Adventure on a Des Moines River Trap Line
With the image of those two beavers inside their den I could scarce think about or talk about anything else as we made our way back to the cabin. By the time we got to the last set it was near dark and we discovered a fine red fox recently caught. Jerry dispatched him, reset his trap and off we went. The fox was amazing and very exciting but the beaver still had my attention.
It was getting colder and despite the quick pace we moved at I was not heating up like I had earlier in the day. My coat that I had shed when we started no longer seemed adequate to keep me warm. It was by now very dark in the woods despite a half moon and like every kid in every dark forest through out history I started to see things moving in the shadows, sounds that were NOT there in the daylight! Suddenly my brother stopped, he must be seeing and hearing the same thing! I swung around to check behind to see if I was about to be overtaken by....... Jerry turned and pointed ahead of us, "Do you see that?" I peered ahead into the darkness and saw a glow of light on up the hill towards the edge of the timber. My brother cautioned me to move quietly till we could see what was going on. Now you all remember what it was like to be 10 years old, a long way from home, dark woods, cold, wind picking up and unknown glow ahead. It could be robbers hiding out from the Sheriff, or moonshiners...
So, here we are, its sure to be...before I could finish my thought my brother stands up and hollers out, "Hello in the camp, we're coming back from checking our trap line, do you mind if we come in?" Why would he do that, give away our position??? From behind the glow, which by now I could clearly see was a camp fire, I heard a voice holler back to come on ahead. By now I am shaking, might have been the cold but mostly I just remember being scared at that point!
The closer we got my fears were vanquished a little with each step as it became increasingly obvious that there was just one man sitting in front of his lean-to cooking over a camp fire. His Winchester was leaned up against one of the poles holding up his canvas, some traps were hanging off the pole on the other side. Behind him was a bed roll with a red Hudson Bay blanket on top. A trappers basket was at the pole with the traps hanging and he was sitting at his fire pushing some coals closer to something on the other side. He asked us to come on in and sit under the lean-to, said it would be warmer there and it was. Then he told us we were just in time to have some of his desert. Next thing I know to my wide eyed amazement out from across the fire came a pan with a chocolate cake. He told us he was sorry there was no icing for it but he said its pretty tasty just out of his reflector oven. He was right! Warm cake, a warm fire and out of the wind, I thought this was the life for me, I was going to become a trapper, a man of the woods.
Returning to the cabin my brother got the fire going in the wood stove and opened up a couple cans of corned beef hash. He said after supper we would skin the beavers and the fox.
We had stayed a Steve's camp for almost an hour, enjoying the cake, swapping trapping stories and finding out that he knew our Grand parents by way of his grand parents that lived about five miles from ours. What a day, I was sure it couldn't get any better than this!!!
Until next time, keep the fire going.