Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June 16, Lake Koocanusa

Early up today. Still chilly, my down jacket as comforting as someone bringing coffee in bed - which doesn’t happen here, of course. I do get coffee ultimately, but it is more like a bowel treatment than what you usually associate with the term. David boils the coffee, so as to concentrate the toxins, then pours off the supernatant which has the appearance of tannin-saturated swamp water - and the taste. There is no cream, usually, and only rarely sugar. This isn’t oversight but intentional. He doesn’t want his creation adulterated. Very proud of it. I think he came to his opinion while a tooth was out.

Speaking of bowel treatments brings to mind the nature of the facilities in these national forest campgrounds for some of our necessary functions. Do you remember when you were young and you had an inability to accurately assess what size space you could potentially fall through; like on a board bridge with cracks between the boards; and you only hesitantly, with great trepidation, perhaps
holding someone’s hand, could cross such a perilous passage? Well, this is the way it is in these campground facilities. They have these pits with tops on them. Once the top is raised, there is nothing to keep you from falling through. You’re supposed to sit down on this and relax. This is hard enough to do if you had that childhood assessment problem but impossible if you saw the movie, Slum Dog Millionaire. The best solution is to not go in these little buildings and, instead, stay dehydrated, and when you get to a town large enough to have a German Madame, get a colon evacuation. If she has a whip, she can do double duty since this is a trip for masochists. Spares you, too, the saturation of your clothing by the smell of mountain pine scent that emits from all those little hanging paper pine trees the forest service puts in these facilities to spare attendees a full experience of our humanity.

And while I’m on the camping experience, I would like to talk of that wonderful thing - the sleeping pad. This is a one-inch thick device that inflates with the help of breath. When you have some, you blow whatever air and bacteria you can muster into a little crevice that screws tight, then lay it in your tent. It is a lot like the yogi’s nail bed and serves the same function - to sever you from your preoccupation with you and to advance your efforts to accept round-the-clock discomfort so you can finally give up on this plane of existence, your personal significance in the scheme of things and find bliss while stuck on this planet.

Those who sell these things don’t alert you to this truth because there is no truth in advertising, and it might cut into sales if there were. The good news is that since you can’t sleep because of the developing bed sores, you have more time to contemplate the exquisite and equally educational pain of the next morning’s hill climbs. All’s well that end well.

News Bulletin: David lost his tooth - third time now. Is he becoming immune to Super Glue? Is his body rejecting his tooth? Are there larger forces at work here? Was it something in that beer that dissolved the glue? So many unknowns, so little time, so little interest in the truth among the people, so much certainty unwarranted, so much constricting sameness, so much bullshit here and elsewhere.

Lake Koocanusa, the banks of which we camp, is the damed Kootenai River that begins in Canada, comes to the US, then back to Canada - hence, the name. It’s full of landlocked salmon - the coho, highly priced by those near and far. The limit is 50 fish a day, possession 100. People smoke and can them. “Sweet red meat - best you ever had” - told to us by a man in our campground without an accompanying invite to dinner. Salmon interrupticus. When you’re eating Dave’s nutrition-free cuisine, a mischance like that is as painful as the prospect of a long climb. The guy was not from the south, apparently. This lake is 90 miles long. We’ve seen a lot more -osprey than boats on it.

Pat Sewell

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