*When I Was A Young Man*
By: Terry
01 April 2008

When i was a young man, about 20yrs old, a friend and I decided to go camping, live off the land so to speak. Having read Cache Lake Country several times we knew just what to bring.

Away we went to a semi remote lake in the Cariboo Mountains of British Columbia. If you are interested look up Lac La Hache, British Columbia, then find Fly Lake.

We were at the north end in a old trappers cabin, the trapper had died at least 25 yrs before our visit. There were several bullet holes in the walls, it seems some hill-billy hunting guides, took offense to city folk staying in the cabin, so they would take a few shots if they seen strangers in the cabin. As luck would have it, I went to school with these (good hearted mountain folk), so I called them on the radio phone and things were good.

The supplies we brought for 10 days, 4 dozen eggs, 20 lbs potatoes, 5 lbs bacon,10 lbs onions, 2lbs butter,10lb flour,5lb rice, 20 rammen noodles, and 2 boxes of pancake mix, plus salt pepper baking soda and spices, and a large jug of medicinal whiskey.

We had a friend drop us off, see ya in 10 days he said, now 10 days is nominal as we were to find out. Seems our friend got a camp job offer logging, the plan was for him to come to the head of the lake after 10 days fire 3 shots and wait for us, day one went well the kokanee were spawning, my friend jigged 3 or 4 the first day, mmm mmm good.

Day 2 raining, my pal could not get a fire going, no problem, he had about 1/2 pound of black powder in his gear, as he started shaking it out over the wet fire it ignited, right in his hand. Quicker than it takes to tell his hand was blistered like a base ball mitt. I found a old metal 5 gallon pail out beside the cabin, filled it with snow, as it was late spring, and we started in on the medicine jug. Next day my pal was in bad shape, I cut fire wood, cooked doctered etc. The days passed, no worries we had lots of grub for 10 days, we ate like kings.

Day 10 no ride, day 11 no ride day 12 no ride. I started shooting kokanee (like trout) with my .22 rifle, a close shot stuns them, some times 3-4 if they were close, we still had some onions, flour, potatoes, and spices. Day 15 I shot some muskrats, day 16 a beaver, great survival food, so the books say, we were hungry and still could barely eat the flesh. Tried cooking the tail over the fire, poof to much oil in it, it turned into a torch.

Day 16 found some para line, some camper left behind, made a fish net, caught a bunch of kokanee spawning in the creek, getting tired of fish.

Day 17 snared some squirrels, 5 or 6, they tasted like they were basted with urine.

Day 23 my pals hand was pretty much healed, and we were out of every thing including salt, so we decided to walk out, the nearest house / farm was 10 miles or so away.

While we were walking my city friend noticed some bird houses nailed to trees along side the road. Stupid city dweller I replied, thems trap boxes, here let me show you. I stuck my right hand up inside to remove the trap and snap it went right across my thumb and fingers, I started wailing like a banshee, as my pal was rolling around in the pine needles. I wiped a tear from my eye and explained how to remove the conibear trap.

As we walked my heart felt like it moved to my hand. Hanging my head and scuffing my toe we walked on, too bad we had already used up our medicinal jug.

long story short, we got to a phone, sister picked us up and all was good. Lessons learned, commo, commo, commo, have it, use it, plan for the worse, hope for the best. Head for the hills is tough, even when the fish are spawning, as a side note we did not see even 1 deer, bear or moose in 23 days.

This was where I hunted every fall, always got a moose, couple of deer and bear, once again, don't count on living off the land.
Terry



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