Terror at Mill Pond

by Tracy Butler
Just when you thought it was safe to return to the Pond

As the Campologist wife, I sometimes feel pressured into the big outdoors. Don’t get me wrong… I love camping, backpacking, car camping, hotel camping… but I am not a paddler.  I prefer to have my feet moving under me with a grounded sense of getting somewhere.  When in a canoe I’m restless and often have a feeling that I have paddled for hours and really haven't got anywhere. When I tell people I don't like canoeing, I get raised eyebrows and the wispy sounds of "really" oozing from their judgemental mouths. I feel like there is something wrong with me.

Which brings me to Friday. It was the second day of my holidays and I made a decision to be active. I committed to more outdoor activities during my time off. Which includes water sports.  

I informed the Campologist that I was willing to give paddling yet another  try and we loaded up our canoe and set off (after a skeptical look from the Campologist) to a very quiet pond near our cottage.  

It was an ideal sunny summer day, perfect breeze, calm water and good company.  I was determined to prove the Campologist wrong....I too can enjoying canoeing!  

There were a few minor hiccups along the way. The hoard of deer flies biting the ankles and the forgotten water bottle in the car, but I was determined to persevere and remain positive.

Things were going well, I actually had a moment when I said to myself, "This is really nice, no ringing phones, quiet beautiful scenery”...and look over there… a beautiful loon and her chick swimming some 50 metres on our right. What could be better.

It’s important to note that moments before we were paddling through a marsh. The cattails were some five feet above my head, the bugs buzzed and the bird circled.  I asked the Campologist, “will a loon attack us” to which he replied…"there are no documented loon attacks on humans… relax”

Whew, I was really glad to have the wisdom of the Campologist in the stern of the boat... I am becoming a canoeist.

The Campologist likes to take photos… lots of photographs.  So when we saw the Loon and her chick, he wanted to paddle closer for an improved photo opportunity. I firmly said NO .. we should leave them alone I thought....I can be wise in the woods too.

Loon attackingThe angry Loon ... the sneak attack!As we paddled on, terror struck without a moments notice.  To our left, the obviously irritated daddy loon suddenly emerged straight out of the water, as if he was blasting off to space.  He aimed his very sharp, pointy beak in our direction and loudly squawked some God awful screams like I have never heard before. 

The aggressive foul was fluttering and dancing on the water while making himself huge by spreading his massive wings. I could see his sharp calculating claws...(again, thought they had cute little duck feet) which appeared to be lunging towards us. 

My hidden latent canoe gene, kicked into high gear. It was if I was back dragon boat racing....the Campologist was yelling, “stop paddling”… which of course I ignored and just floored it. I had tunnel vision and needed to get some distance from the loons. 

The attack was over and I felt my hard earned tranquil, peaceful feeling shattered and all but gone.  I turned to the Campologist and asked, “Do you have an emergency flask of any kind of adult beverage in your knapsack”....to which he replied " No.. but I have one in the car.”

The next 15 minute we speed paddle back to shore. The time was filled with angst and anxiety, not knowing if the Loon was now stalking us, or possibly planning another dance of terror. All was good and there were no further attacks.

In the past I have always marvelled at the tranquil and peaceful calls of the loon… yesterday things changed everything. I can tell you that evil lurks within those birds, and it will be a while before I get into a canoe again.

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Campologist Talk

A blog for campers by campers. Bruce is the primary contributor, with regular posts from Tracy and friends.

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