I would like to be me. I would like to have a bird’s eye view of my favorite hunting
units at Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, anything with heavy vegetation.
Let me feed my imagination. Let there be a large open space, preferably far back,
surrounded by heavy stands of tules… a spot reachable only by creating a secret
canoe path — tunnel-like actually — an entrance/exit that even future overhead
spies cannot see.
Knowing where to start is essential. Determination, persistence, and sturdy legs
are prerequisites, as is a very strong heart. Pulling even an empty canoe, through
such cover is exhausting. Later, the canoe will hold everything needed for a full
day of comfortable hunting. For now it must be as light as possible.
Wait until the marsh is empty. Pick the most obscure starting point. Be quiet!
Slip off the canoe encased in waders. It is cold even for early October.
Quietly force an opening, shifting weight left, then right, to gently part
the stalks. Pull canoe in slowly inch by inch, sharp bow in front.
Let the tules drop back into place, cover the entrance completely.
It’s as easy as falling over backward now. The stalks resist but eventually
give way to the heavy weight. No need to get wet. Canoe floats and provides
support. Drag it along. Rest on it frequently.
Keep falling over backwards! It gets easier, decades of doing it say so.
Let the body do the work. Let it weigh down part of the heavy growth but be
sure to leave most as a canopy and cover. Rest but keep pushing: Step back, up,
over and atop the stalks and roots. Force some to the bottom of the marsh.
They are carpet. Walk on them coming and leaving for the rest of the season,
perhaps for years. A huge, beautiful, hidden pond waits.
Just remember… I was there first, last and overhead.
words – Frank Galusha
photos – Anders Tomlinson
©2018 Frank Galusha and Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.