4 March 2006

Bush Clowns

For many years my fishing and hunting brothers headed into the remotest mountain country we could find in search of Canada. We found it every motherfucking time.

Our wilderness experience had one major requirement: we did not want to see any other people. This is not an easy task, even in a country with its population as widespread as this one. It used to be easier but the introduction of four wheel all terrain vehicles has allowed the laziest drunken assholes into places they could only access on horseback before the Japanese gave us the atv.

As I rose earlier than my fellow beer drinkers and Hell raisers I could walk around in the emerald stillness of Canada as it was thousands of years ago and as it shall remain thousands of years into the future assuming a plague catches up with the selfish growth and activities of our species.

We would bring everything we could fit into the backs of the trucks except a television to make our experience a fun and comfortable one. "Don't forget the skeet launcher." We usually had a boat bought cheap to be left hidden beside a lake and tools to fix other ones.

The road into the lake we eventually began to habituate because of the rarity of human encroachment was long and poorly maintained except the early stretches of it where logging activity made it worth keeping relatively smooth. After that there are several places where a raised 4x4 is necessary to continue and near the lake itself a winch.

In all the years we camped there we only had four human visitors. A lone motherfucking German out hunting on his atv. The woods are loaded with the wilderness loving fat bastards. Another time a fat dad (probably a motherfucking German too) and his two twin fat sons arrived on atvs and dragged the leaky boat into the lake for an hour of fishing. They were quite a sight. Dad sat in the front while his two boys sat with the cracks of their asses exposed at the back. We thought surely the boat would become a submarine under their folds of weight.

In September when we are there the bugs have just about all died off but it is cold enough for us to have counted on our camp being covered in snow every few years. Camping in the snow, if inconvenient, is a spectacular sight. We are in the heart of grizzly country and weapons are kept ready should one attempt to get too friendly with us. If a tree I found was indeed a grizzly's scratching post I still shudder thinking of how high those claw marks were on the big pine.

Besides wild trout from the unstocked lake beside us and the many others nearby, the meat pink and free of all but the most widely wind circulated pollutants, we eat grouse when the boys with their guns can find any. We eat in the darkness because we sleep late, snug in our sleeping bags waiting for the sun to rise over the old growth forest, and need every hour of daylight left to us.

When the weather is right the forest is covered with mushrooms. During such occasions everyone would be on the lookout for the big red ones with the moon white spots on them.

There are Roosevelt elk hiding up there somewhere. The government insists all the Roosevelts they tried to transplant to the area were killed by trains and disease years ago but we often saw their unmistakable tracks and scat. I would have given anything to have gotten up in the morning for a piss and looked out on the meadow being grazed by one of the resilient remnants of the invisible bright eyed monsters.

I started going up to those mountains after Ranger was too old for such trips. She saw plenty of other wilderness in Sliverville. I brought Strangler up there when he was a year old. He followed Russ and I into the lake when we took the leaky boat for our first evening of fishing. I had to haul him into the boat when it became apparent he would sooner drown than swim for shore. The leaky boat strained under his watery weight and Russ and I were soaked after Ranger gave his mighty thankful shake.

For those of us who live in or near the greed and convenience of Dope City now is the time to ready our fine weather gear. Winter, grim and sparkly as ever, will soon make way for the mosquitoes of spring. Soon the Hammer will experience her first camping trip. I wonder if she will growl at me like Strangler did when, needing sleep myself, I would push him off my sleeping bag into his cold corner of the tent.

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