campfire tales Nanook's Campfire Tales
River rats on the Miramichi
 by Sue

All names and places are fictitious to avoid getting rocks thrown at our canoe. Ha Ha!

The Burns boys headed for the river, their yearly canoe/fishing trip on the World Famous Miramichi River. Launching their canoe at Half Moon, they popped open a can of Moosehead then floated past Nan's Rock, the Louies and the Narrows. They were on the river, their river. They camped, fished and relieved themselves where they desired. They were home.

Pic by Biff
This lodge awaits the salmon fisher "sports."

The second day Gerald, and his brother Neill drifted and poled into leased waters and miles of not welcome signs. The boys camped in this area down wind from a very private lodge. The lodge had been there for years. Royals, politicians and the very elite of the world slept there one time or another.

Million dollar deals went down while sipping aged old brandy by the fireplace in the great room filled with Cuban cigar smoke. No matter how many or few guests were at the lodge, on hand were a private cook, guides and caretakers living in their quarters. Their job was, to be available, cater to the slightest comforts, and listen to worldly debates accompanied by humungous braggins about thousand dollar fishing rods and Russian fishing trips.

Riverside cabin
Riverside retreat beside a New Brunswick river.

"Tent's staked Neill! Grab me a Moosehead." Dusk approaching, Neill and Gerald poked their fire and kicked back a brew. Before they finished their first of many, they saw the guide from the Lodge poling toward them. They knew it was the guide for he poled with a perfectly hand-sanded slim spruce in a very distinctive green canoe and wore a freshly pressed light brown shirt with shoulder straps. His green wrinkle-free work pants had the look of newness. He was cleanly shaven.

"Boys you're in leased waters here, you'll have to move", the tall middle-aged employed-for-the-season guide said. Gerald tilted his head to extract the last drop from his can of beer then replied, "No we ain't! We're on land pal."

A quiet corner on the Miramichi

The softly spoken guide cantered, "Sorry, but this land is leased as well, you'll have to move on down river boys."

Following a very manly burp, Neill said, "Well we're here fer the night fella. We'll be gone first daylight."

"I don't want to have to radio the R.C.M.P. boys. Now let's get packing. Take the easy road out of here guys, please. I don't want any trouble." The guide returned to his canoe.

"We'll be here when ya git back friend!", countered Neill.

Two guffers shelter from the rain on the porch of a riverside lodge.

Less than a half hour, the guide returned to the squattered camp site. The bow of the canoe boasted a large framed, dressed in golf-like clothing, man with a rehearsed smily face. "Hi neighbours! How ya doing? Nice evening. Len tells me you refuse to vacate my property. What's the problem?"

"Sir, we don't want any trouble here. We're tired and have our camp set for the night. We'll move first thing in the marnin." Neill replied, then reached his long lanky arm into the cooler, retrieved more Moosehead and offered it around.

Mr Leaseman turned down the brew saying, "There will be no trouble, I simply will return to my Lodge and radio the authorities and possibly see you in court. I and my partners pay thousands of dollars to maintain our lease and take care of this land according to our agreement. You are trespassing, the signs are posted, you are in violation of the law. I want no trouble either."

Gerald, licking the sticky part of his cigarette paper, looked up and smirked, "There will be no trouble from us, like we said we'll be gone before you and yer club boys even have a chance ta pass a biscuit by yer lips in the marnin."

The lease man again repeated the need for the boys to move down the river and added, "Look boys, you are camped on a very valuable piece of land, leased and preserved for several partners, I share among. You want no trouble? I don't want to bother the R.C.M.P, although I could easily and they would be here before you have a chance to uncap your next beer. I'll tell you what I'll do. You pay me $200 for the night and I'll trust you will be gone when I return in the morning."

There was silence. The guide, by now had a neat pile of small rocks gathered in a circle by his slightly scuffed brown leather work books. His eyes stared at the formation. Neill, his lips drawn in a whistling look, blew air and looked up and down the river.

Moose Call
A rustic lodge shelters in the pines on a central New Brunswick stream.

The Leaseman kicked a half burned stick into the fire, "shouldn't be a camp fire here either." Gerald stood, faced him and smiling said, "that be the plan, my good man, yeah, that be the plan. The way I figger, I gut $600 in that ole boat there, eh? If I leave here now, in the dark, I'll probably do near $200 worth of damage on them rocks gettin down river, so sounds like a fair price."

Next morning, just as Neill and Gerald were putting the last of their gear in the canoe, the guide returned. "Mr. McQuinn requests the pleasure of your company for breakfast up at the Lodge."

The boys poled up river, around the corner and stepped from the canoe onto a neatly trimmed lawn. In the Lodge they were treated to breakfast, beer and cigars. Whereas there were no other guests at the Lodge, they were given the grand tour of it and the out buildings. They all shook hands and parted as friends with a plea that they would never camp in the area again.

"Can't make no promises," Neill shouted back as the canoe entered the rapids and Gerald snubbed his pole to straighten its entry.

campfire tales    Laurie, we've all heard about "runaway trains", but you have a story about a runaway canoe trailer!
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