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Funny now, not so funny then...Or, funny then too.

Anyone have any amusing anecdotes to enthrall the rest of us with? Things that have happened to you, or someone you know. funny things, scary things, annoying things. Things that make you shake your head now and say "What the Hell was I thinking?" Of course this is intended for empirical knowledge only, in order to enlighten people on what to avoid on their future outings, and is not intended for entertainment purposes in any way. : )

For example: Camping on the side of a mountain, setting up your tent, then deciding that the nearly perfectly spherical 24" diameter rock, about 15' uphill from the aforementioned tent, would make a very good seat if rolled over to the fire pit...It didn't make it. Started rolling it sideways towards the fire pit, and discovered that even though it is nearly spherical and rolls quite nicely, on a 15 to 20 degree slope it has a great deal of POTENTIAL energy. That potential was realised when it started rolling down hill and I discovered that it is impossible to stop a 300-350 pound bowling ball when it starts rolling down a 15 to 20 degree slope. My tent however did a Very good job of stopping it. The tent was on a "level" ; ) piece of ground with a log that had almost gone back to Earth, being not much more than a long mound of raised ground on the down-hill side of my tent. Well...giant bowling ball rolls down-hill, straight into my tent. If my door had been open it would have rolled right in. Door wasn't open however, and my tent ended up looking just like a catchers mitt with a big dirty baseball nestled inside. Needless to say I was horrified, and all my friends were on the ground pissing themselves. But, as the luck that favours fools would have it, there wasn't any damage to the tent in any way. Not one broken pole, no zipper damage, no screen damage, not one popped seam. Nothin'... Well, nothing except my pride. This was 19 years ago, and still, to this DAY, anytime I go camping with someone who's familiar with the incident, they always make sure to ask if I'm planning on moving any rocks around. And, if so, do it BEFORE the tents are set up! : ) I guess I'll never live it down. Nnnnnnext!

Long story short,

was camping in Georgia, all trails flooded by swamps. Had to hike about 1/2 mile thru swamp - at night - barefoot - alligators croaking and with light from the headlamp, could see snakes swimming between my legs.

.... watching a canoe (with a weeks gear packed in it) float out into a lake - I KNEW that I'd tied off the bow line - but apparently that knowledge didn't get in the way of reality. Nice "refreshing" swim (Star Lake in northern NY state in early May) to get the canoe while the locals laughed. When I returned (a nice shade of blue, I might add) the one fella asked "why didn't ya borrow one of our canoes?" and tossed me a blanket and a beer.

Attawapiskat, on west coast of James Bay, August 200: Decided to go for a dayhike, solo, as far as muskeg would let me, crossing two tributaries of Attawapiskat River in the process. On the way back, miscalculated the tidal rise of the river in late afternoon... and you can guess what's coming ;). I swim one river laden with pack and a load of ignorance, hike around a point, and arrive at my previous low-water crossing on the main branch. Whoa, baby, the river is high, wide and fast - and Newbie Miss is cold and wet from head to toe, the temps are dropping to near freezing, no dry change of clothes, no shelter, no means for making a fire, but she has some snacks/drinking water... and a honking big flashlight. Deciding to stay put rather than cross just above a set of rapids, I start signalling for help. A dirt road runs on other side of river, on top of a 60-foot embankment. Dusk arrives, still no success. Haul out the flashlight, remember 3 flashes is standard "I need help!" code, and start flashing away anytime an ATV or truck roars past. Approx. one hour after sunset, a guy comes flying by in his pickup, brakes, gets out, makes sure I'm okay, and takes off to get help and two canoes.

One rescue and a day later, I'm shopping in the Northern Store, and a young sales clerk asks me straight-faced, "Are you the teacher who was stuck on the river yesterday?" Apparently the First Nations community had a good laugh that whole week... and I've learned my lesson about the importance of having certain essentials with me (including common sense), even on a "harmless" dayhike a few kilometres out of town. Oh, and that a good belly laugh is a good way to bring down cross-cultural barriers!

Whenever I summitted a peak or hit a high spot on a trail I would often stop to "mark" my territory. At least up until the day I was marking the top of a several hundred foot high cliff and got a little bit of vertigo. The only things that got marked that day were my boots and socks as I pushed myself backwards away from the very sheer cliff! Needless to say I don't do that anymore!

"Whenever I summitted a peak or hit a high spot on a trail I would often stop to "mark" my territory." -

In some of the abandoned quarries where friends of mine and I used to climb some non-climbing type folks would do that - while we were on route - not at all appreciated ("hey - it's raining") - even less appreciated were those who would toss firecrackers, beer bottles or rocks at us ...

yee ha

if that was Butler Quarry, that might have been my M-80.

That's not the worst that ever happened to me. On my honeymoon camping somewhere on Route 20 in the North Cascades my ex and I took a hike 5 miles into a nice little valley with a stream running through it. After a little sweet talk I convinced her that there was nobody within 20 miles of us. Five minutes later our neighbors from the campsite we were staying in walked by. I had no idea my ex could turn that shade of red!

My wife and I had one easter a ten days skiing trip in Jotunheimen hut-to-hut. When we started, we agreed that I carried 17 kilos and she 13 kilos.

On the last day up a long walley she was so much more stronger than me, even commenting that she had expected more from me.

But as we were waiting for the train, I lifted her backpack and had my answer. Her pack was now 9 kilos, while mine was 21 kilos. By some "accident" each time we had packed and unpacked, all the heavy items had unnoticed one by one ended up by me. And all the light and easy had gone the other way!.

From then on I regularly check on both packs, so that such accidents will not happen again. One never knows, can't be too sure.

Good story, Otto. You never know who you can trust. Perhaps it should be the subject of a pre-nuptial (or post-nuptial) agreement: who carries what on the marital treks.

I'll have to keep that trick in mind...

"I'll have to keep that trick in mind..." - talk to my wife sometime - I've had similar experiences many times over the past quarter century!

Ed G - Not sure what the name of the particular quarry was but if you attended Swarthmore College in the early/mid 1970's it just might have been you!

If it was you, I was back in the area a couple weeks ago and, as an FYI, there are now luxury high rise condo's built near the faces and it's strictly off-limits to any and all activities.

My wife is not that sneaky--I just sometimes end up carrying two packs, one on my back and one in front. This most often occurs after I tell her, for the fourth time, that "this is the last hill--I promise".

Fred, No didn't go to Swarthmore.

I'm an alumnus from the other world famous Pennsylvania school - Slippery Rock State College.

The last time I played the rock trick it was on a trout fishing bushwack up a stream west of Redding, CA. I dropped a bowling ball sized rock into another guy's pack. He didn't find the rock till he was unpacking his stuff back at the vehicle. The lesson learned is never leave your pack unattended!!!!!!!!!!!

When I was just a little one we did a 5 mile hike in Boy Scouts. They stuck a 10 lbs rock in my already overfilled pack. I will give the Scout Master some credit since he kept offering to take the pack after the first couple of miles. I made it the whole way back to the church with the pack and everyone was impressed. The Scout Master and I then broke the rock into 4 pieces and whoever whined the most on the trips got to carry a piece home.

Then there was the time that I went to hide out from the rain in my single wall backpacking tent. A tent which I had LIBERALLY coated with silly-cone waterproofing. Several times. Well The tent is waterPROOF, And as I found out, also airtight. While during an afternoon downpour I shut both side windows AND the poorly protected vents at either end of the tent at the peak of the doors. It was RAINING. HARD. CONTINUOUSLY. And as we were on the side of a mountain, from every direction. So, I grab a nap while waiting for the storm to pass. (Time passes) I wake myself up by flopping and flailing around gasping for air. I rip the door open, stick my head out into the air and breathed like I'd just ran a marathon, entirely uphill, at 25,000 feet. No headache, but world feels/looks like it's "swooshing" in and out of reality/focus/darkness. Not a cool feeling. Apparently I'm noisy enough that my friends heads all come popping out of their tents all concerned for me. A few more gasps and I'm able to tell them what happened and... well... They weren't exactly sympathetic. Actually, If they weren't ALREADY on the "ground" in their tents, then they'd a been on the ground laughing their butts off. As it was, they were already on the ground and the laughter came quite quickly after my explanation. Also, It seems that I LOOKED quite funny to those that saw me too. Something like a catfish out of water gasping and heaving...Still I DID have to laugh when someone later showed my what I had looked like. It WAS pretty funny. Needless to say though, after that I've always got high AND low ventilation points open in my tents. Always... ALWAYS... Always! Did I mention that I always have adequate (or more than) adequate ventilation now'days? Allllwayyyys? Well I do. A near death experience does that to some, I've heard. ; )


My wife and went kayaking in Doubtful Sound in New Zealand's Fiordland National Park. We knew good campsites would be hard to find along the nearly vertical walls of the fjord, but we had studied the maps and figured we could find a place at the end of one the fjord arms where a river had built a delta into the fjord. Turned out to be a godawful, sodden, and sandfly (=black fly) infested swamp. So we retreated to a site on the toe of an old, forested landslide, and managed to squeeze our tent into a relatively flat spot between rocks right at the edge of the forest -- good because the forest interior is pretty wet and gloomy.

In the middle of the night we woke to the sound of water lapping right outside the tent door, and when we looked out, sure enough, the whole fjord had risen up and was about to flood our tent. Turns out the New Zealand fjords have a 10 foot layer of freshwater floating on top of the salt, so all of the usual intertidal life that would cue you in on the tide line -- seaweed, barnacles, mussels -- just isn't there. And on a spring tide, the roots of trees at the edge of the fjord are flooded, but the trees don't mind at all because it's fresh water. We had a tide table but no good offset for our location, so we weren't sure when the tide would turn. W pulled a midnight retreat by flashlight in heavy rain and squeezed our tent into an even smaller space between the rocks.

It rained - hosed- the next day so we sat it out. When it rains in Fiordland the fjord walls are laced with waterfalls of various sizes until it all seems like one big waterfall. We had to do a little civil engineering to divert a little freshet that threatened to run right through our tent. Later in the afternoon, we heard a motor over the drumming of the rain on the tent and went out to see what it was -- a houseboat kind of thing that took clients on fishing trips on the fjord. We had pulled our kayak up into the trees, so when we appeared at the water's edge, the captain called out, in genuine concern, "Are -- you -- lost?"

"No", we called back. "Are-- you?"

We paddled out for a cup of tea and a yarn, and they gave us some fresh fish that we had for dinner.

Many years ago, after spending a significant amount of time in a hospital after a nasty car wreck, I really needed to go camping. So after getting out of the hospital with only a leg cast (above the knee to, and including the foot) I decided a little car camping would be just fine. So I drove (tough to do) to a nice spot in the National Forest, by a medium sized river, and proceeded to set up my free standing 2 person dome tent. Once I got the poles in the sleeves and the tent set up, I hobbled back to the car to get the stakes, well a strong puff of wind came along at that time and blew my tent into the river, and off it floated!! With a leg cast on my leg, I couldn't get in the river to retrieve it, so I hopped in the car and drove down stream to a bend in the river and waited from my tent to arrive. It did, but not before I had tied a rope to a tree, then around my waist, so that if I were to fall in while retrieving my tent, I could pull myself out via the rope and hopefully not drown. Well, I obviously didn't drown, and I also got the tent. I learned that you NEVER leave a free standing tent alone, to always put at least one stake in if you have to walk away from it. Too bad the whole thing wasn't filmed, I'm sure it would be hilarious to watch.

Movie quality indeed! Or at least America's Funniest Home Videos. : )

there was the time when I was young, brash and knew everything there was to know. Doing a bit of winter backpacking I decided (as it was snowing outside) to cook in my tent. (I know, I know). So I put some fire paste into the priming pan of my old, faithful Primus stove and set it ablaze. I then opened the valve (figuring that she was all primed, heated up and ready to go) and watched - with a bit of concern - as the flame shot up and melted a hole in the roof of my single wall tent. I was lucky - the three or four inches of snow (which had accumulated on the canopy)kept the blaze from spreading - although it did dump in on me. I jury-rigged my poncho as a fly and packed out the next morning .....

Did someone mention something about a Darwin award???

My fourteen year old son and some of his friends were going backpacking, and my fourteen year old nephew was to join them, but he had none of his own gear. We lent him a large internal frame pack along with sleeping pad,and a sleeping bag. The trip was four days and three night, nearly 40 miles long, up in the Alpine Wilderness area in Washington.

When we met back up, the boys regaled me with stories of how my nephew tried using multiple layers of clothes, sharing his cousin's sleeping bag (he is 6'4, my son 5'10), curling up in his mylar blanket, and so forth.

By now I was laughing, asking him why he didn't use his sleeping bag. He was exasperated and said that I had failed to include it. I really began laughing hard when I walked over to his pack, and unzipped the last compartment he didn't bother to open, the one that holds the sleeping bag. That's when all the other boys began laughing. Then we went and bought him a hamburger. :)

That IS funny, but the others didn't think to look in the last compartment of your nephew's pack either! 2 heads are better than one, but not if they're both... Oh, you know the rest.

Good lesson learned by all on that trip.

When I was 19 ( I am now 42 ) I felt like I had developed considerable skill at collecting deadfall for our little overnight outings in the woods behind our house. There were usually 3 or 4 of us boys who had to constantly prove we had a better way to do something than the next one. After much debate I decided the best way to " bust up " the larger limbs into fire size lengths was to prop up one end of the limb on a good size boulder, and then lift the biggest rock I could handle high over my head and then hurl it downward with tremendous force onto the limb I wanted to bust up.
After a couple of glancing blows I finally delivered the mother of all impacts!!! When I regained consciousness my good friend Tim ( the only one not laughing his behind off ) explained that the end of the limb I had propped up on the boulder had flown up with tremendous force and smacked me squarely in the head. My friends then walked me out of the woods to my parents house where they all took turns telling my folks how it looked from where they stood.

I now own a Sven saw and love it!
Thanks all for the hilarious posts, it makes me feel better.

QUOTE "I decided the best way to " bust up " the larger limbs into fire size lengths was to prop up one end of the limb on a good size boulder, and then lift the biggest rock I could handle high over my head and then hurl it downward with tremendous force onto the limb I wanted to bust up." QUOTE

Did something similar, just the other way around. Propped up the stick on the rock and JUMPED on it. It was VERY springy. Didn't knock myself out, but had a pretty sore jaw for a while from where one of my knees had smoked it. Knee to jaw made that funky PONK sound you get from slamming a plastic bowl upside-down on something hard. Pretty chuckalicious actually. : )

Trouthunter ... did you learn that technique from the three stooges? I recall Curly getting nailed on the head by a log followed by Moe saying "kindling!"

Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk!!

Thanks to TJ for starting this topic.

Hi Fred, At the time I thought I was going to teach my buddies something, and I did! Most of the time I just let the stuff burn in half anymore, you know, save my energy.

A friend and I were elk hunting a number of years ago. By the end of the day I was getting hungry, so he said he had a couple of cans of smoked oysters in his saddlebags. There was about a foot and a half of snow on the ground, so we brushed a log off and were sitting there talking and opening the cans. The cans didn't have a key, so we had to use our hunting knives. I was talking to him with the can sitting on my leg, and without even looking, I stabbed at the can...and missed. The knife went into my leg to the bone. I pulled it out and the blood was spurting straight up like a fountain. I stood up and pulled my pants and long underwear down and it was spurting out 6-8 inches in a thick stream. My friend handed me a handerchief and I tied it so the knot helped pull the wound together, then I tied a piece of bootlace above the wound. My pants were soaked from the waist to the cuff, and the snow looked like something had been butchered there. The sun had just gone down and we were way up on the side of a big mountain about 6 miles from the truck. I was really glad we had horses. After riding back to the truck we still had a 50 mile drive to the doctor, but she stitched me up no problem.
Anytime I need a reminder of the need for caution and prudence, I think of this instance. I'm glad I can look back on this and laugh, and yet remember that it could have been much worse.

September 20, 2020
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