April 21st, 2008


I Don't Mind

Well I am looking, I am searching, I have found
Near the ground, my soul, myself, beneath this trail.

There's no other place I'd rather be.
Can't you see me out here walkin' in the rain and hail.
Purpose of life seems to me is
Not to take yourself too seriously.

I wouldn't want to be an old man sittin' in an office
Building someplace far away, with worry on my face.

Well you can take my car, my stereo, my little money.
Leave me with nothin' but my trail family.
Take my dress up clothes, my cheap cologne,
My college loans I don't mind, I don't mind.

Well if that taxman comes lookin' I'm at 10,000 feet
Cookin' up some oatmeal or some rice and beans.

I worship the Spirit who doesn't just look down
He looks up and through and all around,
Find Him in the rocks and trees. Cause there's no reason to pray
When you wake up every day to the sunrise over Cito Peak.

So find some ground lace up your boots start walkin'
And you will find reason, enough reason to believe.

Well you can drop your worries at the parking lot
Or way down in the city where the sun burns hot.
Although civilization is a nice place to visit,
I wouldn't want to live there.

Oh just one final paragraph of advice don't burn yourselves out.
Be as I am. It's not enough to fight for the land.
It's even more important to enjoy it while you can, while it's still here.

So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around.
Ramble out yonder explore the woods, encounter the grizz,
Climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers,
Breathe deep that yet sweet lucid air.

Sit quiet for awhile contemplate the precious stillness
That mystery and awesome space enjoy yourself.
Keep your brain in your head and your head attached to your body.
Body active and alive. And I promise you this much.

I promise you this one sweet victory, over our enemies.
Over those desk bound people with their hearts in a box
And their eyes hypnotized by calculators.
I promise you this one sweet victory...
-- Peter Bingen

So there I wuz . . .

. . . discussing packing and hiking at our Scout Troop meeting. Our Troop Guide, a 13-year-old Star Scout, had given a presentation on packing a backpack for camp. After his presentation, I whipped out Ol' Faithful, my handy-dandy orange backpacking trowel (see userpic). I asked him if he'd covered the proper use thereof.

Well, he didn't know what that was for. Neither did the Scout nor the Assistant Scoutmaster standing nearby. So I told them.

Then I wandered off to find Mitch, who went backpacking with us at Cumberland Gap last year, and I said these important words:

I'm a hoopy frood who knows where his trowel's at.

A minor rant

One of our new Assistant Scoutmasters called me over at the Troop meeting tonight to see if I could help with his son's new backpack. Son is a brand-new, barely eleven-year-old. Dad wanted to make sure it was fitted to him properly and he knew how to adjust it, pack it, etc.

I almost fell over when I saw what Dad had gotten Junior. He'd bought a top of the line, internal frame pack. Oh dear, I thought, here's another of them. I mean, people buy these complicated things that are much, much harder to pack than a simple external frame pack -- because they're cool, or because the salesman says it's what all the serious packers are carrying, etc.

But wait! there's more! Not only was it an internal frame pack, it was a technical pack -- you know, one of those torpedo jobbies used to free-climb Devil's Tower and such. There is no bloody way this kid can be taught how to pack this to any good effect. I mean, a technical climber's pack is all one big hollow sack. Very unforgiving: you've got to know exactly how to pack these things, and keep them very tight, to use them properly.

Dad probably bought the top of the line pack. The salesman at J.L. Waters or wherever must have seen him coming, with "Sucker" written all over his face. The sad thing is, given that the pack is basically just an open duffel, Dad could have bought him a duffel bag with carrying straps and done Junior as much good.

The right gear is what you need for each task; not the most expensive gear. Having too much to handle is just as big a mistake as having too little to do the job.