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07.05.2004 - 2:21 p.m.


We got home yesterday from spending one night at JB's brother's house, one night out in the woods, and three days at JB's family cabin on the Umpqua River. That's five days, people - FIVE days (in a row!) that I was subjected to 1 ply toilet paper, and various towels with an odor I can only describe as "like a wet ferret cage, but worse somehow".

I'm not the sort to whine about the pea beneath my mattress, but I'm quite glad to be home where my towels are dry, my bed does not have mosquitoes plastered to it, and my fingernails no longer sport permanent black crescents of dirt.

Our backpacking hike to Sisters Mirror Lake was, according to the ranger JB contacted, supposed to have very little snow this time of year. However, we discovered that this ranger either 1) has not actually observed the trail, or 2) does not know what the fuck all that white cold stuff everywhere is.

The trail completely disappeared after about 2 hours, hidden beneath mounds of snow that we skittered across, sliding around with the weight of our packs. I became increasingly jealous of Dog, whose built-in crampons let her gallop around madly while I struggled up from yet another posthole.

Not that I would have even been out there without JB, but I certainly would have become hopelessly lost and eventually devoured by wolves without his navigation skills. Once we decided to forge onward rather than turning back, he used a map, compass, and GPS to eventually zero us in on the lake.

Although the hike wasn't what I'll call fun, the destination was worth it. We made camp on a high ridge overlooking the water, and you could see all the way around the lake - total solitude, not another person for miles.


I had packed in not one, but two books, as though I planned to loll on a hammock all day. I had forgotten everything that goes into backpacking: you have to filter water, gather firewood, set up the tent, pull out the Thermarests, boil water, stash your food, figure out the bathroom situation, build a fire, have a rock throwing contest, salvage the squashed marshmallows from the bottom of your pack, and so on.

I am not a big pot smoker, not because of any particular aversion to marijuana, but rather a deep laziness that finds the whole procurement system too much effort. For me, it's one of those nice indulgences every now and then when the situation is just right. As an example of a situation that is just right: early evening in the middle of nowhere, campfire crackling, ducks calling from the lake, and the reep reep reep of frogs everywhere. JB and I split a joint, for the first time together I think, and just sort of melted into the ground and listened to the world. A crow flew overhead and I could hear every whoosh of its wings. A hummingbird zoomed in and peered at us briefly. We watched a deer pick its way across the water on the east end of the lake. It was beautiful, and utterly peaceful.

Remember though, drugs are bad. Sometimes they make you eat like fifty handfuls of trail mix. I'm just saying.

We meant to stay two nights out there, but my period decided to crash the party. I had packed books, concealer (!), and tweezers (?!), but had forgotten tampons. I will spare you the description of what one does when one is menstruating in the woods with limited supplies on hand, but I do think I may have qualified for more than one girl scout badge by the time we made it back to the trailhead.

It really was a wonderful trip, despite the difficulty of the terrain. Being out there made us feel like...kings of the world!

Hoo boy. JB is going to KILL me.

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52 comments so far.

I have moved. - 1.03.2005
Obviously, a work in progress. - 12.27.2004
Happy holidays! - 12.24.2004
Listen, I am not a complete dick, it's not like I want Joe to die alone surrounded by cats or something. - 12.23.2004
Plus I am convinced my butt is extra big when it's upside down. - 12.22.2004

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