Pictured is the cartoon that appeared two decades ago in New York Sportsman magazine.
The difficult part of the equation is trying to figure out which is the true half, or the half truth.
It was years ago, when I first began packing in pack rafts to fish the remote ponds of the park. Pack rafts were much more portable than even the smallest, pack canoes, which often proved unwieldy on steep climbs or difficult to navigate through the thick spruce and balsam forests.
Most of the rafts were compact enough to fit inside a backpack, and yet they easily inflated to full size with just a foot pump.
I am still using my original Sea Eagle brand inflatable rafts that I purchased over 30 years ago. Sure, there are a few patches, but the little boats have stood up well to many long days on the water.
I’ve also used them for an air mattress. I find they fit snugly inside a two man Timberline tent, with room to spare.
In the early 1980’s, I introduced Paul Keesler to the joys and ease of pack raft angling. Paul was the editor and publisher of the popular NY Sportsman magazine at the time.
I explained the rafts were much quieter, efficient and portable than the heavy old, Grumann, aluminum canoe he was using at the time.
Over the years, we shared many fine days fishing for brook trout on the ponds, and we accessed several waters located on the mountain summits.
We often joked about filling our rafts with helium, which would allow for an easy descent from the mountaintops.
It was always fun and games, jokes and junkets, with plenty of fine fishing to fill the day.
I don’t recall what issue of the magazine it was, but Paul sent me several copies in addition to my regular monthly subscription.
On page 6, there was a cartoon with a caricature of Paul and a guy with a baseball hat, hovering over a pond in a raft, casting lines. A tank of helium rested against the tent, and the joke was on me.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.