Grandpa Walter was Thor’s favorite grandparent, because they were so much alike. They looked alike. They liked to be quiet alike. They were tall alike. They loved animals and camping alike. So each summer Grandpa Walter would load up the car with sleeping bags, tents, coolers, cookies and pop, pick Thor and his dad up and off to the north shore of Lake Superior they’d go to camp.
It was long trip in the car and took several hours. So they would eat cookies, drink pop and listen to Halloween disco songs on the car stereo. Their favorite song was the “Monster Mash.” Grandpa loved that song and would car dance to the tune as his cruised north on the freeway. Of course, grandpa’s car dancing routine consisted solely of just bobbing his head up and down, but Thor loved it.
Thor had looked forward to this camping trip for months, because this year he was finally old enough to hike with Grandpa Walter up to the fifth waterfalls high on top of the hill to pick delicious, delicious wild blueberries. Yummmm!
After three hours of listening to Halloween songs and Grandpa Walter swear at traffic, they finally reached the park where they would be camping. It was just beautiful!!! You could hear the waves from Lake Superior gently lapping against the huge rusty colored volcanic rock cliffs, there were ripe red raspberries and wild flowers everywhere. It was paradise!
Thor helped grandpa unpack the car and put up the tent. After they were done setting up their camp, they went for a long walk down to the great lake to skip stones and hunt for agates. As the evening and its chill settled in they went back to camp to get the fire going.
Grandpa Walter loved his camp fires!!! He always turned it into a science experiment. He especially liked burning up marshmallows and melting pop cans. He also made the best roasted hot dogs and smores. When grandpa was in charge Thor could eat what he wanted and as many as he wanted.
The very best part of the camp fire was Grandpa Walter’s scary stories, especially the ones about the elusive Big Foot of northern Minnesota. These hairy giants had lived in the woods since before humans walked the earth. They were rarely, if ever, seen. They did not like daylight and liked to live in the darkest part of the woods and only came out at night. You knew they were there, because you could smell them and they smelled awful. Their stench was worse than the smells of cooked cauliflower, dirty socks and skunk combined.
In addition to being big stinkers, there was also other evidence that a Big Foot lived near your camping site. You could see where they itched their backs on the trees, as the bark would be worn off. After midnight they could be heard banging loudly on trees with rocks and roaring and screeching to scare you out of their woods–especially during blueberry picking season.
Big Feet loved to eat blueberries, and occasionally little boys who don’t listen to their Grandpas. That’s why wild blueberries are so hard to find and sometimes little boys get lost in the woods never to return–the Big Foot get them, at least that was grandpa’s story.
Sleeping in a tent along the north shore of Lake Superior in northern Minnesota is almost always chilly. The warmth of his sleeping bag and the gentle sounds of nature quickly lulled Thor to sleep. Nature’s lullaby in the night drifted through the camp grounds with the rhythmic swish, swish of the waves against the shore, the low alto harmony supplied by the distant waterfalls, and the delightful soprano of sweetly singing little birds. And, there were no Big Foot roars to disturb Thor’s sleep.
Morning comes early when camping with Grandpa Walter and before it was very light outside he woke up Thor. They quickly showered, dressed and got their hiking trail gear ready. Thor packed his backpack with the supplies he needed for the trip. A whistle, a bag of chocolate covered donuts, rubber bands, a yo-yo, a back scratcher, a compass, his powerful LED flashlight, lots of buckets for blueberries and his water bottle. Then, he and grandpa were off.
The trail wound through the woods, traveled along the river rapids and waterfalls, and then crossed the river on shaky foot bridge. Once across the bridge it was a quick trot up the hill to the open meadow where the blueberries could be found.
The blueberry patch was spectacular! Nature’s carpet of sapphire colored deliciousness! Thor and Grandpa Walter got right down to the business of picking and by the end of the day their fingers and faces were tinged blue with berry juice and their buckets filled with glorious wild blueberries.
It was just starting to get dark when they decided to head back to camp, but they never even made it to the trail. Just as Grandpa Walter turned around to pick up that last bucket of berries a Big Foot walloped him upside his head with a big fuzzy paw and dropped him like a hot potato. Grandpa may have been taken by surprise, but quickly recover and tackled the ornery beast–down they went in a wrestle.
While grandpa was doing his best to pin the critter in a full nelson wrestling hold. The only true wrestling hold a true Swede would admit to knowing. The great beast was busy smearing his great stench onto grandpa. Its stink was so bad it almost rendered the poor old guy unconscious. Soon the Big Foot had grandpa on the ground and was sitting on top of him eating blueberries.
Thor ran for his back pack and got out his rubber bands and started shooting them into the hide of the great hairy beast. Oh, how the stings of whose man made wasps of rubber made the great hairy creature howl. Then, the Big Foot started to cry, because the rubber bands were giving the big bully an owie. Oh it was a pitiful sight to behold! Grandpa Walter laying there dazed and swearing a blue streak with a bawling cowardly Big Foot sitting on top of him.
Thor quickly got out his bag of chocolate donuts and gave one each to grandpa and the Big Foot. That settled them both down. Once they were both quiet, the Big Foot stood up with his hands on his hips let out a mighty roar, grabbed the biggest bucket of blueberries and started to run away with it.
It is always wrong to take something that does not belong to you and to let a bully get away with his meanish ways. Besides those precious berries had taken all day to pick and Thor was not having them stolen!
As the Bigfoot darted away with the berries back into the shelter of the dark woods, Thor got out his yo-yo and and threw it at the bucket handle. It looped around the handle and pulled the bucket right out the hands of the great ape and boomeranged them right into Thor’s waiting arms. Not a berry was spilled!
Thor quickly reloaded his rubber bands and was prepared to sting the giant beast again, but the Big Foot knew when he had been bested and beat a hasty retreat into wilderness from which he had emerged.
Thor then turned his attention to his grandpa who was just sitting there covered with mosquitoes and staring into space. Thor got out his bug spray and generously sprayed the old guy down, then scratched grandpa’s itching insect bites with the back scratcher. Once the bug crises had passed, Thor gave grandpa a drink of water. Soon, grandpa was feeling better and felt up to heading back to camp.
By now it was completely dark with the stars twinkling brightly overhead. Grandpa was afraid they would get lost in the woods. He thought that maybe they should just wait where they were until morning. It was then that Thor got out his compass and flash light and gave it to grandpa. Oh how happy grandpa was to see a compass and the powerful LED flash light that would lead them out of a woods filled with bloody thirsty mosquitoes and bellowing Big Foot.
As they neared their camp they could hear Thor’s dad calling for them in the dark. Thor quickly grabbed his whistle and loudly blew the signal he had been taught should he ever become lost in the woods. Soon his dad came crashing through the woods like a rogue bull moose demanding to know where Thor had been and what had he been doing. Thor replied like usual, “Nothing much.”
His dad did wonder why Grandpa Walter smelled like he’d connected with the business end of a skunk, was soaked in bug spray, mosquito bit and scratched all over, with a bump on his head, chocolate smeared on this face and was carrying a bucket of blueberries with a yo-yo dangling from the bucket handle.
Grandpa saw Thor’s dad looking him over and just said, “Your boy really likes his blueberries and next time I am bringing my dogs.”