A thrilling ride, and it ain’t over

Willoughby Run wanders between woodlands and pastures on its way to Marsh Creek.This is the time of year for taking stock of experiences and places, and for celebrating having survived some of the riskier events.

Such as the time we left a four-engine airplane lying beside the runway halfway home from a U.S. Navy deployment to the Philippines.

Or the time in Los Padres National Forest with a hunting buddy, when, in the middle of a day too hot for hunting, we came upon a stream with a conveniently located depression. We piled rocks around the lower border to make the water just a little deeper and took turns enjoying the frigid flow. I’ll leave to your imagination reason for the name we gave the feature: Chief Two-Navel’s Bathtub.

There was the spring on Adak Island, with the same buddy, when we filled a 30-gallon trashcan with grunion – minnow-like fish about five-to-six inches long that every spring come ashore from the Pacific Ocean to spawn. Shorebirds feast on them as they lie on the sand waiting for the next high tide to wash them back to sea. Smoked, they are an excellent snack for any outdoorsfolk.

Winters of my youth featured ice fishing fun for the older guys, who often sat in shacks they had towed onto the frozen lake. They dangled a line through a hole in the ice cut beneath a matching hole in the floor, and kept themselves amused and lubricated, the latter lest they become too stiff to respond should a trout or perch attempt to take their bait.

I have hunted Barren Ground caribou in Alaska. I used to say, and mean it, that I hunted to be in the woods, and killed for dinner. Lest anyone think that last part is terrible, allow me to quote my college environmental studies professor: “When you order a hamburger from a fast-food store, you take out a contract on a cow.”

I’ve fished for Striped Bass off a Maryland beach, and later on San Francisco Bay, the latter in the company of a fellow from Upstate New York who said the lures I used would have been keepers in the streams near his home. A seagull agreed, and swooped in to snatch the faux fish from the water. We probably spent the best part of an hour getting the gull tired enough to allow us to free him from the hook.

I have tipped over a canoe in Marsh Creek and can verify that the SD cards were not affected by the bath. The pictures I had shot to that point of the day were just fine when I fished the camera out of the creek. The camera, not so much, but the canoe is ready for another float.

I have sat in Marsh Creek among schools of shiners and crawdads and flipped rocks to expose larval Mayflies – so-called because they generally hatch in May and which, it turns out, are excellent indicators of water suitable for human consumption (though one might want to leave the bugs in the creek).

Of late, I’ve been finding history along Marsh Creek. Native Americans once lived, or at least camped, in Adams County, and early European settlers built mills along the creek because there were no trucks to ply the non-existent highways to carry goods between settlements. If you wanted wool for clothing and wood to build a home, you cut it yourself.

I’ve had some interesting experiences and learned some interesting stuff, and tried to pass it on, because knowing stuff is not worth much if you can’t share it.

Thanks to everyone who has helped me survive those risky events. Happily, it appears more opportunities await.

Thanks for coming along. I hope you enjoyed the ride. Comments are welcome, and please feel free to share. Click the “Share” button to share it on social media, or copy the URL and send it to friends and acquaintances you think might appreciate it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.