While most of the participants in Saturday morning's Webster County Conservation River Trash Bash opted to canoe down the Des Moines River toward the Hydroelectric Dam in Fort Dodge picking up debris - Curt Olson opted to work the bank on foot.
A walk several hundred yards upstream left his with a nearly full garbage bag, muddy boots from getting stuck once and new respect for the habits of the local waterfowl.
"The geese must party," he joked. "They all like Keystone Light beer."
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Clark Fletcher, left, steers the canoe toward shore after returning from a paddle down the Des Moines River with Percy Walley, of Fort Dodge. The pair had filled the canoe with debris they picked up including several tires and other junk.
It wasn't all beer cans. He found plenty of Styrofoam and plastic bait containers and near the dam, a treasure of sorts - the rusty remains of an old folding lawn chair.
Percy Walley, of Fort Dodge, enjoyed his first trip on a canoe on the river with Clark Fletcher. Walley, 87, is no stranger to being on the water though, he served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific.
"He was in a big gray canoe," Curt Olson quipped.
Walley also managed to find a full can of beer.
"Clark thought I should have this and share," he joked.
Walley said he enjoyed spending time with Fletcher - and learning about the river and navigating on it. He also said that getting out and helping with projects such as the river cleanup is a good activity for other seniors.
Fletcher found a treasure of his own on the trek -the remains of a piece of shag throw rug that left a trail of dripping dirty water as he carried it from the bank toward a waiting city of Fort Dodge truck for proper disposal.
"My wife told me instead of a wearing a hat I need to get a rug," he said.
Lee Johnson and his son, Derek Johnson, both of Fort Dodge, said they found the morning on the river picking up debris a good father and son experience.
They also found quite a bit of stuff including a muffler of some type, a folding chair and the frame of a snow mobile that was too large to fit into their canoe.
"Once the canoe is full you have to stop," Lee Johnson said.
The biggest part of their haul?
"Lots and lots of tires," Derek Johnson said.
Erik Lomiska and Annie Fitzgerald, both of Fort Dodge, shared a canoe and managed to find a broken wheelbarrow frame with the wheel still attached and a large piece of plastic that the best guess theory indicated might be a cover or shield for a car radiator.
They had to work for it.
"We had to chase off a family of geese for that," Annie Fitzgerald said.
For the pair, it turned into a fun day.
"We got to get dirty, sweaty, play with garbage and scare geese," she said.