Bear Brook……..getting there.

by kfrego

My Dad and his brothers had a hunting camp named Bear Brook. My first opportunity to go to Bear Brook was a deer hunting trip at thirteen years old. The camp was located out of South Colton,NY in a remote area of the Adirondack Mountains. It was accessed by a crude road during it’s early years. When dams were constructed on the Raquette River the reservoirs cut off the road. A long boat crossing was required to get to the road. A haphazard collection of Model A’s, old trucks, and old tractors were accumulated at the river to provide transportation to the remote camps.

Our adventure started on a Friday evening after everyone finished work and had a few beers or drinks. Dad’s brothers Jim, Harold, Bob, and brother in law Bill were with us. It was about ten at night as we departed on the two hour trip to the boat landing. Everybody had a few more drinks along the way. The boat was pulled out of the water and upside down above the shoreline. We brought the motor with us. The boat was put in the water, had the motor installed, and was loaded with all our gear. We had a lantern and a couple flashlights. There was a little grumbling and arguing as everybody packed the boat and we headed across the river. The night was partly cloudy and the moon provided enough light to get across the open water and close to the landing. A flashlight was used to determine our exact landing spot. We were probably on the water forty five minutes.

They had an old steel wheeled Fordson tractor with a big two wheeled trailer behind it for transportation to camp. It’s the middle of the night. Everybody, but the thirteen year old, has had more than a few drinks. The magneto is installed on the old tractor and it is hand cranked to start. The trailer is loaded with supplies. The only light we had was a flashlight held by somebody in the trailer because it took both hands for Uncle Bob to steer and operate the hand clutch. We had good road for a little ways before crossing the first swampy area. The mud in the ruts was two feet deep and the trailer axle was dragging the center of the road. If the trailer got hooked on a rock or old stump the front end of the tractor would come off the ground. Bob would dump the clutch and the front end would slam back into the mud. Riding in the trailer was near torture, but better than following on foot in the dark. Bob had to back up several times because the front end would jump the ruts and head into the trees. Bob complained he couldn’t see. Dad complained he couldn’t stand up long enough to hold the light. The moon was shining bright by the time we hit camp.

Uncle Jim enjoyed walking alone behind us……………and didn’t have to share his pint with anybody in the trailer.