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  • Jay, my Dad’s friend and business partner was unable to make the canoe trip, but his grown sons, Brad and Greg had called suggesting an overnight trip on the river. Our families had spent many campouts together when we were kids growing up so when Dad called me I jumped at the chance. I think my brother Gary was still in the Navy or he would have been there too.

    This was to be a trip on the Jack’s Fork of the Current River during the spring floods. Now parts of the Jack’s Fork are only passable during the flood season. In late summer you’re dragging your canoe as much as floating in it. But in the spring it is as treacherous as it is beautiful. The hairpin turns and downed trees across the river require constant alertness. The rapids are sometimes scary and go on as far as you can see. The slower deeper pools are cold and ripe with trout.

    We met in Eminence and rented two canoes for the trip. The outfitter carried us up stream to the furthest passable put in spot and dropped us off. We would float the two days back to Eminence where our cars were parked.

    We hadn’t gone fifty feet before Dad and I tipped over. Brad and Greg just laughed as we got back in. Believe it or not, it was the only time anyone tipped the whole two days. We soon got used to the river again. The feeling comes back like riding a bicycle.

    We dropped through white water rapids and slipped between and over the branches of fallen trees. We were having the time of our lives and I think Brad must have fished every deep pool we crossed. We saw wild turkeys swooping across the river in front of us and once a big cat drinking as we turned a bend.

    Finally, when we figured we had gone over halfway, we found a wide spot with a nice gravel bank and made camp for the night. A nice campfire to cook supper on and warm ourselves by as the sky gradually darkened. We cleared spots around the fire for our sleeping bags, throwing all the bigger and sharper stones out. I had the bright idea of avoiding the stones by sleeping on an inverted canoe. I kept waking up with frost on my nose as I was too far above the ground level and sleeping on a metal surface. That and having to throw rocks at a raccoon that kept trying to crawl into my sleeping bag made for a long night. And in the morning I found raccoon prints all over the jeans I had hung on a nearby bush to dry out.

    We had our breakfast, cooked by Brad and Greg who are true outdoorsmen and fair cooks and, after scattering the fire, put back in for our last leg.

    The second day was much like the first only the further downstream we got the deeper the river. That meant not as much white water rapids but the river was still beautiful. As we got closer to Eminence, we saw more and more signs of civilization. The wild life we had seen earlier disappeared as we saw cultivated fields and farm houses. Pretty soon the river got so swift we were afraid we might overshoot our landing. But we spotted it in time to pull in looking like bums with our two day beards.

    That was my last canoe trip and one of the best. I’m glad I was able to share it with Dad and Brad and Greg. I wish my brother had been there. And Jay would have loved it.
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