The Leech!

No that’s not the actual suspect! It’s a pic I pulled from the web because it was close to the size of the “perpetrator”, albeit flatter since she wasn’t a “little woman.” I actually felt kind of sorry for that leech.

Years ago, I would travel up North to the Boundary Waters and Quetico once or twice a year.

At least one of those trips was with a Boy Scout Troop or Youth Group. On this particular trip was a female leader who regaled everyone in how cheap she bought all of her gear.

I hate cheap gear with a passion! Nothing ruins a “first-timers” trip faster than bad gear. Crappy water shoes, useless rain gear (NO PONCHOS) or “budget” portage packs. Yes, gear can be a costly investment, but from experience, it’s worth the extra cost. The worst offender by far is “outfitter paddles,” holy smokes those things are heavy. A kid will hate paddling for life and I make a point of letting each “tripper” try my paddle so they get to experience the “dark side” of nice paddles. In fact, after each one of my own kids’ first trips, I take them to be fitted for a paddle and let them pick one out. It’s a family tradition now. I can look at a person and tell what size they need…but having a “professional” go through the aggrandized procedure with your kid leaves a lasting impression.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand…On Day 3 of a 7 day trip, one of that lady’s water sandals blew out. We had no choice but to duct tape it onto her foot. It stayed like that until we made it out.

So let me set the stage for you…

We always stop at a certain Outfitter because they have a shower house that anyone can use for $5 bucks a head. There’s a section for guys and one for girls. The kids had gone in to take theirs before the adults so we were chatting as we waited. We’re separated by a wall so there’s “no peeking.” From the other side came a blood-curdling scream and we all just looked at each other. Me being ME, I just started laughing because I had a pretty good idea what had happened. Sorry, that’s just how I’m wired.

So we go outside and around to make sure everyone is OK. And there sits the “cheapskate Lady” mortified and nearly in tears. She had cut the duct-taped sandal remnant from her foot and attached to the sole of her foot was the biggest damn leech I had ever seen. It was almost as wide as her foot and clearly had been feasting for some time! A careful treatment with a cigarette lighter on each end and we removed the leech.

I’d like to thank Mr. Leech for proving my point so I didn’t have to waste my breath! Don’t buy cheap gear when going up North…you’ll be miserable. No doubt, that occasionally you’ll get lucky, but 9 times out 10 its an abject failure.

Heed my words…

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