Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Two Transient Canoers

The sense of adventure, if it could be a tangible thing- was a slab of fat pork belly, awesome and satisfyingly gluttonous. Once we finally strapped the canoe to the roof, Modest Mouse and gutteral burps from road sodas filled the air. Our excitement streamed through the windows, the mountain air stuttering against the straps on the gear in the back of the truck like the eyes of a roomful of men when a young woman enters. Who were we? Two idiots that spend more of their time thinking about art than baseball, or who would rather talk the faint hairs on the slight curve of a female neck than stats for fantasy football. What were we doing spending a week on a river canoeing? 

clean air and cold rivers

Since deciding on a canoe camping trip over backpacking I can think of nothing but the sound of quiet; water over rock, the smell of crisp air and the smolder of half-out morning fire. The birth of a river that begins and begins again each spring, swelling and contracting arteries that were once roadways to native canoes. Or more, the lack of sounds........phones and cars, traffic and humming light, televisions and children, the harsh rusting crank of the machinery of routine. Nothing sounds as beautiful as a paddle dipping into the waist of a river or a stream working its hips around a chute or cluster of stone. Even the smell of your own skin, in a boat, in the sun, takes on a name other than yours. 

there will be no paintings there will be no poems

Canoe camping's purpose is to take the painter out of Brooklyn, out of his studio, away from concrete and distraction and take the poet out of Boston away from his office, away from routine and responsibility.......... or both........ away from themselves. 

as far as gear goes....

Gear gets a bad wrap. The Bear Grylls' and Survivor Men of the world bushwhack and suffer. Backpackers that brag of their 30 mile hiking days with trail running shoes and a 14lb pack and look at the outdoors as a challenge. The outdoors, to me, is a more religious place, more than any church, mosque or synagogue. You see, men obsess over gear for good reason. Any object that can make me endure another Sunday in my church is awesome and worth the research and money.
I've always enjoyed the planning of a trip. Mapping, gear lists, drunken imaginings of whats to come, preparing for weather, choosing dates, pulling out storage bins full of that smell of gear etc. Gear though, like camp stove, tent and canoe are small measures of pre-trip excitement you fawn over and clean out. They are actual objects that help one imagine the adventures they are about to embark upon and provide a sense of comfort in knowing you are heading out into the woods with all the right tools.

3 nights 4 days (camp list)

(camp kitchen deserves its own post) otherwise....
1 Sierra Designs Observatory Tent
1 REI Classic Dome Tent (cause no, we weren't going to sleep together)
2 ThermaRest (old school) sleeping pad
2 Thermarest Trekker Chairs
2 Sierra Designs Sleeping bag
1 Kelty Noahs Tarp w/ two poles and a set of sand anchors
2 large dry bags w/ shoulder straps
1 Medium dry bag
2 small dry bags (for accouterments)
1 Brunton Liberty Manteless Lantern
Club Special Vinyl Chess Set
2 MSR Medium Camp Towels
1 rusty machete
2 Nalgene Water Bottles
Leatherman Wave Mulitool
Petzl Tikka Plus Headlamp
2 bottles bug repellent with Deet
Full Bodied Camera with multiple lenses
Backpackers First Aid Kit
Bungee Cord
Toilet Paper
2 Bending Branches Bent Shaft Paddles
2 PDF (life preservers)
2 GCI Sitbacker Canoe Chairs
1 17.5 foot Bell Northwind Kevlite Canoe