- Some may ask where
"The Alaska Muskeg Machine" came from but it did not really
- come from a single place as much as just
from normal life in the last great frontier.
- I have been hunten and fishen all my life.
It is a fact of life that if you participate in
- enough outdoor efforts, many of them will
go where they were not intended to go.
- Those trips are the ones you just try to
survive and forget about, but alas those are
- the same efforts which later make such
- Many of these stories
came straight from the dark side of regular outdoor endeavor's.
- The first one I wrote came from an attempt
to make myself feel better about a hunten trip
- which was a complete disaster. We got
totally soaked, frozen and nearly starved to
- death all while never even getting a
glimpse of the wary quarry we were after.
- I wrote a lighthearted summary of the
whole mess hoping to cheer myself up, just
- enough to allow me to plan the next trip.
I soon discovered that not all the fun of
- hunten & fishen could be found
within chasing something down and blasting it or
- sticking a hook into it. I found that
there is much wisdom & humor to be discovered
- within both successful and unsuccessful
hunten & fishen trips. I found that locating
- humor within disaster is like repairing a
broken machine and making it functional again.
- Very few people can
identify with folks who only have successful adventures.
- That's because in the real world, many
times all of your best plans just seem to
- somehow vaporize before your eyes at the
last minute. Now that's something people
- can identify with, plain old disaster. You
make your plans and head down the road
- only to have the unexpected jump out of
the bushes and upset your apple cart.
- It is a curious thing that many folks will
go into the outdoors seeking peace and
- solitude only to find outrageous
catastrophes that they would have never encountered
- if they had stayed at home.
- These stories are dedicated
to all those safe and needy individual's who have their feet
- propped up as they stare blankly into the
television. I'll take a half froze foot any day
- over being totally bored to death by our
modern entertainment industry. Hopefully a few
- will turn off some of the noise, and trade
it in for some of my half baked, half truth ramblings
- and start to regret canceling that fishen
trip just because of a questionable weather forecast.
- Maybe they will just say to heck with the
weather report and go anyway, just because
- you never know what great nightmarish but
memorable story you will get out of
- your next great outdoor
- 2 - Preface
- 5 - The Alaska Muskeg
- 13 -- Steelhead
- 24 -- Real Bear Pictures
- 33 -- Back Yard Fishen
- 41 -- The Veteran
- 47 -- Concrete Nerd
- 51 -- Fish Wars
- 57 -- Never Give A Bank
Fisherman A Break
- 67 -- BB Gun
- 76 -- Mosquito Guts
- 80 -- Sparrows In The Woods
- 87 -- Three Monkeys
- 97 -- Sky Rats
- 101 -- Trevor's Potato
- 117 -- Salmon Wasp
- 126 -- Fishen Zombies
- 131 -- The Cat With No Tail
- 142 -- Bears & Blue Berries
- 151 -- Ice Worms
- 164 -- The Great King Salmon Caper
- Outdoor Humor
& Outrageous Catastrophes
- Chapter 1. The Alaska Muskeg Machine
- I was watching Trevor trying
to load his rifle while he was standing on the float of the plane.
- I had an instant vision of him blasting a
hole in one of the floats.
- "Don't go loading
up your rifle till ya get on dry land," I said.
- He looked up and tried
to make a face at me while mumbling and stepping off the float.
- He stepped off into mud which spilled
right over the top of his boots. Watching him crawl
- through the mud on his hands and knees was
down right delightful. He was covered in
- mud from head to toe.
- "Man, why are you
always trying to talk to me right when I'm doing something
- important?" Trevor asked.
- He sloshed around on
the shore for a while and then sat down and started scraping mud off.
- Ray and I went to get some wood for a fire
to help dry him out, after we got done rolling
- around on the ground laughing. I had flown
Trevor Sheppard, Ray Silva and myself into a
- lake about ten miles from Nowhere, Alaska.
We had no idea what the lakes name was.
- The important thing was that it was a good
two hour flight from anywhere civilized and
- it felt good to be free of cars, work and
lots of crazy nutzo people, of which Alaska
- has a very large surplus. I had heard that
the area held a lot of big moose and we did
- see some good bulls as we flew in. We were
looking forward to getting out and hunten.
- The weather was perfect; it was September,
cold at night and warm during the
- day but no snow yet. We camped near the
plane that night.
- The next morning there
wasn't a breath of wind at all on the half-mile long lake as it
- reflected the spectacular mountain scenery
everywhere. Trevor and Ray decide to
- hike a couple miles away to hunt and I
tried hunten near the plane for a few hours that
- morning. I had just come back from
trudging over the muskeg all morning long in full hip boots
- and was plum wore out. The plane was tied
off tail first to the shore as I stepped onto
- its left float. It felt good to get back.
I hadn't seen a single moose but there was a lunch
- in the plane with my name on it. I jumped
in, looked around to make sure nobody
- was looking, unloaded my rifle and placed
it on the back seat. About then Trevor and
- Ray came bouncing out of the bushes behind
- "Hey I saw that,
oh yeah sure, don't mess with your gun in the plane, right!" Trevor said.
- "What are you
talking about? I was just checking out my rifle," I said.
- "Yeah right,"
- "Did you see
anything?" Ray asked.
- "Nope but I did
get a great workout hauling myself over all that rotten muskeg," I responded.
- "We didn't see any
either," Ray added.
- "Boy that muskeg
is funny stuff, it's like your walking up a staircase that never ends," I said.
- "Yeah each step
you take sinks into six inches of moss, so you have to pull every step
- out of a six inch hole," Trevor
- "Yep it's one heck
of a work out!" I replied.
- "I'm surprised
nobody has come up with a muskeg exercise machine," Trevor said.
- "That there's not
a bad idea'r, we should put one together when we get back," I said.
- We never did even get a
shot at any moose on that trip but as soon as we got back we
- went over to Trevor's placed and started
talking about building a muskeg exercise machine.
- "You guys are
crazy, nobody is going to want to buy a muskeg exercise machine, besides
- there are so many of those things out
there for people to buy, why would they want to
- buy yours?" Ray asked.
- I had managed to bring
back a pile of muskeg from our hunten trip and brought it with
- me so I started walking up and down on it.
- "This stuff make a
great work out," I said.
- "Think of it,
everyone in the country walking up and down on our muskeg, everyone will
- want one of these," Trevor added.
- Trevor was getting that
nutty look again, as he leaned back in his La-Z-Boy, then his
- face lights up and he says," lets put
- Since none of us had
ever put anything like that together before, we just sort of
- stood around staring at the floor and each
other. It's a sad day when three growed
- mountain men decide to do something and
none of them have a clue as to how to do it.
- We sat around there searching our brains
every which way but we just did not know
- how to get started.
- "We could build a
sort of platform with places in it to slide the muskeg into," Trevor said.
- "A set of handle
bars, a mileage indicator and we're in business," I added.
- We both headed
for the power tools when Ray cut in.
- "What the heck ya
talking about? The two of you haven't got a brain between ya.
- Just take some of that there muskeg, stuff
a bunch of it into some really big boots,
- and you're done," Ray added.
- Trevor and I looked at
him like he had gone nuts, and then Trevor stopped squinting
- his eyes and started nodding his head
- "Where do you
think we could get boots that big?" Trevor asked.
- "You can't be
thinking that we're going to stuff boots with muskeg and sell them?" I asked.
- "Why not? We have
done lots crazier stuff than that?" Trevor responded.
- I had to agree with
that claim; we had done lots crazier stuff than that. Off we went to
- the Army Navy store in Ray's rat-trap 1956
pickem-up truck. We were going to get
- some monster boots so we could test them
out stuffed full of muskeg.
- At the army surplus
store we spotted a wiry looking guy behind the counter with quarter
- inch thick glasses.
- "What are you
fellers looking for?" the clerk asked.
- "We're looking for
some really monster boots," I said.
- "What size?"
- "Oh the size don't
really mater, they just needs to be really big," I said.
- He went through his
stuff for a couple of minutes and came back with these size
- 15 Mickey Mouse boots. I could not believe
how big they were.
- "Those boots must
have been the biggest the U.S. government ever made," I said.
- "There big enough
to fit a gorilla," Trevor said.
- "Well maybe they
were used for some of that there gorilla warfare stuff," Ray pointed
- out, as Trevor started to try them on.
- "Now you can be
all that you can be Trevor, remember that clown you
- always wanted to be?" Ray added.
- Trevor didn't care what he
looked like, so everyone we went by just stared at his boots
- all the way back to his house. We started
stuffing muskeg into those boots as soon
- as we got back and Trevor slid them on and
started walking around.
- "It's like walking
on air!" Trevor said smiling.
- He started walking
everywhere in those muskeg boots. If he had to brush his teeth, he would
- put on the muskeg boots to exercise over
to the bathroom. Everywhere Trevor went you
- saw him there in those monster muskeg
- I knew that he'd been
wearing them boots for a few day so when I saw him coming
- out of the hardware store I thought I
should ask him.
- "How is the
testing program going?" I asked.
- "It's going great
but there have been some wear and tear concerns," he responded.
- "All that muskeg
keeps getting mashed down and losing its exercising effects," he added.
- "Well what did you
do to get around that," I asked.
- "Drop over to my
house in a few minutes and I will show ya the solution," he said.
- As I pulled into his
driveway I could see him bouncing up and down on the porch in the boots.
- "Ok where's the
big solution?" I asked.
in here," he said.
- That was when he went
over and opened up the garage door. He had this huge pile of
- muskeg in the middle of his garage.
- "I just went out
and got me a whole bunch of the stuff so I can keep it fresh," Trevor added.
- "I don't think
people are going to want to keep a pile of muskeg around their house," I said.
- "Well then we are
just going to have to come up with another idea because that there
- stuff wears out," Trevor stated.
- He started to get that
meltdown look on his face.
- "Lets go inside and have something
hot to drink, it's freezing out here,"
- While sipping hot chocolate we started
hearing noises coming from the garage.
- I looked at him and we both jumped for the
door to see what was going on.
- Once we could see inside the garage the
cause of the noise was easy to see.
- A moose had wandered into the garage and
was munching on his pile of muskeg.
- Trevor started to freak out.
- "Hey you
can't eat my muskeg!" Trevor screamed at the moose.
- Then he looked at me and
screamed, "It's a moose! How we going to get him out of there?"
- I had no idea so I just shrugged my
shoulders and shook my head. Trevor was the
- kind of guy who would just react to
situations and that is exactly what he did. He quickly
- shut the garage door and then looked at me
like he had just discovered world peace or something.
- "What do you think
you're doing?" I asked.
- "Solving the
problem," he claimed.
- Both of our eyes
got real wide when we heard the crashing sounds coming from inside the garage.
- Then we heard a huge crash and felt small
earthquake along with it. Running around to the
- side of his garage we watched that moose
exiting the area with half of Trevor's
- power tools dangling from his horns. He
then started screaming as his wood working
- future ran into the nearby woods. I
watched him disappear down the road beside the woods.
- Once I had recovered
enough to see clearly I watched him return and then leave
- again with his hunten rifle. He apparently
was going to blast that moose to get his stuff back.
- He was running down the street wearing
those monster muskeg boots and carrying his moose rifle
- when the police car pulled up next to him.
- "Trevor, what ya doing running down
the road with that there moose gun?" Officer Dan asked.
- Trevor slowed down a little, and
tried to explain.
- "Hi Officer Dan!
You're probably wondering why I'm running down the road wearing
- these monster boots and hauling my moose
hunten gun?" he asked as Officer Dan pushed his hat
- back on his head slightly, he was glaring
at Trevor as he drove beside him.
- "Well ya see, there was this really
huge moose who broke into my garage and stole all
- of my power tools!" Trevor explained.
- Every guy knows what
it's like to have a power tool stolen, so without a second
- thought Officer Dan told him to jump in
the car and the two of them went sailing
- around the corner with the lights flashing
and siren whaling. That moose had a
- big advantage because he knew the area a
lot better than those guys and didn't announce
- where he went with sirens and lights. They
tore all over town chasing that moose but
- never even stood a chance. Hours later
they showed up back a Trevor's place with
- the "we lost him look" on their
faces. We took a look at the damage and started talking
- about what it was going to take to close
up the garage.
- I could not help myself; I just had to
- "What were you
thinking when you shut that moose inside the garage?" I asked.
- Trevor paused and
thought for a second.
- "Well I thought
that closing the door would somehow give us time to think of a solution."
- "And you had no
idea that the thing might destroy the place?" I asked.
- "I didn't think
that far ahead," he added.
- "Well you really
did it this time," I said.
- The only real problem
with Trevor's crazy idea's are that they usually result in
- bad things happening to me. I was pretty
happy that this time it happened only to him.
- We grabbed a bunch of plywood that he had
laying around and tried to close up the hole.
- "How we going to cut this
stuff?" I asked as we leaned the sheets up against the wall.
- "I'll just go get
my electric saw," he replied, but the words stuck in his mouth because he
- knew that saw was now wrapped around that
- "I will just get a
hand saw," he added. <><
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