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|Campfire Capers: There's a Bear in Your Truck
The site we called Stough's Point was part of a larger "camping"
area which was actually a state park. During the times we camped
there, the park had not yet been developed into the fairly
typical layout of rows of pull-ins with hook ups and modern
conveniences like showers and toilets and laundry facilities. It
was then, in a word, "rustic." What it is now, we do not know
because the group no longer camps and fishes with regularity. We
currently hold our campfires at a local franchised eatery once a
month--you know, a genuine ROMEO experience. Well, as I hadn't
yet started to say...on one of our trips, we had a camper from a
nearby site (about a quarter of a mile away) drift by at
breakfast to ask us if we "heard that bear" the night before.
None of us had, but we were very interested in the prospect of
such wildlife being in our proximity. At that point, a number of
"bear" stories broke out while we finished chowing down on eggs
and bacon, toast and coffee. (Can you smell that bacon and fresh
campfire brewed coffee?)
After a day of beating the water in search of the perch (or the
walleye or the smallmouths or anything that would bite), we
looked forward to an evening of campfire chatter, mutual
agitation, and cold beer, all wrapped around the hopes of
hearing, seeing, even smelling a "bear."
The evening produced a lot of laughs, some new lore for future
telling (someone asked Muskie what time it was, and he dutifully
checked his watch with a quick flick of his wrist, immediately
draining the full mug of beer he had been holding), and some
lectures on bear behavior from Gasser. With a crystal clear sky
sucking the wispy smoke and few remaining flickering flames
straight up into the air, we
shuffled off to the various truck
"beds" for one of those deep, I'm-so-totally-wiped-out, good
About three o'clock in the morning, Gasser and I were roused up
by someone's frantic pounding on Dave's truck side. "Hey, man,
there's a bear in one of your trucks! Hurry!" yelled the guy who
had visited us at breakfast, pointing up the slope to the green
Chevy pick-up that indeed belonged to one of our guys.
We quickly heard what he was talking about as a loud rumbling
snort filled the air. We rushed quietly, like kids trying to
sneak up on a couple making out in the back seat, wanting to get
there quickly but not wanting to run into danger face first.
About ten yards short of the truck we stopped cold, looked at
each other then the stranger, and broke down laughing. "Buddy,
that's not a bear. That's Muskie snoring; that's why he sleeps
up here alone." As we explained matters to the concerned fellow
camper, Muskie continued blasting away, snoring so loud that the
windows in his camper rattled. Gasser, of course, explained to
our "savior" that Muskie had a serious septum problem and
limited hearing in his right ear. So, he could sleep with
himself and not keep himself awake all night. No one else could
At breakfast the next morning, Gasser and I asked the other guys
if they had heard "that bear" last night. Everyone but Muskie
said, no, but reported hearing someone pounding on Gasser's
truck yelling about a bear somewhere. Muskie just yawned and
said, "Man, I didn't hear anything." Such are life's little
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