Friday, July 18, 2008

This Thunder didn't Clap

I've never been camping on a river and heard such a sound. This thunder didn't clap, it slapped, it snapped, it cracked and fractured the calm air that hung above camp. The leaves of trees around us began to smirk and pull up their skirts, flash their skinny veins. The fire got louder as it choked on the overdose of oxygen. Tent, tarp, even our kevlight canoe began to move in the winds that picked up driftsticks and blankets of sand. We hunkered under our half assedly erected tarp, its center pole a rotted driftwood post creaking under the weight of the wind. Then began the rain that hung down, whipping at the tents like heavy wire. The integrity of camp showed its flimsy weeping muscles. Pools arrived at every corner of tarp and tent, we had to prod waterfalls from our shelter and nerves from our chests. All there was left to do was chess, chili cheese dogs and..........."oh, shit, I forgot....., I brought a flask of scotch!"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Without Details We Wouldn't Have The Ever Beautiful Grotesque

When nature called, or yelled as it did after chili cheese dogs, the routine began by grabbing the machete, wielding it around unruly like, stuffing a roll of toilet paper under the arm and strutting off into the woods with a curious grin.

The machete was a duel or truel use item. Not only did it provide an air of manliness to our journey it made us look bad ass in front of beach infringers. The machete made quick work of breaking down wood for the fire and most importantly it was a marvelous poop shovel.

As the night was winding down, and the chili had time to corrupt my innards, I found myself headed straight for the machete which was lodged in a stump of drift wood on the beach like Excalibur.

Because of the cool that the ferns and trees provided far up and off the bank of the beach, I thought it would be a perfect place to make compost.

It’s an odd moment there, squatted over a hand dug hole, looking down pondering such deep philosophical equations as; “I should have dug a hole #1 and a hole #2”, before you realize mosquitoes are going to town on your balls and ass.

The natural reaction would be to shoo them away with a swatting hand, but no, the risk is way too high that your hand’ll catch the drizzle over an undug hole #1 or even worse you’ll miss and squash a nugget against a cheek, this is no good. In such situations survival experts and natives alike recommend a good dousing of OFF pre-poop excursion which allows for an unobstructed hands free evacuation zone.

Can I get a: "God Damn?!"

When your planning a canoe trip, monk fish steamed in buttered corn husks or scallops with a tangerine saffron burre blanc most likely won't make the menu for the third night or later. The later into the trip the lower the quality gets. Well, at least in theory.

I don't care if your Thomas Keller, Daniel or the late great Julia Child, chili cheese dogs and burgers RULE! If you haven't had one, I promise you'll love them and if you don't - you should be shot - along with vegans. It's American heritage, like tacos are Mexican, chili, burgers and dogs are American. They are so revered in this country they enter into the realm of lore. When America cooks out what do they eat? They eat Hot Dogs and Hamburgers; preferably with chili and cheese.

Thank California for this. Nowhere does chili come standard on a burger or dog other than California and more specifically Los Angeles. Thank you Tommy's Burgers, thank you Fat Burger, thank you Gerry's Orange O.

On the river, when clouds are stacking, darkening and wind is flirting with the underside of trees and rain flies......short prep meals takes on a significant value.

So when planning the last night's meal of the trip and you want calories after a long day of paddling, easy prep, or flavor that makes you sink into your tired self and moan, consider chili cheese dogs.

Chopped onion, grated mild cheddar, a heap of chili, a sliver of French's yellow over a Nathan's hot dog, on a campfire-stone toasted bun; can I get a God Damn!?!?!???

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The River = Our Lounge Chairs

We had to set up the tarp to keep ourselves and our gear out of the heat. Just staking the guy lines of the tarp boiled pints of sweat from my already soak turban. We scouted the island, collected what wood we could, found a somewhat level spot for camp, walked into the water and laid down. It was like the river, as it took our breath, took our worries. Across the river, a break in the tree line exposed a distant mountaintop, which turned out to be the best view from a camp we had, There in the water, the river our lounge chairs, we cracked our final beers and lit the last of the smokes.

Feel That Heat On Your Eyes?

Soft Sand And Views


"Super fucking hot!"

"Let's take the first beach possible, ok?"

"Yea. We need to stop."

It wasn't even 11:00 before we found a beach. Not just any beach either. Along this second half where beaches were supposed to be fewer than people; there...... before us.......... the biggest most expansive beach we've seen the entire trip. It wound around a bend or two coughing up the perfect drift wood for fire, soft sand and views. Like drunken castaways we beached and began exploring. 

Monday, July 7, 2008


In acoustics and audio, a transient is a short-duration signal that represents a non-harmonic attack phase of a musical sound or spoken word.

Shifting Through Life And Earth

The river begs for more respect. Humbly, it offers the unique sound of its own body shifting around obsticles in life and earth, or of caressing your feet as they dangle off the sides of the boat, its thousand tongues dripping back into themselves. Paddles have an uncanny way of flattering the waters they dip into. On quiet days one can stare for hours at the swirls and flutter that ripple across the skin of the river made by a wooden paddle. Light tends to choose unfamiliar hiding places in the folds of such affection. No other form of travel seems more natural. And no other way of living seems as fitting as nomadic or transient camping.   

The River Begs For More Respect

When you're one of them it seems ok. When it's you standing in a canoe howling unintelligablly or your own radio blaring down the corridors of the river it might seem fine. I love and respect the holy trilogy of canoe, river and beer. But when you canoe for the silence and awe of nature; nothing sucks more than a fat frat boy in a canoe singing Bon Jovi off key, no any key.