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For one of the upcoming segments for my syndicated camping column on CBC Radio this summer (to air Aug 25th) I am to list some of the silly things campers (and paddlers) have done out there. Yes, it's the Darwin awards for Campers; very exciting stuff. I've been asking around for samples and received countless ones. Here's a few — and feel free to add your own to the blog (I won't name people to protect the innocent).


I followed the advice of an outdoors magazine that touted using mothballs as bear deterrent. When the bear found us at night and located the food cache in a tree, he was convinced that the moth-bally smell together with delicacies such as a whole salami and a hunk of Swiss Cheese had a connection to the same moth-bally smell coming from the tent. He gave us three hours of bear entertainment: 10pm to 11:30 and again 3am to 4:30. He did solve his mothball curiosity on his own: the next morning, we found one cracked mothball at the bear's resting place 20ft from the tent, and of course the remaining 1/2 lb of untouched ones, amongst food wrapping etc. He took with him the plastic container with the butter, by the way...


When my dad took us our first canoe we were so excited! With no instruction manual we confidently paddled our first lake (Five Mile Lake PP near Chapleau.....closed for years). After hours of paddling we couldn't figure out why the bow was so deep in the water. Also my sister said that her seat was so uncomfortable and that she wanted to switch to the rear seat. Well when we finally came to the shore we were quite the object of laughter...couldn't understand why until we were told we were CANOEING WITH THE CANOE BACKWARDS!


I sort of admire this couple's efforts and wish to be in the wilds, but last year at the Freeland/Killarney lake portage there was this couple, mid-fifties, out of shape. the stuff on shore included folded up lawnchairs, boxes (bigger than banana boxes) of stuff, just loose -bread, cereal. it was a mountain of stuff. and luggage, regular luggage. (reminds me of someone puling their flight attendant-style luggage along the portage by canoe lake/joe - well that is almost a road i guess).


Just this weekend on Muriel lake some guys at the lower campsite managed to set a fuel bottle on fire. First the firepit was a fire ball, then it rolled down the hill, an explosion of flames every time it hit a rock as it rolled into the lake, kapush kapush!! Pretty exciting stuff.


We rescued a guy this April off the island on David Lake (opposite #100). he and his mate had hiked thru the trees to silver peak, lost their map, out all night in cold rain, then walked around the lake the wrong way, swam to the island (not sure I want to know what they did there), then realized their canoe was across the lake. We retrieved it to find it pulled up on shore, not tied, empty raviloi cans in the canoe. We suspect there may have been some personal disorientation leaf-product used in their (mis) adventure


You mean like the time I had lunch while waiting for my canoe partner to catch up and an hour later I went back to find him stuck on his back like a turtle. He sat down to take a break and the pack was a bit too much for him


Here's a good one: One time we were traveling to Caracajou and being in no hurry decided to take Caracajou creek instead of portaging. On my old map it was a perfectly labeled route. 8 hours later after convincing my partner we weren't lost we got to the lake dragging the canoe the entire distance. I checked my extra spare map which was newer and caracajou creek is no longer a route due to beaver dam shortage so the water levels were no longer paddle-able. He made me use a new map every year after that.


North Tea Lake loop....portaged to a small pnd, threw everything in the canoe, and started to paddle across pnd, which would have been no more than 50metres, to continue portage. We paddle like hell...me in bow, buddy in stern. getting NOWHERE. Finally get to the other side, look back...pond is all churned up. Painter fron stern is stretched TIGHT into the water. Buddy pulls...up comes stump which we had dragged across the pond bottom.


I guess it depends on how bad hotdogs really are for you, but four packs of hot dogs for four days in Algonquin?

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