Monday, June 16, 2008

We Kept Dipping our Turbans

The river, in the heat, smoked. Wildlife hid among the roots and in holes burrowed in the cool earth. Even fish swam deeper than usual. The no-add sunscreen we were using was hot in the palm as it more poured than squeezed from it's bottle.

Being on the water seemed like being between the folds of a silver poolside sunscreen. It wasn't but merely 15 minutes before our freshly river dipped cotton shirts dried on our backs or on our heads.That was the first day I had ever experienced heat in a way that gave me concern.

"If we stay on the water our skin will resemble microwavable bacon. Yet, if we beach at the next available spot we could get behind on schedule."
We weren't sure what to do. The main problem other than sun was the supposed lack of beaches suitable for camping we were warned about.
We kept dipping our turbans and paddling under every branch or downed tree.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Our First Portage

We had prepared for the portage as if we were in the true wilderness back country, our machetes bushwhacking around unrunnable rapids or lining our canoe down the corridor of a rock garden. Neither were anywhere near the truth.

Along the way, as though I were Lewis and he were Clark, we began naming the bends and beaches. The eddys and banks which had significance to us but no name we knew of, began to take on personality. 

Our creative sick humor juices began to flow.

When we reached the portage, which was more like a well marked airport landing strip than a back country bushwhack, we realized it was a dam we were portaging. A Dam not a class IV marvel we could ponder over lunch or shooting falls that no canoe can maneuver. On river right there was a well worn dock like bank, we pulled our canoe up lengthwise and began unloading for portage. This was no normal expedition packed canoe. We had 3 bundles of wood, a cooler with a block of ice and enough beer to kill a large moose, 5 huge dry bags and a very unorganized amount of bags for trash, accouterments, cameras, cell phones and cigarettes. We looked at each other......shook our heads. "We got at least three trips" our eyes said.  It was only a hundred yards, no one was around. As soon as we started stashing our goods a couple in a canoe paddled up, ruining our solitude. 

The painter asks cordially, "have you been to yet or heard of the Finger Banks?" Our creative names were paying off.

The couple was immediately interested, as if there was a section of river that they were never told of, or should try to avoid. They curiously said "no". "Yea, and the Taco Drops are supposed to be extremely dangerous.", he continued on. I could barley hold my near laughing voice from the edge of cracking as he continued with his recommendation to avoid the treacherous swells and undertows that were notorious at the Tea Bag Falls.

Though we might have felt relatively alone over the last day or so, people seemed to swarm around the portage. When we arrived at the end of the 100 yard portage there must have been 4 full troops of scouts, cub scouts, brownies and other unwanted ass holes. We were one of at least 12 canoes ready to suck their feet from the mud and launch. We lugged our gear across in two trips, sweat pissing from our heads. We took a shit in the campground outhouse, bought a weather proof map, and a sticker with a canoe and paddles like a cross bones and skull and pushed off, the entire State's youth council behind us. 

Never was I happier to leave a campsite. 

Inhaling The Remains

We broke camp, took a final dip in the river, dr bronnered ourselves, cracked a Keers, wiped sand from nearly everything, played a game of speed chess, humped some drinking water for our nalgene's, closed our eyes, faced the sun, inhaled the remains of the morning and set out into the mist.