Tales from the Tail End - These Folks Know How to Do It Right!
- Even though she had read my trip reports and knew of my nefarious reputation as a redoubtable trip leader, a very nice lady known to me as Pan contacted me some time ago about doing a trip through the Three Sisters on the Black River. We conversed through e-mail; she told me that she and a group of friends like to do a paddle around the first day of spring, so we set up the trip for March 19.
Pan is an unusual name, and I admit that my mind kept dredging up Greek mythology when I saw it. I asked Pan if her group were part of any club but she informed me that they were just a group of friends from central North Carolina who did an annual spring trip together. She never gave me much information about the folks which left me to my fervid and fertile imagination. By the day of the trip, I had decided that I was likely leading a bunch of Wiccans or Druids into the swamp and that pagan ritual and sacrifice might be involved. So when they all showed up at Henry's Landing, I kept watch out for anyone bringing a live goat, big knives, black candles or big ropes. Turns out, they were all normal, kind gentle people, or at least gave that impression.
We had an extremely enjoyable paddle down the river and through the swamp, taking our time and reveling in the sights and companionship.
At the end of the trip, those of Pan's Paddlers who were camped at Mossy Log invited Pam and me to share their dinner.
These folks know how to do it right. They brought their own gourmet chef, who remained at camp and spent the afternoon preparing a meal to rival any restaurant. We were served a tray of appetizers that included Brie and another soft cheese warmed on the grill and marinated with a sauce, portabello mushrooms and some kind of hard Italian ham slices, served with cold wine. Then the olives were passed around. Next came the tray of freshly steamed clams and we all put our forks to the clam opening test. When there was nothing but shells left, Steve the Chef served the main course, a big bowl of pasta with olive oil, more steamed clams and three different wilted greens on top, one being collards. A fight nearly broke out on who got to the bowl first. True to any great meal, Steve then produced a large cold bowl of tiramisu and an observer would have thought that we were a bunch of starving Ethiopians and a couple of folks in the group had to be restrained from licking the empty dish. Mixed with the elixir of new friends and great company, it was the ultimate finish to a magnificent day.
Don Meece, I thought of you the whole time I was eating that sumptuous meal. If they ever invite me to another paddle and promise to bring Steve the Chef, I'll ask if you can come along too.
Anybody got a toothpick?