By JUSTIN RUBIA
Special to the Wreckhouse Weekly
COW HEAD — Adrian Payne has lived a very exciting life. A resident of the Great Northern Peninsula, Payne became a logger for the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Company when he was a teenager, and later worked as a commercial fisherman for over thirty years. This led him to taking up a job as an outfitter and guide for tourists looking to do big game hunting on the Northern Peninsula, which he did for 25 years until he retired in 2009.
These experiences have left Payne with a vast amount of wisdom and more than a few stories to tell. Payne started recounting his experiences to his grandchildren as a means to help them understand what life was like for him out in the great outdoors. In the last few years, Payne has decided to begin writing about his journeys.
He has really taken to writing, and has published a collection of stories – Life on the Great Northern Peninsula – as well as a book of poems.
On July 7, Payne web-launched his second book of his stories about his adventures in the wilderness: In the Shadow of the Long Range Mountains This book is intended as a sequel to his first book, which details several of his life experiences.
“Whatever type of work you’re in, I guess you’re under some dangers,” said Payne. “Especially after 50 years of guiding and fishing and hunting in the Long Range Mountains.”
Payne also read from a chapter to give viewers a glimpse of what they can expect in his latest book.
“We were flying out of Portland Creek that year,” Payne said, describing the day as nice and without much wind. “I was happy that we had a good year with no accidents and this would be my last trip for the season.”
He explained it was the end of the season, and all that remained was to store some gear away from the four camps and pay the workers.
“After landing at Bryan’s Lake,” said Payne, “I boarded up the windows while the pilot packed the groceries and boarded the plane.”
Payne described how he and the pilot unusually took off some two hundred feet from the end of the lake.
“Suddenly the pilot opened with full throttle,” said Payne, explaining how in his twenty years of flying in and out of that lake, that this was uncommon unless the pilot had started from the camp.
Unfortunately, the pilot was heading straight towards a hill at the end of the lake, running to the water’s edge with “boulders the size of cars.”
Payne recounted how the pilot continued to keep at full throttle, moving closer towards the rocky hill.
“I could see death staring me right in face,” recalled Payne.
He explained how he yelled at the pilot to warn him not to take off in this way. At this time, the plane wasn’t much more than fifty feet from the shore when they lifted. They had nothing but hills and large boulders in their path.
“We looked at each other as if to say, this is it,” said Payne.
The pilot attempted to give the engine more power by using different mixtures of air and fuel by maneuvering the mixture lever back and forth.
“Dear God, not yet I thought, I don’t want to die on this beautiful day,” remembered Payne as he continued his harrowing tale. “Any second now, the floats would slam into one of those boulders.”
Fortunately, the pilot was successful.
“I had scary times while flying, but this was my worst nightmare come to life,” admitted Payne.
This and other stories will be featured in Adrian Payne’s upcoming book, In The Shadow Of the Long Range Mountains, due sometime at the end of July 2021.
Details on Payne’s books can be found online at Flankerpress.com or via his own website at: http://adrianpayne.ca/