I wonder if I inadvertently give readers the impression I’m not an outdoorsy type.
Admittedly my becoming one with nature adventures are few and far between, but I focus on quality over quantity.
Young Clint Boutelle looked almost nonplussed when at the country club bar, (certainly refreshing after all these months) I mentioned I seldom leave city limits. What I failed to mention is that I’m no stranger to weekends in the wild.
My sample size might be condensed, but have you ever heard of a little hiker’s paradise known as Deep Lake? I not only hoofed it in there, but took the long way which entailed about 12 miles if I recall. Nine miles up and three miles down. Oh, but the brook trout were biting, my friends.
Now, I don’t remember what mountain it was, probably Beartooths or Carter or something. Hey, I was in Little League; forgive me if I’m vague on details. It was me, my older brothers Jess and Paul, and Paul’s grossly overweight (even at that age, you know fat when you see it) Penn State college friend Tim Taylor. Oh, and a donkey named Moses; let’s not forget about Moses.
I say that because day No. 2 when we reached the top and started down, this white donkey lost footing and all our packs (a camping term) rolled all the way to the bottom. Only by the grace of God did we save Moses, no thanks to Taylor who was bent over gasping for breath by then.
A few things stand out about that first night. From my sleeping bag, I swear I woke up in the wee hours to see Paul chasing a porcupine. His memory is hazy, but I vividly recall thinking, “Why would you even want to catch that pincushion?”
I pretended to be asleep, but made a mental note to tell Mom that Paul had some serious issues.
Next morning on the long trek down, everyone crossed the raging creek at the point of least challenge, but I insisted on jumping at my chosen spot. Suddenly I’m in the middle of the icy flow, with Paul – sporting a big, horse-face laugh – pulling me out. We still talk about my big right-hand swing at his goofy mug when back on dry ground, but he’s dang lucky I didn’t connect.
I cast bait in the frothy waters where river met lake and was actually catching fish by the tails and one through the eye. Paul cajoled me from my selected spot, so I was gleeful with his lack of success. That night around the campfire, I’d never tasted anything so good as fire-cooked trout in tinfoil.
On the way out next day, I recall pinching a loaf behind a tree and miles later, Jess asking, “Where’s my hatchet you had?” He didn’t react gracefully to my sheepish answer and I was thinking, “yeah, right; I’m gonna pay for it … I’m 12 for God’s sake.”
So anyone thinking I’m some homebody pansy, I hiked Deep Lake when you were still pooping green. And if you think I harbor resentment towards my brothers, maybe you’re reading too much into things.