Reader Enjoys & Responds To Mack Samples Column

(03/13/2009)

Dear Editor

I enjoyed reading the Rural Free Delivery - The End Of The World Bend article by Mack Samples.

Mack was just a little fellow when I was a teenager. I was a good friend to members of his family. We had a lot of experiences on Elk River. Here is one associated with the "End of the World."

Each summer when we were teenagers we spent time boating on the Elk River. Mack's brother, Kyle, his cousin, Lowell, Jim Bail and I got jobs hoeing corn or some other work. We made enough money to buy some groceries. We packed up our bed rolls and got our out Jon boat. We talked someone who owned a truck into taking us up the river. On this day we put in at Strange Creel. We planned to paddle and float back home to Corton, a very long trip.

After a day or two we had not traveled very far. Recalculating our time vs the distance traveled we realized that we would not make it before our food ran out. We rounded the bend at the "End of the World" and passed Jumping Gut with our two paddles cut from boards.

There on the river bank was a beautiful skift with a set of oars. Further up on the bank there was a camp with three men sitting on the porch. I studied the problem and presented my plan to Kyle, Jim and Lowell. My plan was: "We will rush in, grab the oars and be gone before the three men can react and get down to their boat."

Everyone agreed and we paddled in next to their boat, grabbed the oars, put them into the locks and the way we went. The men jumped up, yelled and ran down to the shore where their boat was tied. One man had grabbed two paddles from the porch. In a matter of minutes they were after us. But we were not worried. We had two homemade paddles and a set of oars. We rapidly pulled away from them, happy that our problem was solved. I almost stood up and took a bow for my thinking of the idea.

Then it happened, no one was looking out the front. We ran upon a large submerged tree. We struggled but could not get off of the log. The three men caught us and much to our surprise all they did was take their oars back and push us out into the river. Their last words were: "Have a good trip and behave yourselves." We arrived at Corton three days late and starving.

Sincerely,

James C. Haught