Campfire stories with Garrett – Part 3

Leeches, waterfalls and apple juice

Last time I shared about the pregame excitement prior to a fishing trip on the Kings’ River. Unsurprisingly, there were some other trips to the river worthy of recounting. For the sake of time, I will only mention one.

Garrett was an excellent swimmer. In fact, he once saved the Chief from drowning in the frigid April-waters of Hume Lake during an ill-advised Navy Seal training session. I was not such a great swimmer, but that didn’t stop me from venturing anywhere Garrett would dare go since I assumed he could save me. One such place was dubbed “Tarzan Falls” – a waterfall on Tornado Creek, a tributary to the Kings’ River that required either a poison-oak laced trek along the cliffs of the canyon, or an invigorating dash across the raging river. We typically opted for the river route since drowning seemed like a better option than contacting poison oak.

The falls were about 60 feet high and surrounded by cliffs of various heights from which we would jump into a deep pool about forty feet wide. We discovered on this particular trip that we could also slide on the mossy granite at the bottom of the falls. After a few go-rounds, Garrett gasped and said, “Dude, you’ve got a leech on your back! Actually, you’ve got three or four!” As he proceeded to pull them off, I suggested I check his back. I didn’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of blood-suckers who were trying to colonize his back. Needless to say, that was the “suckiest” day we ever had there.

That was not the only time Garrett saved me from certain death. One afternoon during a 15-minute break, I unwittingly drank tainted apple juice out of one of those school cafeteria-sized cartons. As I lay on my deathbed that night, I used what little strength I had to call Garrett and ask him to pick up some Gatorade for me from the General Store before I expired. “Sure, I’ll get you some,” he replied. Good Garry. I knew I could count on him. I waited for my hero to bring the electrolytes my body craved for more than two hours. I was at the point where I needed to either call 9-1-1 or find out what was taking Garrett so long. I called Garrett mainly because 9-1-1 doesn’t do much good when you live 90 minutes from the nearest hospital. “Garrett, where are you? I’m dying here,” I eked out. “Oh, I was just finishing my game of Risk with Andre. I was planning to get your Gatorade once we were done.” I proceeded to explain that the Grim Reaper was standing outside my trailer door sharpening his blade. He finally arrived and chased the angel of death away with a bottle of Lemon-Lime Gatorade and profuse apologies when he saw just how bad off I really was. This was not our only encounter with food poisoning, but more on that in a later post.

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