This last trip pushed us and our students physically. Low water meant lots of walking boats and portaging around obstacles we’d usually be able to float right over. Frustrations during trips like this one can get pretty high, but there always seems to be something to balance it out. Our first day leaving the headwaters was one of the of the physically hardest days I’ve ever had on the Aroostook. When we stopped for lunch, I was frustrated and irritable. Almost immediately a pair of whisky jacks showed up and brought a little lightness to the group, taking food right from hands, and playing games of hide and seek with the camp dog.
Around here the whisky jacks are thought of as the souls of old woodsmen and loggers, folks who probably had days on this river much more challenging than ours was. It’s a refreshing thought to imagine they showed up knowing we’d benefit from a little lightness.