canoe capers
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Spring Break
by Terry Brinkman



Last week I was shoveling snow every day, a usual January week. This week, and the weather gal says next week too; rain - it’s too warm to snow. A great break for my back, kind-a puts me in a too early spring fever.

Years ago when I was in the Boy Scouts, our troop started a year-long project. We each made our own canoes; with a few repairs I kept my canoe for longer than Ten Years. Along with our Scout Master, we did odd jobs to pay for the canoes as we built them. One of the odd jobs we did was, delivering 1,000 Advertising hand bills each week to 1,000 front doors.

Each spring when I was in High School, my friend Shane and I took a trip to Wyoming to canoe the Snake River. We would camp at the Snake River State Campground, just south of Jackson Hole Wyoming.

Friday we would skip our last class, and head to Wyoming; (yes we took out canoes and camping supplies to school). After a couple pee stops we arrived at the camp just before dark. Parking at an unused camp site we put our Four Dollars in the Pay Envelope - Two Dollars a night. I ran it up to the drop box, leaving Shane to start the camp fire. We always made foil dinner at home for the first night.( Foil Dinners are Carrots, Potatoes, onions and anything you want, in double folded foil to lay in the coals to cook.) I’d get back after dropping the envelope and gulling-lagging-around. Shane had the fire going, our foil in the coals and a pot of hot water going. After eating, a trip to the pit toilets and some stories of our near misses on our last canoe trip. We laid some rubber pads and our sleeping bags to sleep in the back of the pickup, and go to sleep.

I wake with the sunlight, notice Shane had moved into the cab of the pickup (what a baby). I take a pee in the trees then - not quietly - I rebuild the campfire and start a pot of coffee. By then Shane wakes up, good thing we each bring our own frying pan, and cook our own food. In my Cast-Iron Frying Pan I drop Potatoes, two eggs and a couple of strips of Bacon. I also brought some Cinnamon rolls for Shane and myself too. Nothing beats the smell of bacon cooking on an open fire; I can smell it now just thinking about it. We both hurry and eat so we can start down the river.      

We drive Fifteen miles downstream and drop off Shane’s pickup, so after our run we can bring the canoes back to camp where we start canoeing.  We Thumb our way back to camp, and both throw our canoes in, always a race. We reach where we left the pickup, bring the canoes back to camp, take the pickup downstream, thumb back to camp. We should get to make three runs today and two runs on Sunday. Only two runs on Sunday, so we can get home for school Monday.

Saturday night after three runs we always plan on fish for dinner, (Snake River one of the best fishing rivers in the country.) but more likely to have Jiffies-Pop-Popcorn and some cake.                



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