Outdoor Etiquette

Is it just me, or is this world we live in going totally crazy? Not long ago an elderly woman sued McDonalds for several millions dollars because the coffee she purchased and proceeded to spill in her lap, burned her legs. How about the guy from New Jersey who killed a rat that was destroying his garden and had criminal charges filed against him by an animal rights group. Lets be reasonable here guys. Reasonable is the key word. When I hear stories like this I make a nasty comment and then chuckle to myself realizing I have no control over them. Thank goodness I am not in the coffee business or a manufacturer of rat traps.

What does this have to do with canoeing? With Labor Day Weekend upon us it is time to put another busy summer to rest. My mind is clogged having dealt with my fair share of crazy people and physically I am just tired. Time to clean out the system and relax. Saturday evening I took a hard, 2 hour canoe ride to do just that. The weather was beautiful and although there was a fair amount of canoe and power boat traffic on the river, it was not a distraction. I have always been amazed at how courteous boaters are on the Connecticut.

Now that my system is clean it is time to fill it with some fresh, relaxing thought. For this I headed to Long Pond for an evening of fishing. Just the dog and I. Long Pond is a great place to feel like you are out in the middle of nowhere without having to travel that far. When I arrived there were two ladies enjoying the peace, quiet, and pleasant views just as I planned to do. I quickly got myself organized and began paddling out into the pond.

dog in canoe

It was a beautiful evening. The water was mirror smooth and to top it off there was a loon calling from the far end of the pond. Suddenly I heard a vehicle coming at what seemed to be a great speed. I was wrong, there were two of them. They screamed up to the boat launch and skidded to a halt, shattering the silence and sending clouds of dust everywhere. To add insult to injury one guy upon exiting his truck left the stereo on excessively loud and bellowed in a deep voice "you were right, this place is F@#!!! beautiful." (This yahoo had to be a flatlander, I thought to myself.)

Not feeling that I was being rude, I turned around and asked that he turn down his radio, not really expecting him to, but what the hell, it was worth a shot. He hesitated a moment and to my amazement stomped over to his truck and turned it off. "Hope you're happy, now go eat a granola bar" he yelled as I thanked him. I would like to have seen the expressions on the two ladies relaxing on the dam at this point.

Feeling that I got out of that one relatively easy I continued on only to be disturbed a moment later by this bozo dropping his aluminum canoe from his car (on purpose) onto the cement boat ramp. So much for my quiet evening. That echo will be bouncing around for weeks. (I've got it, this guy is an All Star wrestler and he is here filming a commercial for a new natural deodorant. To bad he did not attend Hulk Hogan's school of etiquette.)

Mr. YaHoo continued his boisterous ways for most of the evening. He even managed to tee off the resident loon who vigorously sounded her warning tremolo again and again. After a few mumbled nasty comments and discussing it with my faithful dog I found myself chuckling. Not much else I could do. Feeling refreshed (albeit in a different way then I had planned) I packed up and headed home.

The gentleman in this story I am sure had no clue as to how rude he was being. Obviously he thought the same of me. You be the judge. By the way, you're welcome, I cleaned up your trash when I left.

With the popularity of outdoor recreation growing by leaps and bounds it is inevitable that these conflicts of interest will happen. I hope however they are few and far between. We all need to be aware of the rights of others. It will benefit us all if we keep this in mind as we explore the wild areas we enjoy so much. Please be especially careful of the land and waterways your traverse. Whether public or private the increased pressure from travelers will take its toll if we are not careful. Take only pictures and leave only footprints states the backpackers motto (canoeist leave whirlpools, but only for a moment).

Happy Paddling, from the Granola Man!!!

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