Last Wednesday I awoke and saw two of my Tucson buddies casting into the river in the semi-bright pre-dawn light.
It was 3:30.
I tucked my face back into my sleeping bag and closed my eyes. That’s why I don’t want to be a guide.
Adam and Plano are my friends. I want them to catch fish but am not tied financially to their results. They can do what they want, like wake up with the coals from the previous night’s fire still glowing, catch no fish and I don’t have to worry.
As a guide, if I arrived at a camping spot with six clients and had to sleep them under a shelter made from a two-man tent, three strips of tarp and 30 zip ties, I’d be out of business. Especially if none of them caught salmon.
Had my fishermen flipped their canoes three times while floating a river, no one would book me again.
If I told six paying visitors that they had to dress in one of my old flannel shirts and run the 6-mile Fourth of July Firecracker Fun Run on five hours sleep, without training, and get passed by a sneaky runner while taking a guide-mandated break to play on the swings at a playground, they’d refuse.
If during Lund’s Alaskan Adventures I encouraged my clients to run down the One Duck trail which drops 1,100 feet in 1.25 miles and three of them fell (one popping his shoulder out and bruising ribs) they’d sue.
I could probably get guests to sing You Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’ to Tess and Lynsey over a campfire, but it probably wouldn’t make Lynsey snort and Tess laugh at Lynsey’s snorting like it did.
To commercialize my summers would be to soil my month with Mom and visits by friends like the Tucson crew. They were fascinated by the experience as a whole (even the two who had been up here before) — the blunders, the disasters, the black bear growling at us — and in no way thought that the trip entitled them to anything but a chance to reunite.
They paid for gas, rented the suburban, washed dishes and helped me burn old wood scraps every night as the sun set.
They knocked out some big projects on Mom’s list — chopping two cords of firewood, crawling under the house to help me replace an old pipe that supplies water to an outside hose and eating the rhubarb bread and cookies she made for them. You don’t get that as the proprietor of a business.
With all that going on, it’s no wonder the TV wasn’t turned on once in the 10 days they were here.
If there is something deeper in this, it’s probably something about attitude which enhances experiences and keeps things fresh. At some point in college I lived with all those dudes. It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but the years are stacking up in bunches it seems.
But there are inevitabilities we can’t do anything about. Before you know it, a lot of life has happened and you can only hope you’ve been surrounded by doers with the right attitude, habit of laughing and who match your level of campfire singing abilities.
To contact Jeff Lund, email firstname.lastname@example.org.