March 27, 2003

Getting my Boat in Gear

I have started to stack and cluster (wife says 'clutter') the upstairs with the necessities for three days cut off from all the amenities I will quickly miss and look forward to seeing again. It's been many years since I was gone camping and away from home for more than a single night, much less three. I recall almost instantly feeling torn between looking forward to being in that special place I was heading and anticipating my return and sleeping in my own soft bed, drinking coffee from the stainless steel pot, and the comfort of the known world inside my house.

I am remembering already how, while Ann says "Go! Have a good time!", she grows quiet and restless, easily impatient over silly things-- her typical indirect way of telling me she's already dreading being the only one to deal with all the nuisances of daily life, and punishing me unintentionally for being the one to leave.

And I have ambivalence about going myself. The world is so very unstable and so much can happen in three days, changing our lives forever in a day. I have some guilt about 'playing' with so much to be done with this school project, in the garden, with the daily drugery of mere existence. And for the first time, I worry about my equipment... the biological software this time, not the pack straps, boots or Whisperlite. Maybe I'll do okay and come back with the physical self confidence I used to have, plus just enough pain to bring back memories of moving through difficult terraine under my own power. I will be taking plenty of Ibuprofen to help me carry off this quest in relative comfort, and a few Valerian because my biological clock will go off, as usual, at 4:15 every morning and I will be faced with the option of getting up alone until sunrise with no campfire, or lying there in the relative warmth of my bag, growing stiffer by the minute, wide awake. Ah outdoor living. Such wonderful agony.

And... a new meaning for 'going to the can', and other rules of the swamp, from my traveling buddy:

A couple of things from the refuge literature on trips: 1. You are required to bring a portable toilet with disposable bags for waste disposal. A coffee can with a small trash bags and a lid will do. These are for during the day if you can't make it to the port a johns at the campsites. 2. Everything is subject to inspection before the trip. 3. No guns. 4. Trash must be packed out. 5. From sunset to sunrise you must remain at the campsite. 6. you must stay on your trails. (Marked canoe trails thru the swamp). 7. You must be on the trails each day by 10 am. What must be carried? flotation device for each person, portable toilet, compass and map (each canoe), flashlights, cookstove and fuel. recommended: extra batteries, trash bags, rope, first aid kit, food plus some extra, foul weather gear, duct tape, spare paddle in each boat, freestanding tents, bailer for each boat, spf 15 or better, 4-6 qts water per person per day.
Posted by fred1st at March 27, 2003 05:21 AM | TrackBack

Go! Have fun! Not matter what is happening whenever it is, you have to 'play', you have to keep your mental livelihood as much as your physical, both of which are affected by the first! And if you want a more principled reason, if you don't 'play' you have already admitted defeat to all those terrorists and all those who hate us and want to cause harm and fear. You are letting them take away your freedom and piece of mind as well. Consider it being truly patriotic to be bold and playful in the face of those who only wish to cause fear and disruption and pain.

Posted by: Josh at March 27, 2003 10:32 AM

A trip into the wilderness? What ever happened to going with the clothes you stood up in and, a Bowie knife? LOL! Okay, I tease. Have fun and don't get bitten by anything. Look forward to reading the acount(s) afterwards.

Posted by: Alexandra at March 27, 2003 11:59 AM

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