By Russ Hodgins, Adventure Extraordinaire.
I have many friends who have yet to learn the value of camping (I know, weird right!) so in an attempt to explain some of what goes on out there, I send them the following informational emails:
What is a Crazy Creek chair you ask? Well, for the record, Crazy Creek is the brand name so from now on to save time and typing, I shall refer to it only as “The Chair”. A better question might be, why is The Chair important? In previous emails, you may have noticed images where we appear to be sitting on the ground but wait! We are not! The ground is often cold and wet, neither of which add to the enjoyment of a canoe trip. In times BC (Before Chair), one (myself included) made do sitting on a log or a rock close to the fire. But, after a long day in the canoe, one quickly learns that sitting on a log does nothing to support your back. A large recliner could be an option except it’s difficult to portage and probably would flip the canoe. And then it happened…
The Crazy Creek Chair!
The Chair has a simple design such that they fold flat, are lightweight (an important point on long portages) and can strap to the outside of packs for easy carrying. They insulate your butt from the cold hard ground and use the weight of your legs to support your back. I can attest from personal experience that after a long day paddling and portaging, they feel GREAT!
This man shown below has lost his Crazy Creek chair. See how disorientated and confused he seems?! He needs his chair back!
This group is much smarter. See how comfortable they are and how their backs are fully supported as they stop for a mid-day break? They are obviously far more advanced than the Neanderthal we see above.
We see our group with their backs fully supported as they rest below the tarp in a sudden downpour. A careful inspection of the photo shows one more chair that could save our Neanderthal’s back, but he doesn’t seem to understand the part about getting out of the rain. I would also suggest that the male in the background may be a close relative to our caveman:
And once more at another beautiful spot in the Northern Lake Country, we find our friends relaxing on their chairs. But what of our lost soul? Will he ever get a chance to rest his weary bones? To know the comfort that comes from a Crazy Creek Chair? The pleasant sensation as your back muscles uncoil after many trips over long portages?
And so, our Neanderthal was without The Chair and most likely suffering. Now before you start thinking The Chair is a perfect invention, I should caution you. Please look at the group below in a photo from years gone by. Everyone is comfortably seated while using their headlamps to read or draw pictures by the campfire on a warm summer evening on Contact Lake. Where is the harm is this you ask? While it seems tame enough on the surface, danger lurks with a moments inattention!
One second, all is well and then with a slight backward lean an inch too far…it happens!
BOOM! Flat on your back. And don’t expect any help from this bunch of laughing hyenas. No sympathy to be had here. But for the record, it looked like so much fun, several others took a turn:
Now here is where we see if you have been paying attention! It should be obvious in these photos that the sun has set and yet we do not see our faithful campers cowering in a bug tent. But wait you ask! How is this possible? Don’t the mosquitoes come out en masse when darkness sets? How is it that this young man can sit and read comfortably in what appear to be a bug free environment?
The answer comes in the form of a different invention that arrived BBT (Before Bug Tent). Look carefully in between the people in the photo and you should spot a green and black instrument about the size and shape of a walkie-talkie type radio. Here lies the answer to the lack of biting insects in the form of a Thermocell. That is the brand name for a device in which you insert a small butane canister and a scent pad. You ignite the butane which heats up the pad, emitting a scent that we can’t smell but mosquitoes do not like. As you can see in the images it works very well, as long as you sit close to it. For larger groups, we prefer the bug tent.
But I digress, and we seem to have misplaced our Neanderthal. As we can see below, the camp site is spotless, our paddlers have moved on, and he is nowhere to be seen:
After an exhaustive search, we have located evidence below that appears to show our caveman in a seated position, stuffing his face with what we assume is fresh caught fish. Either that or he is doing his best chipmunk imitation. What isn’t obvious is where he is seated. He ain’t that bright so an ant hill isn’t out of the question.
And yet another possible seated photo with the younger Neanderthal but no Chair:
A bit more searching and we have conclusive proof that even the Neanderthal can learn to use a Crazy Creek chair. In this instance, he is seated with the group at a makeshift dining table in a site at the east end of Barker Lake on the Churchill River. (A big wind hit prior to the arrival of our group which is a good thing seeing as he isn’t smart enough to get out of the rain, he most likely would have been out trying to catch the trees).
And here he is in his natural habitat, sitting on a stump washing dishes. (If it wasn’t for the fallen trees, this may well have been the most luxurious site we have ever camped in. I don’t know who hauled out the sink but I loved it!). Note the fashion faux pas: socks and sandals. You can get away with this kinda stuff back in the bush :o)
This next photo may explain a lot. Captured forever is the moment on the trip from Larocque Lake to Missinipi when a low hanging branch peeled the hat off our lead paddlers head and he frantically reached in the rapids to grab it. The moving water claimed the hat and he continued on with nothing to shield his head from the sun for the rest of the trip. It’s anyone’s guess how this may have affected his mental state but the others got to experience his bad hair days for the remainder of their travels. And once again, no sympathy among this cut throat band of paddlers.
The time has come to end the Crazy Creek saga with our intrepid paddler seated on his chair while balancing on a rock along the shore of Versailles Lake with an amazing sunset in the background. And yes, he is once more stuffing his face with lends credence to the theory: if he is sitting down, he is pretty much eating.