This is going to be a long one…there’s a lot to tell!
Every group has one…the nervous type that plans for every eventuality.
All names have been changed to protect the guilty.
“Bob” was invited to go with us on a fishing trip up North. He had limited experience in the outdoors and was somewhat hesitant to go. We of course, hyped it up and he finally agreed.
First-timers always make the mistake of packing too much “stuff” and we generally do a shake down before we leave to lighten the load. You don’t always carry just your gear. There’s group gear as well as the dreaded “food bags.”
“Bob” decided that installing a strap on a big Igloo cooler was a great idea. It would make carrying it across a portage a whole lot easier. My buddy looked at him and said, ” that’s a great idea! Bring two.” I looked at him as if he’d lost his mind! Then he says, “two of them will get it out of your system TWICE as fast.” “It’s a bad idea so don’t do it.” Bob acquiesced and didn’t do it. At least he listens. (NOTE: we never bring coolers)
Next up, Bob showed us his titanium framed uber-lightweight .357magnum “bear gun.” We rolled our eyes! In all our years of fishing up North, we have never had a bear in camp and the ones we did see were off in the distance heading the other way. We said NO! Then came the bear spray canister. Ugh. I had no idea that they came in “Fire Extinguisher Size.” Holy smokes that thing was huge. But Bob wouldn’t go with out it. So the agreement was made that Bob alone would carry it and nobody else.
Some would call it fear, I prefer to call it inexperience. I get it though…I’d want to carry a gun IN THE CITY. But that’s just me.
Now when Bob mentioned “baby wipes”, we about lost it. A hush fell over the group and everyone just stared at Bob. So what does he do? He goes into a high-pressure, used car salesman sales pitch about the versatility and usefulness of wipes. He was pretty damn convincing because we adopted them and take them on every trip. Good one Bob!
Then he hit us with paper plates. Seriously? Real men use mess kits and cast iron frying pans and such. Its tradition! And then came another sales pitch. True to form, men being men, our laziness won out and we use paper plates all the time. Bob’s a PRO I tell ya!
After several trips, Bob is safely in the fold and somewhat comfortable in the Wilderness. Our group is full of pranksters…me being the chief antagonist I might add. One day we left camp early, the pitch black kind of early. I agreed to navigate us through the darkness using a headlamp to help guide them. As we’re paddling along, I look back at my friend in the stern and asked, “wanna have some fun?” He replied, “always!” We rounded a point and I immediately turned off my headlamp and we started to just drift. No paddling, no lights. The rest of the group, being led by Bob started freaking out and paddling furiously to “catch up.” It sounded like a pod of whales going by! Our laughter gave us away, but it was still pretty funny…to us!
Then there was the time Bob and a few of the older gentleman decided they wanted to boat in. It’s a 60 mile ride and its worth the price, its a lot of fun. So the rest of the group was at the drop off point 30 minutes early to get them and their gear back to our basecamp. There was no way we weren’t picking them up since they were bringing in the beer (MGD in plastic bottles!)
So we finally see the boat round the point a few miles out and it arrives at the drop off a few minutes later. There’s Bob…absolutely amazed that we were waiting for him. He asked, “how did you know to be here at this exact time?” I told him it was an old Indian trick…I stuck my head under water and listened for the boat propeller. When I deemed it was close enough, we headed to the drop off point.” Even the boat driver rolled his eyes at that line of BS. Bob told everybody that story for years.
Bob just retired after 30+ years at the same company I work for. At his retirement party, I pulled him aside and told him the truth about that episode. When we dropped them off at the boat ride place, I simply asked the driver what time and where he wanted to meet. Bob got quiet and looked at me with disbelief, then he just laughed and laughed. Bob is a great guy! I include him in the “Fishing Mafia” thing…I’d take a bullet for him.
Old dogs CAN learn new tricks! Thank you “Bob!”