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Over the waterfalls

Stories had been told and retold about the rapids on a specific river.

I could tell you the name of the river but then you would know one of my favorite trout streams. We will just have to agree that it is a river in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains; and we can leave it at that.

There are a few guides that know this particular section of my trout stream. Alvah Dunn, sometimes called Dunning, is one. Mitchell Sabattis is another. I am sure others knew about it but never let on that they did. The only reason I knew that Alvah and Mitchell knew about my stream was because I caught them fishing there quite a few times.

Maybe I should not have said “caught them” because it wasn’t my stream. It was everybody’s stream. Alvah and Mitchell acted sheepish when I met them there. Maybe they felt guilty because they also did not want anybody else to know that they knew about it.

But my story is not about Alvah and Mitchell. It is about a bunch of tenderfeet from the city that were staying at a particular lodge. I can’t say which one because then you may start getting an idea of where I am talking about.

I knew this lodge wouldn’t let anyone take their canoes without stating the boundaries. You know – – – the boundaries of where the canoes could go and where they could not go. The boundaries were set for two reasons.

First, if a tenderfoot got lost in these woods, or worse yet if there was a canoe accident, then the lodge owner was responsible for finding him. That could take days. The second reason is that there were dangerous rapids on many of the rivers and streams in these North Woods. We have lost more than one sport who couldn’t find his way out of the woods. And several canoes have been found smashed on the rocks – – – but no bodies to go with them.

So imagine my surprise when I was fishing on my favorite stream one day and I started hearing screams of panic. I looked up to see the first of four canoes careening down the rapids towards a steep waterfall. The first canoe was occupied by a skilled paddler. Down the rapids and over the falls he went. Somehow he ended upright and turned his canoe around to see how his pals were doing.

The second canoe held two men. They also appeared to be somewhat skilled. They made it over the falls but the weight of the man in the front made the canoe dip into the water. The canoe remained upright but was completely swamped.

The third canoe never reached the waterfalls before it tipped over in the rapids. The empty canoe seemed to sail over the falls and was immediately followed by two paddles. It seemed like forever before the two bobbing heads cleared the falls and dropped into the pool below.

The last canoe had the same fate.

By time they were finished with my stream there were no fish biting. That was OK. It was fun.

I never did find out how they got back to the lodge.

Tahawas and Tomosky c