide, even in the thickets on shore. It blew against us as we went over the ledge at Big Louie, so we felt we were nearly standing still. It finally abated as we pulled into McKiel Brook in the late afternoon and pitched our tents beside the camps.

Moose Call Bend

As darkness fell, we were relaxing by the fire when we heard voices carrying down the stream. Over the next two hours, the canoes drifted in from the pitch black night, six in all, right up to 10:30 p.m. It appears they got a late start, putting in at Deersdale at 7:30, just before sunset, and came down the 20 km or so in total darkness --- not my idea of a pleasant, safe excursion on this rocky stream.

We took shelter from the rain at the old cabin.
We didn't abuse the privilege.

They took turns joking about it around the fire. Soon they got their hatchets out, and smashed the padlocks on the cabin doors to gain entry. They explained they were sent by the owners to check on things and clean them up for the season, whatever, we didn't press them for details.

It was weird and creepy to sit there and watch them destroy the locks on the cabin doors. I suspect they had not even spoken to the owners of the cabin, just went ahead and smashed their way in. There were maybe ten or so of them, so we two weren't going to make a difference anyway. Stay out of it and stay safe!

Slate Island. Cozy campsite!

We met them several times over the weekend, as flotillas of seven to ten boats at a time leap-frogged us on our way down the river. Ah, I said to myself yet again, I have to find my own small stream somewhere else if I want peace and quiet. Despite the beauty and the legends surrounding the Main Southwest Miramichi, perhaps it's not the river for me.

Biff wants me to mention there are no bugs when you paddle in the cold and wet --- that's important for a bug magnet like him. Oh yeah, and the pair of Canada geese that kept us company almost all one day, that was cool. And the moose on the shuttle into Half-Moon.

Paddlin' Hal visits Falls Brook

campfire (12K)     I'm never too old to learn a lesson. Here are a few I learned on the Keswick in mid-April.
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