Some may ask where "The Alaska Muskeg Machine" came from but it did not really
come from a single place as much as just from normal life in the last great frontier.
I have been hunten and fishen all my life. It is a fact of life that if you participate in
enough outdoor efforts, many of them will go where they were not intended to go.
Those trips are the ones you just try to survive and forget about, but alas those are
the same efforts which later make such wonderful tales.
    Many of these stories came straight from the dark side of regular outdoor endeavor's.
The first one I wrote came from an attempt to make myself feel better about a hunten trip
which was a complete disaster. We got totally soaked, frozen and nearly starved to
death all while never even getting a glimpse of the wary quarry we were after.
I wrote a lighthearted summary of the whole mess hoping to cheer myself up, just
enough to allow me to plan the next trip. I soon discovered that not all the fun of
hunten & fishen could be found within chasing something down and blasting it or
sticking a hook into it. I found that there is much wisdom & humor to be discovered
within both successful and unsuccessful hunten & fishen trips. I found that locating
humor within disaster is like repairing a broken machine and making it functional again. 
    Very few people can identify with folks who only have successful adventures.
That's because in the real world, many times all of your best plans just seem to
somehow vaporize before your eyes at the last minute. Now that's something people
can identify with, plain old disaster. You make your plans and head down the road
only to have the unexpected jump out of the bushes and upset your apple cart.
It is a curious thing that many folks will go into the outdoors seeking peace and
solitude only to find outrageous catastrophes that they would have never encountered
if they had stayed at home.
   These stories are dedicated to all those safe and needy individual's who have their feet
propped up as they stare blankly into the television. I'll take a half froze foot any day
over being totally bored to death by our modern entertainment industry. Hopefully a few
will turn off some of the noise, and trade it in for some of my half baked, half truth ramblings
and start to regret canceling that fishen trip just because of a questionable weather forecast.
Maybe they will just say to heck with the weather report and go anyway, just because
you never know what great nightmarish but memorable story you will get out of
your next great outdoor adventure.  
Table Of Contents
    2 -  Preface
    5 - The Alaska Muskeg Machine
  13 -- Steelhead
  24 -- Real Bear Pictures
  33 -- Back Yard Fishen
  41 -- The Veteran
  47 -- Concrete Nerd
  51 -- Fish Wars
  57 -- Never Give A Bank Fisherman A Break
  67 -- BB Gun
  76 -- Mosquito Guts
  80 -- Sparrows In The Woods
  87 -- Three Monkeys
  97 -- Sky Rats
101 -- Trevor's Potato
117 -- Salmon Wasp
126 -- Fishen Zombies
131 -- The Cat With No Tail
142 -- Bears & Blue Berries
151 -- Ice Worms
164 -- The Great King Salmon Caper
Outdoor  Humor & Outrageous Catastrophes
Chapter 1. The Alaska Muskeg Machine
   I was watching Trevor trying to load his rifle while he was standing on the float of the plane.
I had an instant vision of him blasting a hole in one of the floats.
    "Don't go loading up your rifle till ya get on dry land," I said.
    He looked up and tried to make a face at me while mumbling and stepping off the float.
He stepped off into mud which spilled right over the top of his boots. Watching him crawl
through the mud on his hands and knees was down right delightful. He was covered in
mud from head to toe.
    "Man, why are you always trying to talk to me right when I'm doing something
important?" Trevor asked.
    He sloshed around on the shore for a while and then sat down and started scraping mud off.
Ray and I went to get some wood for a fire to help dry him out, after we got done rolling
around on the ground laughing. I had flown Trevor Sheppard, Ray Silva and myself into a
lake about ten miles from Nowhere, Alaska. We had no idea what the lakes name was.
The important thing was that it was a good two hour flight from anywhere civilized and
it felt good to be free of cars, work and lots of crazy nutzo people, of which Alaska
has a very large surplus. I had heard that the area held a lot of big moose and we did
see some good bulls as we flew in. We were looking forward to getting out and hunten.
The weather was perfect; it was September, cold at night and warm during the
day but no snow yet. We camped near the plane that night.
    The next morning there wasn't a breath of wind at all on the half-mile long lake as it
reflected the spectacular mountain scenery everywhere. Trevor and Ray decide to
hike a couple miles away to hunt and I tried hunten near the plane for a few hours that
morning. I had just come back from trudging over the muskeg all morning long in full hip boots
and was plum wore out. The plane was tied off tail first to the shore as I stepped onto
its left float. It felt good to get back. I hadn't seen a single moose but there was a lunch
in the plane with my name on it. I jumped in, looked around to make sure nobody
was looking, unloaded my rifle and placed it on the back seat. About then Trevor and
Ray came bouncing out of the bushes behind the plane.
    "Hey I saw that, oh yeah sure, don't mess with your gun in the plane, right!" Trevor said.
    "What are you talking about? I was just checking out my rifle," I said.
    "Yeah right," Trevor said.
    "Did you see anything?" Ray asked.
    "Nope but I did get a great workout hauling myself over all that rotten muskeg," I responded.
    "We didn't see any either," Ray added.
    "Boy that muskeg is funny stuff, it's like your walking up a staircase that never ends," I said.
    "Yeah each step you take sinks into six inches of moss, so you have to pull every step
out of a six inch hole," Trevor added.
    "Yep it's one heck of a work out!" I replied.
    "I'm surprised nobody has come up with a muskeg exercise machine," Trevor said.
    "That there's not a bad idea'r, we should put one together when we get back," I said.
    We never did even get a shot at any moose on that trip but as soon as we got back we
went over to Trevor's placed and started talking about building a muskeg exercise machine.
    "You guys are crazy, nobody is going to want to buy a muskeg exercise machine, besides
there are so many of those things out there for people to buy, why would they want to
buy yours?" Ray asked.
    I had managed to bring back a pile of muskeg from our hunten trip and brought it with
me so I started walking up and down on it.
    "This stuff make a great work out," I said.
    "Think of it, everyone in the country walking up and down on our muskeg, everyone will
want one of these," Trevor added.
    Trevor was getting that nutty look again, as he leaned back in his La-Z-Boy, then his
face lights up and he says," lets put one together"!
    Since none of us had ever put anything like that together before, we just sort of
stood around staring at the floor and each other. It's a sad day when three growed
mountain men decide to do something and none of them have a clue as to how to do it.
We sat around there searching our brains every which way but we just did not know
how to get started.
    "We could build a sort of platform with places in it to slide the muskeg into," Trevor said.
    "A set of handle bars, a mileage indicator and we're in business," I added.
     We both headed for the power tools when Ray cut in.
    "What the heck ya talking about? The two of you haven't got a brain between ya.
Just take some of that there muskeg, stuff a bunch of it into some really big boots,
and you're done," Ray added.
    Trevor and I looked at him like he had gone nuts, and then Trevor stopped squinting
his eyes and started nodding his head instead.
    "Where do you think we could get boots that big?" Trevor asked.
    "You can't be thinking that we're going to stuff boots with muskeg and sell them?" I asked.
    "Why not? We have done lots crazier stuff than that?" Trevor responded.
    I had to agree with that claim; we had done lots crazier stuff than that. Off we went to
the Army Navy store in Ray's rat-trap 1956 pickem-up truck. We were going to get
some monster boots so we could test them out stuffed full of muskeg.
    At the army surplus store we spotted a wiry looking guy behind the counter with quarter
inch thick glasses. 
    "What are you fellers looking for?" the clerk asked.
    "We're looking for some really monster boots," I said.
    "What size?" he asked.
    "Oh the size don't really mater, they just needs to be really big," I said.
    He went through his stuff for a couple of minutes and came back with these size
15 Mickey Mouse boots. I could not believe how big they were.
    "Those boots must have been the biggest the U.S. government ever made," I said.
    "There big enough to fit a gorilla," Trevor said.
    "Well maybe they were used for some of that there gorilla warfare stuff," Ray pointed
out, as Trevor started to try them on.
    "Now you can be all that you can be Trevor, remember that clown you
always wanted to be?" Ray added.
   Trevor didn't care what he looked like, so everyone we went by just stared at his boots
all the way back to his house. We started stuffing muskeg into those boots as soon
as we got back and Trevor slid them on and started walking around.
    "It's like walking on air!" Trevor said smiling.
    He started walking everywhere in those muskeg boots. If he had to brush his teeth, he would
put on the muskeg boots to exercise over to the bathroom. Everywhere Trevor went you
saw him there in those monster muskeg boots. 
    I knew that he'd been wearing them boots for a few day so when I saw him coming
out of the hardware store I thought I should ask him.
    "How is the testing program going?" I asked.
    "It's going great but there have been some wear and tear concerns," he responded.
    "All that muskeg keeps getting mashed down and losing its exercising effects," he added.
    "Well what did you do to get around that," I asked.
    "Drop over to my house in a few minutes and I will show ya the solution," he said.
    As I pulled into his driveway I could see him bouncing up and down on the porch in the boots.
    "Ok where's the big solution?" I asked.
    "Right in here," he said.
    That was when he went over and opened up the garage door. He had this huge pile of
muskeg in the middle of his garage.
    "I just went out and got me a whole bunch of the stuff so I can keep it fresh," Trevor added.
    "I don't think people are going to want to keep a pile of muskeg around their house," I said.
    "Well then we are just going to have to come up with another idea because that there
stuff wears out," Trevor stated.
    He started to get that meltdown look on his face.
"Lets go inside and have something hot to drink, it's freezing out here,"
While sipping hot chocolate we started hearing noises coming from the garage.
I looked at him and we both jumped for the door to see what was going on.
Once we could see inside the garage the cause of the noise was easy to see.
A moose had wandered into the garage and was munching on his pile of muskeg.
Trevor started to freak out.
    "Hey you can't eat my muskeg!" Trevor screamed at the moose.
   Then he looked at me and screamed, "It's a moose! How we going to get him out of there?"
I had no idea so I just shrugged my shoulders and shook my head. Trevor was the
kind of guy who would just react to situations and that is exactly what he did. He quickly
shut the garage door and then looked at me like he had just discovered world peace or something.
    "What do you think you're doing?" I asked.
    "Solving the problem," he claimed.
    Both of our eyes got real wide when we heard the crashing sounds coming from inside the garage.
Then we heard a huge crash and felt small earthquake along with it. Running around to the
side of his garage we watched that moose exiting the area with half of Trevor's
power tools dangling from his horns. He then started screaming as his wood working
future ran into the nearby woods. I watched him disappear down the road beside the woods.
    Once I had recovered enough to see clearly I watched him return and then leave
again with his hunten rifle. He apparently was going to blast that moose to get his stuff back. 
He was running down the street wearing those monster muskeg boots and carrying his moose rifle
when the police car pulled up next to him.
"Trevor, what ya doing running down the road with that there moose gun?" Officer Dan asked.
Trevor slowed down a little, and tried to explain.
    "Hi Officer Dan! You're probably wondering why I'm running down the road wearing
these monster boots and hauling my moose hunten gun?" he asked as Officer Dan pushed his hat
back on his head slightly, he was glaring at Trevor as he drove beside him.
"Well ya see, there was this really huge moose who broke into my garage and stole all
of my power tools!" Trevor explained.
    Every guy knows what it's like to have a power tool stolen, so without a second
thought Officer Dan told him to jump in the car and the two of them went sailing
around the corner with the lights flashing and siren whaling. That moose had a
big advantage because he knew the area a lot better than those guys and didn't announce
where he went with sirens and lights. They tore all over town chasing that moose but
never even stood a chance. Hours later they showed up back a Trevor's place with
the "we lost him look" on their faces. We took a look at the damage and started talking
about what it was going to take to close up the garage.
I could not help myself; I just had to ask.
    "What were you thinking when you shut that moose inside the garage?" I asked. 
    Trevor paused and thought for a second.
    "Well I thought that closing the door would somehow give us time to think of a solution."
    "And you had no idea that the thing might destroy the place?" I asked.
    "I didn't think that far ahead," he added.
    "Well you really did it this time," I said.
    The only real problem with Trevor's crazy idea's are that they usually result in
bad things happening to me. I was pretty happy that this time it happened only to him.
We grabbed a bunch of plywood that he had laying around and tried to close up the hole.
"How we going to cut this stuff?" I asked as we leaned the sheets up against the wall.
   "I'll just go get my electric saw," he replied,  but the words stuck in his mouth because he
knew that saw was now wrapped around that moose's horns.
    "I will just get a hand saw," he added. <>< 

              The Alaska Muskeg Machine       $17.95