Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2001

There are always unpredictable things that happen whenever you are dealing with being in the outdoors. Things that just seem to happen for no apparent reason except to make your outing just a little more miserable.

Just a few weeks ago I once again got tangled up with my least favorite plant here in Alaska, the Devils Club! I don't know if other people have as much misery as I do with this plant but I'm still digging out thorns. I have some permanent scares from previous encounters with this plant. Besides staying away from them, is there a secret remedy in getting those thorns out?

I really hate to give in to this plant and let them think they have finally won and subdued me but I have to admit they have really been rough on me. Fighting these thorns for several weeks is bound to make me a whole lot smarter any day now. Ever notice how they always seem to spring up as you walk over them? They are not at all shy about where they attack you! Hey, why are you walking like that? I stepped on a Devils Club and it sprung up and hit me never mind, I like walking like this!

Sometimes those things that happen to us are our own fault. Picking out a long section of a river to float and finding that it takes a lot longer to float it then you originally thought can cause problems too. Especially if your wife has been waiting there for four hours to pick you up! A whole cooler full of fish might not even protect you from that blunder. If you have a choice in the matter you would be further ahead fighting with the Devils Club!

Spending all day fishing and coming home with a mess of fish to clean about four hours later then your expected home may result in having to clean the fish all by yourself too. However with the right combination of whimpering and right words you could luck out and get your wife and kids to help you too! In real difficult situations you may have to offer up flowers or ice cream cones for the kids if all else fails. Sometimes you can pick up flowers for around $3 which is pretty cheap to hire fish cleaning help! Whatever method you chose to use, don't tell your wives you learned it here! ! ! I still can't believe how excited my wife got over my last $3 flowers. You know that look and those special words, "Oh John." Well when my wife says that, I really wasn't thinking a whole lot about cleaning fish myself!

Sometimes them women don't understand all that us men endure just trying to provide food for the table. Spending all that money on that boat motor so we can sneak up on the fish rather then have to use those noisy oars are things the ladies don't understand. Just think how tired we would be if we all had to oar our boats around all day. Yes dear it would be more exercise to oar the boat. However I have found it is really not necessary to be in that good of shape to reel in a fish anyway. So throw away those oars and get that new motor so you can quietly sneak up on the fish. You will be sure to scare them away by breathing as hard as you are! It might be wise to throw in some more $3 flowers before coming in with that new boat motor though.

If money is short maybe you could split the cost of the flowers with your fishing buddy and each take half of them home! If the boat motor has left you broke perhaps you can pick up some flowers at the hospital before they throw them out. In the fall you can always find a vase at a garage sale and fill it with fireweed.

Time is running out but as soon as I am done writing this story, I'm going to check my bear bait again. If I don't find a bear

I'm not coming out well at least not till dark! So if you don't hear from me for a while you will know either I'm still bear hunting, or my wife read this story! In any event I hope to.....

See you next week!

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