Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tent camping (Part 2)

As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, my memories of tent camping date as far back as the 1950s, but this one particular time was in the early 1970s, probably 1973, as I recall. It resembled something out of the movie, Deliverance, which was actually filmed in 1972. The real Deliverance was about four guys going on a canoe trip down the Cahulawassee River , somewhere in Georgia . The one was about two guys – me and Ron Bentley – going on a canoe trip down the Illinois River not far from Tahlequah , Okla. and could easily have been named Deliver Us From Evil.

Ron and I put in at the mouth of the Illinois , near Siloam Springs, as I recall. We loaded the canoe with all our gear, drinks, food, cots, etc. and set sail on a two-day trip, so we had to spend one night on the river. We tied our drinks behind the canoe, you know, so they could say cool as we traveled down the river.

Within a couple of hours after we sat sail it came a downpour. We weren’t prepared for what we were about to get into, because it rained so hard all our gear got soaked and we lost the drinks the first time we went over a low spot in the river. We finally stopped along side the bank a few miles down the river. Everything we had was wet, but by then it was getting close to dark. At least, the sun had gone down, and we were worn out and tired. We pulled over and got out what we could and prepared to spend the night. Sometime during the night, we heard a rustling noise.

Scared by now, Ron yelled “Stop, I’ve got a loaded gun.” Sure enough, he had a pistol and was ready to use it. Moments later, we discovered it was a cow roaming through the woods. We settled back in to our wet sleeping bags and just about got to sleep. The moon was shining bright on the river, so we see everything clearly by now. About that time, two fishermen came walking out if the woods behind us and said they were going to do some night fishing.

I had never heard of night fishing, but they put their boat in and off down the river they went. All the hullabaloo that night with the cow, Ron’s gun being drawn and surprising fishermen, plus the fact we had already gotten everything wet, made Ron and I decide we would be glad when the trip came to an end. Oh, I forgot to mention one spot on the river, we managed to turn the canoe over and Ron lost his billfold and watch in the spill. Then at end of the trip, we were so tired we could hardly get the canoe over to the bank. After all that had happened, that’s when we decided this would be our final canoe trip.

Later on, we laughed about the whole excursion, but it was indeed our finale.


At January 4, 2009 at 10:10 PM , Blogger Glen Lazalier said...

Experiences like that remind me of the old adage: experience is what keeps us from making mistakes, making mistakes is how we get experience--keep the blogs coming, please

At January 5, 2009 at 3:34 PM , Blogger Bill Hinds said...

I could just imagine being in a circumstance like that. Great story John. I have slept out under the stars more than once. But the last time I went camping with my youngest son, I slept in the conversion van and watched TV while he slept on the ground in the tent. :)

At January 5, 2009 at 4:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I "lost my shirt" on a canoe trip once. Had taken my shirt off and set it in the canoe. Sure enuf, we tipped over and my shirt was lost forever. Still remember the lady at the canoe place when we turned the canoe in saying, "Sorry you lost your shirt."

I'm with you on the camping, Bill. My idea of roughing it is turning the electric blanket down to medium at the Holiday Inn. - Jim Patterson


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