| Oakleaves Chapter 2
We stopped in at a small place called Outlanders Outfitters. We picked
out a one-night campsite and three canoes to be delivered. We also picked
up three canoes, two people per.
Being the adventurous that the Chambers are, they had a few packs, but
we needed two more. So, we picked the best out of the pile the outfitters
offered us. All were less than appealing, but we picked out the best.
Fishing licenses were distributed as well as maps of the area. With the
arrangements out of the way we got back in the car and drove down the road
to the site.
The campsite itself was really cool. It had a flat spot for the tents,
and the fire, the rest was on a hill, that eventually led down to the lake.
Which, by the way, we got our own little bay. We set up the tents. One
for the parents, one for the resident couple, and one for Noah and I. Gee,
this might be fun.
After the tent was set up we tossed our things inside then had a simple
refried beans and oatmeal dinner. In the digestion track, this is not a
good combination. Once we got everything situated we all decided to have a
friendly game of "uno." Big mistake. It seemed that the game lasted for
hours. Even longer. Cards kept getting dished out. Mr. Anderson nearly
fell asleep. Nobody won that game. We called it quits after the second
I clambered into my tent and pulled the sleeping bag snug over my body,
with only my head protruding. Sleep nearly claimed me when I heard
shifting beside me. ‘Noah just got into his sleeping bag. What was he
doing all this time,’ I wondered.
"Garrett?" he said. I groaned in acknowledgement. He continued, "There
has been something on my mind, that has been racking my brain for a long
time…" But the rest was lost as my mind shut down. I fell into a deep
I awoke with the clatter of aluminum against asphalt. They must have
just delivered the canoes. I slipped out of the tent into the cool morning
and was greeted by the sunrise. I walked down the small hill and out to
the shore of the lake. I stepped out onto a pinnacle of a stone and sat
As I watched the sun rise, I heard noises behind me. Mr. and Mrs.
Anderson were up and discussing what time they were going to wake us up and
how. I smiled at the thought of Noah being scared awake. I also reveled
in the feeling that I wasn’t going to be one of them.
I slipped into an air of contentment, my eyes closed and I could feel
the wind against my face. Just the quietness of the area, made me
feel…really really good.
"Hey, Garrett," I heard Brook call. I snapped out of my trance and
looked behind me. There she was leaning against a tree. "How long have
you been up?"
"You know if you had a piece of straw you’d be the perfect country
"Oh, shove off."
"Garrett!! Garrett!! Where the hell is Garrett?" I heard Noah yell
from behind me. I turned my head toward the noise. Not seeing anything
thought the brush I got up and walked the few steeps toward camp. Besides
I was hungry.
"Dude, Noah, I am right here."
"Ohh," he said obviously relieved, "I woke up and there was nobody
there, I though bears came and took you or something."
"You really are freaked about this trip?" I asked.
"Breakfast!! Eat up, its going to be a long day," Mr. Anderson yelled.
"Oatmeal, my favorite," Brook shouted. "How’d you know?"
"Oh, honey, we know everything," Mrs. Anderson explained.
Alex stood back with Noah and I to observe this obscene behavior. What
possessed Brook to become three again was never discovered. Well,
breakfast was short and well, just short. I am not a big fan of oatmeal,
especially when it is fused with all of your daily nutrients.
After breakfast, we collected our things, packed them in the backpacks,
carried our canoes to the shore, packed the canoes and shoved off. Brook
was paired with Alex, Alex being the rudder. I was paired with Noah, I was
the rudder, and Brook’s were paired in a canoe. With three canoes,
there was plenty of room for all of our things.
There isn’t much to do in a canoe on the lake. Your only social contact
is a whole canoe length away and he is facing away from you. The rest are
separated by a body of water. We paddled on the north edge of fall lake,
our canoe acting as lead.
WE curved around an island and made for a pass into the next lake. I
didn’t have the map was tucked into the backpack in front of me but I knew
where to go. I looked back and saw that Alex and Brook were right behind
"Race?" I yelled to them.
"Yes," was the response I heard.
"Noah, GO!!" I yelled. I dug my paddle into the lake as did he. The
bow created waves as were stroked for all that we were worth. On a better
occasion that would sound funny. We went clear across the lack aiming for
a small sandy beach. Our bow crashed into the beach nearly throwing Noah
off the boat. He jumped out, grabbed hold of the bow and pulled us up. I
jumped out into the water and helped.
We were soon joined by Brook and Alex and Finally by Her parents.
"Mighty fine paddling," Mr. Anderson said.
"Thanks," I said with shortness of breath.
"Now lift that sucker onto your shoulders and portage it."
"Yes, there is a bit of work involved."
I grumbled but realized that there was no way around it. Noah and I
emptied the canoe and I clumsily hoisted it onto my shoulders. Thank God
for the shoulder pads on the sides or I would have been a goner. I
carefully set my balance, then took a step forward.
The path was wide and there was plenty of space for mistakes. I
carefully took one step in front of the other. Noah was running lead
calling out obstacles. He was carrying one of those really cumbersome
packs and I had the comfortable one on. ‘Hey, I was carrying a freakin’
canoe, give me a break.’ The trip was short and we passed by many people
with motorboats. Apparently the first few lakes are open to motoring.
After that though, it is clear sailing so to speak.
I was praising Jesus when I saw water on the other side of the path. My
pace quickened and I very sloppily dumped the canoe half in the water half
on land. This earned a scowl from Mr. Anderson. But I wasn’t alone.
Alex too dumped his just the same as I did.
"Find out this trip isn’t going to be all pleasure?" he asked us.
Panting for breath I replied, "Yep, just fine by me." I then smacked a
really fake smile onto my face.
He only sighed saying, "Well get used to it."
We put our stuff back into the canoe. Well, I tossed my pack,
consideration for balance went right out the window with my strength. Noah
got into the canoe and I pushed us out and hopped in. Noah’s arms flung
out in a futile attempt to stabilize us as the canoe rocked back and forth
with my added weight.
"WATER!!" he called out.
"Yea, lots of it," I yelled back.
"Yep, it is my best quality."
"So I noticed." With that he turned and we started up again out into the
It was only a hop skip and a jump to the nest portage so I took it easy.
I was waging two wars anyway. One was with muscles vs. water. The other
being arousal vs. concentration. Noah pulled off his shirt. So for the
next half a day or so I get to stare at his glistening muscles strain as he
plunged his paddle into the water. ‘Concentrate…Concentrate.’
I looked over his shoulder and behind mine. Alex and Brook were a few
yards ahead and the ‘rents, as I heard them called pulled up the rear. I
dug my paddle deep into the water and pushed us forward. Noah getting the
cue plunged his deeper increasing our speed. We gained on them pretty
quick and in the pass I used my paddle to splash them. I got Alex pretty
good and Noah did a good number on Brook. I dug my paddle hard to port and
we made a nice U-turn for another pass. This time they were a bit more
prepared and we got a little wet. Just a little though. They were soaked.
Stupidly I realized that so were the bags in their canoe, including my
The second portage was much like the first. I couldn’t see a damn thing
except for the path about seven feet in front. At one point Noah grabbed
my arm and steered me too the left. Apparently to avoid a tree. We set
the canoe down into the water of Pipestone bay and prepared to shove off
into the largest lake of our journey.