Chapter Thirty: Odd Tales from the Files

This is a potpourri of stories from Camp, about events that I remember fondly. Most involve people [often us] behaving strangely.


We can go for a month or more without a visitor to our camp, but we often hear "noises" in the distance. We don't always find out what they are. Sometimes when we do find out, the results are definitely unexpected.

Thursday 21 September 1995- "We were sitting in the house about 1230 when we heard a hammering noise in the woods. I had heard it earlier, and had assumed it had to do with the logging operation, but Sally felt sure this sound was coming from below us in the woods. We walked down toward the outhouse to get a closer hear/look. It was repetitions, almost like hammering, but not continuous. Finally, we saw low trees moving and a dark shape, and concluded that a bear or moose was hitting trees for some reason. It seemed most likely that it was a moose banging his antlers on trees. I ran back to the house to get my camera. When I got back to Sally, she said that she had concluded that it wasn't a wild animal at all, but a man doing "something." We watched a little longer until we were sure, then called out to him. When he answered and we walked over, we found it was a forester on contract to Oxford Paper Co. brushing out and painting their boundary lines. He had started down at our southeast corner post and was working his way up the line. He knew where he was, in the sense that he had a compass and knew what line he was supposed to brush and paint, but had no understanding of the layout of the hill. We compared our survey map and his, and got him oriented. We also showed him a much, much easier route back to his car."


There was a period of time when, every night at almost exactly the same time, we would hear one very distant gunshot. Was Becky correct?

30 July 1994- "Our '2115 shooter' was right on schedule - actually 2117, and he fired two shots instead of one. We haven't heard him/her in quite awhile. Becky says that some people shoot regularly, so people [i.e., game wardens] get used to it and don't react when they are really shooting AT something."


This was a little bit of silliness, made sillier when one remembers that the principal ethnic groups in the North Country are French-Canadian and Norwegian.

Friday 5 May 1995- "We heard on the radio that the "Taste of China Restaurant" in Gorham is having a Cinco de Mayo night - Mexican drinks, Corona beer, and attendees invited to wear Mexican clothes to win prizes. Only in the North Country!"


Weather is always good for stories in the North Country, but this one was a little different.

Thursday June 12 1997- "One episode of the morning rain was exceptional. We were standing outside. There had been a lot of electrical activity, but none had been anywhere near us (off to the south and east, mainly). Suddenly, there were loud 'pings' going off on all sides of us; I said at the time that it reminded me of someone setting off a whole string of lady-finger firecrackers. Neither of us knew what was going on, but we both immediately though 'electricity', and got quite excited and ready to bolt for somewhere. It was only then that we noticed grape-sized hail falling all around us, bouncing off metal roof, pails, etc. It only lasted half a minute, but the beginning was quite exciting."


We were having more than our usual share of bear activity around camp, due to some other folks feeding the bears nearby, and thereby teaching them bad habits. After a few encounters a little closer than we wanted them, we were getting a bit edgy. Added to that, a raccoon had been "friendlier" than we like them to be, especially since there was quite a bit of rabies in the New England population at that time.

Saturday 15 July 1995- "Funny (after the fact!) incident last night. I got up just after midnight, and went outside to relieve myself. When I walked back inside a minute or two later, Sally began screaming at me to 'get out, get out!'. I didn't know if she was even awake, but I was really concerned she would hurl something at me, so I yelled back at her. It seemed to take forever before she heard and understood me. By the time we quit yelling at one another, we were both really shaken. She hadn't heard me go out, or had just heard the screen door close. When she looked over at the door, she thought the raccoon was climbing the screen. Suddenly, the door opened, and all she could think of was scaring off the raccoon/bear,or else getting us up the ladder to the loft, to relative safety. If she heard me calling at all, she must have thought I was talking from the bed next to her. A real heart-pounder and stomach-upsetter!"

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