Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Whistle Blower of the Schuylkill River

It was 11 pm or so on the island, along the Schuylkill River.  Small fire going in the ring.  Olivia already in her tent, sleeping soundly.  Insects buzzing around every now and again.  John and I are sitting by the fire just talking and watching the flames start to dim down.

Then something weird.

Normally, if you heard it, you wouldn't think twice about it.  But, alone on an island, already dark outside, and thinking you're all alone - hearing that sound was sort of - well - weird.

A whistle.  Like the ones you hear on a life vest.  Some life vests come equipped with whistles the user can blow into to get attention of emergency personnel.  We heard that whistle three times Friday night.  Three different times.  

Like I said.  Usually, when you hear a whistle, it's easily identifiable.  Like, a train's whistle.  Or a coach or referee at a sporting event.  But, after dark, alone on an island that is so remote that it's even hard to see from the river, hearing that very human sound makes one a little nervous.  On edge even.

John doesn't spook.  He's been camping - and I'm talking real time camping, none of this motor home and RV stuff.  He's been camping in tents, hammocks, and without the pleasantries of bathrooms, electricity, and running water for many years.  He knows what makes which noise and what you're supposed to hear out in the woods.  So, when he turned to me with a concerned look of bewilderment on his face, my heart skipped a beat.

He looked at me and said, "What was that?"

I shrugged my shoulders and told him that I had no idea.  I mean, I knew that we heard was a whistle, but as to why we hearing it though, I had no idea...

About a thousand thoughts start running through my mind.  Like, is there someone else on this island?  Some lost night fisherman that stumbled onto it completely by accident?

Let's break for a movie reference for a moment here:

Inigo Montoya: You are sure nobody's follow us? 
Vizzini: As I told you, it would be absolutely, totally, and in all other ways inconceivable. No one in Guilder knows what we've done, and no one in Florin could have gotten here so fast. Out of curiosity, why do you ask? 
Inigo Montoya: No reason. It's only... I just happened to look behind us and something is there. 
Vizzini: What? Probably some local fisherman, out for a pleasure cruise, at night... in... eel-infested waters...
Anyway, there were literally a thousand different reasons why we could have been hearing a whistle.  And most of those scenarios were creepy to say the least.  We discussed some of the more reasonable explanations for some time before we decided that we were just too tired to care.

So, we climbed into our hammocks for the night and were determined to get some sleep.  After all, what's to be afraid of?  We had many usable weapons on hand,  had we needed them.  But, alas, that night, there was no need for picking up the fire poker in order to beat someone's brains in.

Other than the strange noises we heard after the sun had set (and believe me, the mysterious whistle wasn't all we heard either) we had a really nice time camping.   It's nice to get away for a night or two, out into nature.  Getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and imagining bludgeoning someone to death for blowing a whistle is always something fun to do when otherwise bored at home.

We ate most of our Mountain House meals while we were away.  And we stuffed ourselves with marshmallows till we felt sick to our stomachs.  All fun.  All needed.

Next time we go away, we are going to camp on a different island.  No, we weren't scared off by the whistle blower... It's just that we've been going back to this island time and time again, and we feel that we need a change of scenery from our   ....... change of scenery.  If you get what I mean, and I think that you do...

We found out that Olivia isn't the happiest camper in the world.  She (and let's see if I can directly quote our 13 year old attitude filled teenager here)  "hates bugs"  and  "is completely bored"  and  "uncomfortable"  when she joins us for camping.

Next time we venture out, she will be staying with my folks.  Maybe my sister could take her for a couple of nights and let her swim... But, she definitely won't be joining us next time.  Don't get me wrong, she will be coming with us most of the time, but next time, it's just going to be John and me.

Some pictures are below... Enjoy....
Oh yeah, almost forgot...
John chopped down a tree... The tree didn't need to necessarily come down, but it made him so uncomfortable because he thought it was rotted enough to fall on top of one of us... So, he chopped it down before setting up camp.  Talk about fun!

Thanks for reading, as always.  And take care!

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