By time the LEO rangers left, it was nearly dinner time and all of my belongings were scattered and unpacked on blankets around the camp. A camper named Mike, who was on the other side of the hill from me, rode through on a quad to make sure I was okay and brought me a rib eye wrapped in foil. The day before, I had traded him my guitar, paints, books, and other objects I would be unable to carry for dog food and a box of cigars the previous owner left in his camper. Being Mormon, Mike and his family didn’t carry coffee. I would have to make do with the bitter Chicory and Dandelion roots that grew along the roadsides. I roasted these on a rock by the fire and boiled the shit out of them for a barely palatable hot beverage. I had reached a stage where whatever calories and vitamins I could get were important.
The steak was much appreciated because all I had left
were meager rations to get me to the nearest fishable lake
twenty-four miles away. I had a can of tomato soup, a gallon ziplock
full of breadcrumbs, and a half pound can of Knorr’s Mushroom
Hunters gravy powder.
After sharing the rib eye with Maya, I
repacked my gear and strapped my tarps on top of my external frame
pack. Once thusly loaded I couldn’t lift the pack to get into it,
so I sat it next to a tree and strapped it on sitting down. Then,
pushing against the tree, I slid myself upward into a standing
position. I was carrying nearly two hundred pounds of gear and
figured I would do two miles a day at 100 yard intervals.
devised a tool to help me keep track of mileage. Knowing that my
average pace is one, and a mile is 1760 yards, I strung 18 beads on a
piece of hemp that was tight enough to prevent the beads from
slipping on their own. For each one hundred paces I traveled, I slid
one bead to the other end of the hemp. Once the beads had all been
moved, I would have travelled approximately one mile. (1800 instead
of 1760 paces to compensate for a slightly shorter pace due to the
heavy pack). Having a decent estimate of distances was important so I
would know where to look, according to my maps and charts, for water
sources and connecting trails.
Before I got out of camp though,
disaster struck. As I descended the low hill to the trail from my
camp, my tarps shifted forward over my head and I tumbled head over
heels down the hill. After several moments of flailing like an upside
down turtle, I extricated myself from the gear and surveyed the
damages. Luckily I was unhurt. Unfortunately the same could not be
said for the pack frame which had snapped the supporting guy wires
and was in ruins. Crap.
Remembering my survival studies, I cut
some branches with my machete and fashioned a travois using some of
my rope for lashings (One of those ladder-looking things that you
drag your crap with) and set off down the hill again. No Bueno. The
weight of the travois, together with the gear, dug a furrow as I
walked that made it quite difficult and made it immediately apparent
that I couldn’t cover 24 miles like this. Discouraged; I kindled a
small fire, smoked some of my remaining resin, brewed up a cup of
nasty tasting crap, and resolved myself to address.the problem after
a night’s sleep.
(I later learned you're supposed to have a
horse or mule to pull a travois).