1. That the weather holds.
2. We don't run out of beer.
3. We don't see any other people on the river.
This June we headed to the St. Croix, and with it being so fucking far away and us hitting the most-paddled river stretch during the week we figured we wouldn't have an problem with #3. But in previous years we had been incredibly lucky with all three, and going into the trip I think we were all wary that our luck might run out. After a thunderstorm forced us to shore on the second day, and we did the dam portage in the rain, we thought we were in the clear.
The Canadians passed us early the next morning as we sat in camp nursing Jack Daniels-inspired (America, Fuck Yeah) hangovers and saying derogatory things about Molson products and Pat Sajak, but we figured that was it for seeing people on the river.
Fast forward 6 hours and as we're lumping gear around the class II-III Little Falls we see three boats coming downstream towards us. Our immediate response is: "goddamnit." Then no more than 45 seconds later as they pull up on us I hear: "Holy shit, is that Chet?" and I look up to see none-other than BFCer Sawyer Fahy pulling up next to me, along with three other guys from CVA, including another Batesie, Daniel Frost '05. Surprised hugs were exchanged, backs slapped, and beers consumed on the shore before my group ran the falls and headed downriver, and Sawyer and Co. set up camp for the night. We also shot the requisite Bates alum photo, which will of course be submitted to the Bates magazine.
|Bates On the St. Croix (from left): John Libre '02, Tim Talbot '04, Will Coghlan '02, Sawyer Fahy '06, Chet Clem '05, Daniel Frost '05.
After tents were pitched and dinner consumed the eight of us started passing around a handle of Cutty Stark that went down quickly as we tried to remember the words to more patriotic songs, and then as John aptly puts it in this video, we participated in "one of the more patriotic instances [we've] been a part of" as the eight of us sang the national anthem to the flag still hoisted in the stern of the canoe.
So please doff your caps and stand for this stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, and may all your future run-ins on rivers be as enjoyable as ours was: