24 August 2009


I am hungry and waiting for dinner, self-banished from the kitchen for three meals so that my cook group can become more self sufficient in the kitchen. At the moment they are figuring out white rice. Not very successfully from what I hear. Today we stayed at Garden Point in order to improve our stroke skill sets, learn about weather, have environmental show and tell. When I look above me there is a grillwork of branches, lacy cedar leaves, drying paddle jackets, and a corner of the tarp of higher learning. Close by are the calm voices of the instructors and the campfire glows and crackles beyond. Sitting in a single kayak for the first time today emphasized the need to really sit up straight. The girls are keeping up a running commentary that is distracting and would be hilarious if I wasn't A.) Hungry and B.)tired and out-of-sorts. I was so looking forward to rice and soy sauce and changing plans at the last moment
is not something I am graceful at. I should make water for tomorrow and prep my gear for easy packing early in the morning. I am not sure why such a sense of despondency is hovering about me, but a good sleep will hopefully send it flying. I IDed a lodgepole pine today
from remembering. Burke would be proud. Out here on the coast Pinus contorta is called shore pine, but whether Montana or Canada, a tree is a tree is a tree. Sometimes things seem to hover at the brink of disaster and Gene just sits there calmly, observing from his corner. He thinks I am hard to read and I often feel the same about him. Ah cabbage, the friendly plant. On our first day, there were some sort of biting gnats and as the days go on I seem to discover more and more damage those little creatures did to my feet and hands. I definitely have not eaten very well today, what should have been a day of feasting. Half a bagel with butter, three gingerbread pancakes, and a peanut butter Cliff bar. Possibly caramels later. Cross your fingers. I asked for criticism today and I got it and it was very fair but also very hard to totally monitor. My shut up reminder has returned to my hand, and I only hope that my role in the group is
not too set in any way.

17 August 2009


A quiet journal writer under a sheltering cedar, a sleeping instructor, boat boat for a pillow, two giggling girls lounging in the sand talking about nothing important. A wide sand and cobble beach, and island that offers exploring at low tide, the high chirrups of a bald eagle perched in a snag above me. Wild roses grow and bloom here and the sand is studded with shells of all sorts, some familiar, some exotic. We have an hour more of this quiet time before our evening lesson. The girls say fries and quesidillas for dinner. Okay quick impressions, not nesscarily accurate--Berek, the southern "gentleman"--Alex, the captain of the crew team--Wendall, the odd one--Camille, a little spoiled--Bethany, the princess--Sam, Thoreau--Jon, the child--Ryan, slightly clueless, utterly normal--Me, wilderness girl--Parks, who is fab-u-lous. Today we paddled to Garden Point and Sam behind me we made it a goal not to run into any other boat. When I started to distract myself with songs and games the paddling pain was easy to put aside, but I am afraid my stroke still needs adjusting, for everyone else seems to be complaining of sore abs, and I haven't felt the muscles working there. Perhaps it is because I have no muscles there to speak of. We are staying here tomorrow, with skill building and lessons to fill the day. I feel as though the other girls are beginning to leave me behind. I suppose I am letting them do it and the future is in my hands with this situation, but I was a little annoyed this evening for I feel as though they are slow to do so many group things for they know I will get impatient and do it for them. Still it is a minor situation.


Unexpected delays, an imperfect campsite, a quiet group of travelers make up the sum of today, due to an upside down single and the somewhat tense rescue. The fact that she did not shrug it off as no big deal reminded us of how fragile our shell of protection is against the wiles of wild Canadia. With a fierce wind picking up against us, we stopped two miles short of our goal today and made camp at a place that is at once wild and holds the firm print of human habitation. Where our camp last night was like a homey site set aside for us, today's camp is something from the end-of-days, post-apocalyptic in scope, with huge concrete supports rising from the water, twisted rusted iron all that is left of the thing it once supposed. Behind me a strange bird crys, "Hoohwah-Hoohwah-Hoo," a new sound, as so many things are new to me on this trip. And yet I know I will learn and adapt to this enviroment, for it is in my nature to be fluid and melleable to the situation at hand. My hands are swollen and sunburnt, we are making pizza tonight, we were given the how to poop in the woods talk, which is amusing no matter how many times you have heard it. Gene said today that I was hard to read, he couldn't tell if I was having a good time. I am, but the switch hasn't come as it did on my WFR class where I learnt how to show it properly without any know it all quality or other negativity creeping in where I don't mean it to be. More after dinner. In the even ing the clouds have started moving in, forcing me to throw up a rainfly, not stormproofed, but at least it will save me a trip outside at 2am. We were thinking of going without tonight, but those clouds make me nervous and I can hear Gene listening to the weather on the VHF radio which makes me think he is nervous too. I learned about black twinberry today and drank camomile tea, and now I am ready for bed. The ground is unusually lumpy tonight. My tentmates are still out and about, full of energy and unnaturally chipper.