Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 74: Worries for another day

My tent was high on the east bank under the trees, sheltered from both rain and morning sun. I was woken by some light, and read there in the tent. My naked feet weren't going anywhere until I knew they'd be safe, and I could wait all day if need be.

Leaves threw shadows on the tent, and I looked out. The sky was partly bright and partly blue. The sky was still chill under the canopy of trees. The sun shone on the water but the bank was still in shade while I cooked breakfast.

It was a slow start to a beautiful day. The sun was candy to my eyes starved by three days of clouds. The river was wide and slow under the windless air. Low slopes led up to trees which ruled the banks until they were done in by beavers or the widening river.

There was little in the way of wildlife. A few ducks, which are not so annoying on the wide river, a couple of heron. Many white-tailed deer thought themselves hidden near the river, and did not consider a canoeist especially threatening. There were many flies congregating about the canoe, my floating island, and I could not blame them. I had a bag and a half of garbage. The garbage had been soaked in rain for two days and now the sun was cooking it up. It smelled really good. I did swat several flies, though; I consider death a mercy to them.

The river made a series of sharp loops under a crop-duster which did the same. The sky started accumulating clouds and the river straightened.

I saw a ramp leading up from the river to a nice private campsite. It had a picnic table and a firepit, and tracks leading up to the road. There was a dirt patch that would have been great for a tent if it were a little higher. A canoe was there, and a motorboat, both turned upside down so they didn't fill with water or snow. The motorboat had a gas can on top. It would have made a good spot to co-opt for a night, but I pressed on.

A bit further I saw something like a roofless shanty. Loose boards defined an area, and used house doors, once painted burgundy, provided access. Inside there was a firepit, a chest of drawers, and some tables and chairs.

The exterior was festooned with signs. One identified the place as "Willy's fishing hole". Others seemed to be random warning signs: a large exclamation point on a yellow triangle, and a rectangle which read, "VORSICHT GRUBE".

I was feeling uncomfortable, I mean I really had to go, so I found the nearest tree and let loose. As I began to feel better, I looked up and saw a metal sign. The sign's letters were faded, but I could just make out "NO TRESPASSING OR HUNTING". I zipped up and continued on, highly amused.

I came to the confluence with the Little Saskatchewan River. I had seen this on the map,and hoped it would make good camping. The Little Saskatchewan has a gravel bed, and laid a huge gravel bank at the confluence. It was the best site I had since the Large Saskatchewan.

I set up my mesh tent as far from trees as possible to get an early waking. I left the rain fly off for the same reason, but kept it nearby. The sky had clouded up considerably during the day.

This was a well-used but not well-loved campsite. There is too much trash on the river for me to bother cleaning up all of it, but when it shows up on my campsite I take it personally. I could not be comfortable until I picked up every beer can, water bottle, bait container, and plastic bag. There was some strange paper wrappers which I determined to be fireworks; they also had to go, as well as the occasional cigarette butt laying around.

I was out of water, and although I should reach Brandon the next day, the Little Saskatchewan was clear and fast, so I pumped two liters of water through my filter. For each liter, I count "1... 1, 2... 1, 2, 3..." and so on, to prove to myself I am making progress. I guess on average I get to about 20, which comes to 5mL per pump.

With my chores accomplished, I was comfortable and my site was very beautiful. I sat down to write this very entry.

Day 74 ended: 49*52.313N, 100*07.169W


John said...

"VORSICHT GRUBE" is German for "CAUTION MINE", which means either that you should watch out for cave ins and rock dust, or that the owner is very, very possessive.

In unrelated news, Kev, you might like to know that David B., my sophomore year roommate, is now a first grade teacher in science and social studies.

In even more unrelated news, with no candidate winning a majority in the first democratic presidential election in the Maldives, the incumbent Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed move on to a second-round runoff.

Kevin Saff said...

I think this is a decent post. I would write more like this, except I am not always in that mood.

It also gets harder to write as the days get shorter.

John said...

Yup, it's pretty good. I like the posts where you weave ideas with events the best, like the Cool Bike one from recently, and then the one about the beautiful lady where you speculate about her boat.

Having said that, I recognize there isn't always an idea behind what happens, that there are just events.

I also think we find short posts reassuring, given the circumstances, so I say don't push to get them.