I usually hunt alone, so I often do things along the way that I barely give a second thought to. This often means that something that may constitute as a “good time” for me may not even register on another’s fun meter. In fact, bringing someone new along with me, often is a good way to find trouble. This reminds me of the time my pal Jack Barnes was in town for a visit, and it occurred to me that he might want to get out and see a piece of my stomping grounds. I didn’t even get partway through my explanation of what I had in mind. Before I knew it, he was eagerly accepting my “invitation”. He was quick to inform me that he’d even brought along his longbow! It seemed that an “adventure” was inevitable. Lord help us.
Now despite his shock of lightning-white hair, you might never guess that he’s past seventy years old. With this in mind, I figured that I’d treat him to an area that was fairly easy going, with a nice trail through a beautiful section of old growth forest. Deer season was in full swing, and where we’d be going, there was a very good possibility that we might even get a shot at a wolf! The first mile or so of trail, passed by blissfully and we were having a great time. When we arrived at a stream crossing, neither one of us was too worried about it. But we both agreed that it seemed deep enough, that we should probably remove our boots and roll up our pant legs before crossing. To be truthful, I had in mind to watch ol’ Jack cross barefoot, and then I’d stay high and dry by crossing over on a nearby log, that he’d already dismissed. Well, Jack was in high spirits as he peeled off his boots and then, with walking stick in hand, approached the stream’s edge.
I was merrily snapping photos of the endeavor, as he hit mid-calf level…and then mid-thigh…and then, around the time the water was level with his waist, I started to wonder if this might be a bad idea after all. About that time…Jack went under! I couldn’t believe my eyes, as he rolled from his back, to his stomach. He then assumed a posture that was reminiscent of Super Man flying backwards, clawing at the rocks along the bottom of the stream. For a moment I panicked, thinking that for sure I’d drowned my pal Jack! A shout of “STAY BACK!”, kept me from rushing in after him. It’s quite possible that both our lives passed before my eyes, while I anxiously watched his struggles. I breathed an explosive sigh of relief when he finally got his feet underneath him and reached the opposite stream bank.
After what seemed like hours, Jack finally stood on dry land. But he had his back to me, so I couldn’t see his facial expression. He suddenly let out a loud expletive that made me giggle; mostly out of relief, but partly due to the hilarity of the situation. About that time, Mother Nature decided to show what she thought about our little “adventure”, and unleashed the flood gates upon us. With rain drops pelting down, I couldn’t help but find the whole experience comical and shouted, “Well, at least you’re already wet, because now it’s raining, Jack!” His response was “Really?! I hadn’t noticed!” I made my way across the dead-fall log that Jack should have used, which made my arrival on shore a whole lot drier than his. After some time spent trying to get a fire going and getting Jack squared away, we decided that we ought to just head back across, and then work our way back toward the truck. This time, we found a slightly shallower place to cross back over the stream, and we both plunged across. I was really bummed out that Jack didn’t experience much of a hunt, hear some wolves howl, or even see some of the more beautiful places along the trail. But you know something?! Ol’ Jack never stopped smiling the entire time! I couldn’t believe it when he actually THANKED me for having him along. All I could do was chuckle and say “Any time, Jack. ANY time.”