Sunday, June 04, 2006

Water World

This weekend was 517’s extended bachelor party, which involved 11 guys trucking several hours north, beyond the rim of civilization, to where the moose and blackflies reign. The itinerary read as follows: camping out Friday night, a long dirt-road shuttle in a decrepit schoolbus Saturday morning, running the south outlet from Moosehead Lake (class II-IV) in inflatable kayaks, rendezvous at lunchtime with powerboat at northern end of Indian Pond, get towed (in kayaks) five miles to island at mid-point of the pond (it's a big pond), camp out on island with lobster dinner, get up early, get towed another several miles to the other end of the pond, switch to 14-foot rafts, and run the Kennebec (class II-V) 12 miles back to where we camped Friday.

And all this might have been an excellent plan, except for one small point: In the Smallish State, nowadays, it rains non-stop. Which is exactly what it did from late Friday until—well, it’s still raining. We became very familiar with the feeling of being wet and cold, in a wetsuit. Lunch on Saturday involved standing in the woods in a downpour eating sandwiches and chips off plates which periodically had to be tipped into order to drain off the water. And the tow-across-the-lake scheme was simply a textbook case of “how to induce hypothermia”. The “tents” provided by the outfitter leaked hideously. I tried to adjust the rainfly on ours, and it shredded in my hand like tissue paper.

For a brief period Saturday night we did get a smoky fire going. More importantly for morale, a flask of whiskey made endless circles. It was periodically refilled by the best man; in the morning we discovered we’d consumed a bottle of Jameson, a bottle of Black Velvet (thanks, Canadian friends), a bottle of Crown Royal (why are you shipping all this stuff south to us?), and a “handle” of Jim Beam. Foof. One young fellow got rowdy and had to be restrained from entering the fire several times.

In the morning the rain persisted. The eldest member of the group, in his 50’s, proclaimed mournfully that he was “still hammahd”. Some cans of Moxie (the official beverage of the Smallish State) were produced to ward off the ill effects from the previous night. The wetsuits felt like climbing naked into graves of cold mud. Again we were towed in the “duckies” across the lake, arriving at the other end numb and bluish. On to the rafts and four hours of repeated submersion under slate-grey spitting skies, finally hauling our pruned and shivering asses out just about at the limit of endurance.

Never have dry clothes felt so good. I feel like we’ve earned the right to attend the wedding, now.


Anonymous Michael J. said...

> The wetsuits felt like climbing naked into graves of cold mud.

Beautiful. Great piece of writing. Thanks. Glad I wasn't there.

6/4/06, 9:57 PM  
Blogger Katinka said...

Ditto to both sentiments!

6/4/06, 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Co-Chief said...

Nice post. And I must say it sounds eerily reminiscent of another "bachelor" party I once attended in the hinterlands of West Virginia...

6/4/06, 11:35 PM  
Blogger Katinka said...

ps( the Moxie link didn't work; I'm still curious as to what this mysterious beverage is *grn*)

6/5/06, 2:59 AM  
Anonymous Johanna said...

Wow. Wet cold misery. I can perhaps relate quite well. All resentment of the timing of the long weekend on this side of the border is temporarily suspended. After all, my biggest complaint about my weekend is that my lips are sunburned...

We ship the stuff south because we figure you need it. We're pretty nice that way. That, and *we* drink the stuff imported from Scotland, so have lots left over.

Great post. It is probably selfish to hope that you have many more equally blogable adventures in the near future.

6/5/06, 7:25 AM  
Blogger Turboglacier said...

Apologies-- The Moxie link has been fixed. Drink up.

6/5/06, 9:54 AM  

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