Friday, August 8, 2008

Day 16: My curmudgeon

I do not know how I would do on my trip if left to my own devices, but I am fortunate to have an old curmudgeon along, courtesy of my friend Ed. This curmudgeon, Cliff Jacobson, knows everything about canoeing and camping, and deigns to tell me some of it, all the while being ashamed at the silly mistakes that I make along the way. Fortunately there is a paperback cover between me and his wagging finger, which makes the criticism easier to take. For all I have of Cliff Jacobson is his book, Canoeing and Camping.

Curmudgeons usually become curmudgeons, because they have lived a long time. They have lived long enough to make a lot of mistakes, but have done things right enough to last.
I had several times to this point, after finding myself in some basic error, referred to this book to find out what had gone wrong. And surely if things had ever gone wrong, they had the previous night, much of which was spent shivering in my underwear, watching my tent roll away. So I picked up the book, and reviewed his chapter "Weathering the Storm".

The next night the sky looked clear, but I thought it best to rig up my tent as securely as possible, just for practice. I set it up on high ground. There were no trees around but I set it close to the cliff face for lightning protection. I set up pegs everywhere I could, and weighed them down with rocks. I found that guy lines on the ends of the tent weren't as effective as on the sides, where the panels are larger. Tighten everything out, and it is taut as a drum.

I went to bed in my over-secure tent, believing no storm would come that night. And yet, I began to hear a rat-tat-tat of rain on my roof, and then wind came up, and then flashes of lightning. But the tent holds.

Day 16 ended: 50*19.858N, 110*36.950W

No comments: