12 forum posts
Since I enjoyed my single night truck camping adventure so much last weekend, t I decided to do it again this week. Freddy (the wonderdog) was raring to go and so was I. The first week of school/work was nice but hectic as always, and the wilderness was calling again.
After hearing about some girl with green hair, that was presumably missing after her boyfriend dropped her off at the top of Green Canyon trail head, I must admit that I was a bit apprehensive to say the least. She had been dropped there in early August, and had never been seen again. This is a sad story folks, but apparently she was unhappy with life, and thought that she would find herself communing with the wolves and mountain lions, while under the protection of her German Shepherd dog. Although, I knew that she disappeared, but since it was three weeks ago, my friends and I speculated that she probably hiked the ten miles to "Tony's Grove" lake, met some fella and proceeded to the big wilderness, about 200 miles North in the Jackson Hole area. The story was sketchy from the beginning, but this matter didn't concern me or Freddy, so we went camping again just 1/4 mile from where the Green haired girls boyfriend let her off.
Freddy and I are content to merely set up a campsite with a huge fire, throw the tennis ball a little, eat dinner, read, and play the guitar and sing as loudly as I used to back in the good old days when I had some land. Had we been hikers we might have found some disturbing shit only about 2 miles from our happy camping spot.
Freddy absolutely hates the rough 30 minute crawl up the sharp rocks of the canyon, while the truck rocks hither and thither like one of them old washing machines. He usually starts his whining and crying within the first 5 minutes and I must admit I find it quite aggravating. We finally got to the camp-site and realized that there was nary a stick of firewood to be found. This would not do. I rely on a big campfire for protection from the various wild animals that tend to live up here in the Northern Rockies, and I forget to mention that wolves have recently moved into this country from the Yellowstone area. So Wolves, Bears, Lions, and Moose, are all represented up here, with lions and moose the most common. I LIKE A BIG FIRE, is all I can say about all that.
I barely managed to coax Freddy to get back in the truck, and we found some fallen timber about 10 minutes down the violent rocky trail. I found a rope, dropped the tailgate, and tied about 100 pounds of logs onto the tailgate using the "truckers hitch" which is a nice knot to know how to tie. That wood didn't move at all, although the truck was bouncing everywhere.
We got back and I got a big hot fire going, then settled down to read some more of the novel "Lonesome Dove", while watching the twilight set prematurely over the upper crags of the towering mountains on either side of us. I soon fired up the trusty old kerosene lamp which would provide extra light and protection against all the "scaries" that exist out here. Although I was careful to pack all the food into my backpack in the cab of the truck, I couldn't stop thinking about the stories, how bears can smell through all that. But all my food was packaged Indian cuisine and Japanese noodles, which I hoped wouldnt tempt any animal into ripping my truck doors off, since it barely tempted me to eat at all. I should have hung all the consumables up a bear bag, out of reach, but I was just to damned lazy. Plus I brought my twelve guage Winchester riot gun, which holds enough firepower to disuade the hungriest of animals.
After watching the big yellow moon go down, I proceeded to play a sweet version of "Pancho and Lefty" slowly, in the Willie Nelson style. After that song, I drank a few shots of Jim Beam and went into the ancient Irish sea shanty "The Irish Rover", both songs came out clear as a bell, since I had no audience to impress. The acoustics of the towering cliffs made the songs sound even better than usual. Then I broke into an old epic love song I had written 30 years ago called: "Mary" (Who I initailly wrote it for escapes my memory), but the song is quite powerful, and is clearly the masterpiece of all my years of song writing. I played and sang it better than I ever have, and this is before the whiskey even started to hit me. Played a dozen less important songs, before I finally went to sleep at 3 in the morning. The loud crashing noise in the woods nearby, hurried me into the safety of the camper. I assumed it was an Elk, but stayed up and read my book for another 20 minutes just in case.
7 AM: Dog wakes me! Damn! not enough sleep. He was excited to get outside and make a nuisance of himself, so I went outside with him and made some camp coffee on my little "Brunton Stove", which fits in your pocket, but can cook a full meal once unfolded and screwed upon a little butane tank. This little bastard cooked me a pot of coffee and enough water for morning noodles in no time at all. Much easier than building a campfire in the morning and wasting wood. I was still way tired, so I went back into the camper and crashed until a decent hour, which was around noon. The dog was looking abit confused since I forgot to buy him food, and we treaded our old truck, back down the canyon (45 minute trip each way), and bought him 5 cheap corndogs, and me some more beer, at the nearest convienience store.
We hitched up some more wood for our return to the campsite but the dog, who was riding in the camper, got scared and stuck his arm through the screen in order to get out of the quaking vehicle. I was pissed at the damage, so I made him follow us the remainder of the way on foot. Once we got back, I realized that he was more than happy with the arrangement.
I can't explain it, but once we returned I got a creepy feeling that I can't describe. I wasn't afraid, but I felt creeped out by being in this campsite, although I've been here on two other nights. I had spotted another site earlier, a few miles down the canyon, so we packed up and headed that direction. Freddy, realizing that he had the upper hand, completely refused to get into the truck. Sure I could have grabbed him and forced him, but thought it wiser just to drive off without him and see his reaction to that. Freddie had no problem keeping up, and ran behind us for 15 minutes until we got the the second site. Freddy was so proud of himself and happy that I let him have his way, that he was quite well behaved and good the rest of the trip. Though this site was next to a mountain bikers trail not once did Freddy try to chase the riders, which is good. I'd hate for Freddy to cause a bike accident.
We both liked the wide grassy prairie separating us from the high cliffs to the south, which were more scenic and higher than at the other campsite. The western view was a pretty forest that went uphill in a long but more reasonable incline. The forest was nice to walk in w/o too much underbrush, the quality of the green indicated that water flows through this part of the canyon quite often. I was glad to make the move, even though we lost a bit of solitude. Freddie was respectful to the occasional traveler and that was all I really asked from him.
We jammed again after dark, and it was even more clear and perfect as the first night. No immediate audience, allows me to play and sing without holding anything back. And it allows me to take a break between songs, and analyze ways to make the next song more perfect. I may go back to playing bar-rooms again if I can keep this up! Now that Im older I have more patience, and I no longer worry whether people like me or not. It's a nice sort of confidence I must say.
Freddy wakes me again at 7 AM, and costs me 5 hours of needed rest. I tryed to sleep in the hammock, but the swarms of horseflys, and little bees, would not allow me to sleep out side. Inside the camper was too hot, since we were no longer under the trees, so the only alternative was to sit in a chair and attempt to read some more. Noticed quite a few "latrine holes" since this was a well used camp ground, this observation probably explains the amount of flies. I only had a 6 inch combat knife to dig with, but I made "do" and scored a perfect hit in a 3 inch wide hole. The plug of sod fit nicely on top of things, but we soon left the campsite after coffee and headed down the cruel trail back home. I tricked Freddy into riding in the cave underneath my bed in the camper, where he rode without freaking for the hard drive back home. There was no way Freddy could have walked the rest of the way home, since part of the trip was through city streets.
The dog was happy with this arrangement, and we got home around 2 pm Sunday. I then got on the internet and found that the Green Haired Girl's body was discovered a mile or two from my camp, the Sheriff called the death an obvious suicide. They spotted her dog staying close to the corpse but were unable to catch it. Weird to think a dead body had been rotting there for the past three weeks and I was camped that close to it. Very sad to hear the news and I pray that her family will be alright. Poor kid is all I can say. This weekend we are camping 10 miles away from there because of the ewwwwwwww factor. (The news story: http://hjnews.townnews.com/articles/2009/09/01/news/news02-09-01-09.txt)