Day 2 started at about midnight when I woke to find JMan and GMan standing at the door. Were they making a break for it, going fishing, you know the fishing is good in there’s here parts, or perhaps wrapping my birthday present as today is my birthday. Nope, none of the above…..just a bio break. GMan said he had the situation under control and I asked again and was again reassured that all was well, so I rolled over and hit what can only be described as the most uncomfortable sleeping mattress in Vermont. The bonus are the nylon covers which are so loud that every time JMan on the top bunk moves, it make a delightful annoying swishing noise, only to be completed with the creaking of the metal bunks, an upgrade on last years Daniel Boone 4×4 wood post type. They sounded like an old sailing boat permanently tacking back and forth and never quiet finding that perfect course, assuming there is one, which mind you drowned out the swishing noise.
And so it went, swish swish, creak creak. At about 1:30 or so after a solid 10 minutes of rem sleep JMan lantern fell from on high. Lucky for us it hit every object it could as Newton extracted every last ounce of momentum and energy out of it. Those included but I’m sure are not limited to; the table and bench, various gear totes, the bunk beds, our bike helmets and finally the wooden floor. I guess I can be thankful it missed me, but I did plan ahead on that one and sleep opposite to him. With age comes wisdom!
However, things the go bump in night and in particular in the middle of the woods, have a funny way of quickening down the tourists, so during the lull I managed to drift off.
Yup, 4:04am that is….awake again. Mind you our cabin was nice and warm so that’s a plus…right!
Rolled around until 7 then got up…well sat up. The boys hid my birthday cards in our gear totes so before I completely unzipped my sleeping bag I opened them and we all had a good laugh. My darling wife like me has a great sense of humor and a keen eye for inappropriate and rude cards, be that birthdays or any other Hallmark event.
After breakfast of oatmeal and coffee the boys headed out to go fishing. I milled around for a few them headed to untangle JMan reel, it’s a full time job keeping him fishing. Between balls of line to catching the nearest tree while casting. Anyhow while hanging out one of the park workers was opening up the rental kayak, canoe and paddle boats. By opening I mean he was cutting the lock off with a hack saw, apparently they miss placed the key at the end of last season. Given this was the first weekend of the season he wanted to get ready for the hordes of novice boaters that would be showing up any second.
He was your typical twenty something or other, few Buds Lights on the heavy side with a good facial growth that said “its still kinda cold to shave me off”. In any event he pushed an aluminum canoe into the water, tossed in his life preserver and a few paddles, two is always better than one, especially if you drop the only one you have. He headed out like a champ, almost like he knew what he was doing. I went back to fixing JMans rod and frankly forgot about Mr. Park Worker. Little did I know but we were in for a real treat, a lesson in “dress for immersion and not for the air temperature”!
We all know that sound, flapping and flailing with the odd splashing sounds, followed with moaning and grunting as the water is still quite cold. Good job his preserver was in the canoe and not on his back where it should have being! I watched for 30 seconds or so, not out of shock but more a wondering of what he going to try next. I imagined the conversation in his head, should I save the canoe, which by the way is fairly unsinkable, should I try to put on my preserver, should I try to grab the paddles which at this point were floating away in two different direction, or should I forget about everything bar myself and get back to shore. Really wish I took a photo or three, but that would be adding insult to injury.
Mind you I knew he was in no real peril just wet, cold and definitely very embarrassed. After all he could practically stand up and reach the bottom, but I’m guessing the aforementioned ballest was keeping him…well bobbing. About this time I mentioned to another dad who was also there fishing with his offspring that “I’m fairly certain he did not want to do that” and perhaps we should go rescue him. We hatch a plan and decided to use a paddle boat in our rescue attempt. I figured it was the most stable of all available floating devices, yes, unlike the park worker I knew I was not dress for immersion and had no interest in going swimming. After all Bob (not his real name) the bobbling park worker had all available paddles so taking the other canoe was a non starter. We pushed off and started pumping like crazy to get up to speed…only to realize that we were going in reverse in slow counterclockwise circles! Also at this point my fellow boatsman announced that he and his wife where here some years ago and had a dickens of a time trying to navigate Half Moon Pond in one of these very vessels! Pity he didn’t think of mentioning that prior to our speedy land departure. No amount of turning on the so called rudder seemed to get us closer to Bob, who by now seems to have gathered himself quite nicely and was heading back to shore. I surmise that our paths might actually cross at some point, or we’d spend the morning going in circles backward. We did indeed get to Bob but he passed on our invitation and decided to keep heading to shore. We even offered to take the canoe but wet Bob was cruising and also declined that. At this point I decided it was only proper to formally introduce myself to my fellow hero. Sean (his real name, and I’m using the Irish spelling, as I’m Irish) and I exchanged pleasantries and then decided that the best course of action was to head full speed toward the nearest paddle. After all if we retrieved it we’d have a better chance of making land by sunset. I’m not sure if it was luck, a gust of wild or one of us farted at the right moment but we managed to be heading right toward one. A few foot strokes later Sean scooped it up and began padding as we headed for the second. Few minutes later we were safely back on dry land with both paddles and so was wet Bob. Bob did mention “that was a surprise”… no shit Sherlock, but added that his iPhone was still working. Working is a relative term up here in the real sticks. Your phone may be working, meaning you can turn it on and off, but cell service is a novelty. So, cell phones are more like expensive paperweights with flash lights and cameras.
After that excitement we headed back to camp and then onto Glenn Lake for more fishing.
Well to be honest I sat around and enjoying the views while GMan fished and JMan ran around and played with the locals wildlife….namely Sally (another orange salamander). Sure hope these things can’t poison us upright creatures.
GMan catch (and release) of the day.
Then back to camp for lunch. Chicken Teriyaki with Rice, very good.
After that it was a nap or a run. I so should have napped. 1.79 miles on a trail that leads back to Glen Lake. Anyone can run on a flat road but trail running is whole different animal. Little inclines hurt and big one are heart stoppers….well pulse elevators for sure. Got the ticker up to 179 at one point, yes I finished that knoll walking! However, short and all as it was it was real nice to trail blaze in a new patch of forest. Nothing like you, nature, 1/2 gallon of deep and some good tunes to get the blood flowing.
Then back in camp I decided that becoming human again and partaking of a shower was much needed. After feeding the machine a dollar for 10 minutes of hot water bliss I spend the first 5 trying to figure out the valves and waiting for the on demand hot water system to figure out it owed me 10 minutes of hot water. When it finally came out the upper shower head it felt like tiny shooting hot needles…you know the economy type heads, they call them water savers, they really should call them “get the fuck out of here, now”. So a combination of alternating between the lower head, which was more like a gusher and the upper worked quite well. If you were 3 feet tall it would be a great shower, after it figured out it owes you hot water that is.
Okay, I got forty winks, then coffee, then convinced the kids that ice cream was a good idea. 25 minutes later we were feasting on frozen goodness, the kind you can’t really get in the woods.
After our Ben & Jerry’s fix which lasted an hour as wifi is as sacred as cell service we drove around Ruthland for a bit. Not sure of its history but it has an interesting (original) downtown area. Low rise brick and stone buildings named after long dead and forgotten men, why is it always men or men type name, like the Mason Building or some such name. Never did come across the Susan or Mary Building. Anyways, it reminds me of many a downtown area that has seen better times. Even the coffee joint and bike shop we visited a few years back while camping south of here are both closed. Ruthland was also the closet thing to civilization to that campgrounds. It’s a shame when the main business road which this town has also is full of big box this and that stores, all opened and full of hunger consumers…like you and me.
To make matters worse I gave into the “I need more wifi” comment and we ended up at the center of American caffeine watering holes. Yes indeed, American does run (to the bathroom) on Dunkin Donuts. I pulled into a spot right out front in the hope that sucking wifi through the front wall would suffice. I would have parked closer, but that would have involved a cruiser, tow truck and possibly an ambulance and fire truck for good measure. Alas it was not meant to be and we were forced into that Formica hall of fame with muted brown tones, much like the end result of drinking the coffee.
The first thing that hits you is the air conditioning. Mind you 67 degrees does not warrant AC but heat in a cabin is not a necessity either. Not that you could hang meat, but you’d keep it good for a bit. We wandered up to the counter and we greeted cheerily by our server. JMan ordered his usual egg and cheese on a plain bagel not toasted, and I suggested a milk, since we don’t have a fridge in the cabin and after all the young lad is rather fond of cow juice. GMan was not hungry, or perhaps not desperate enough to chance anything, so he had a Sprite. Good choice I thought, sealed bottle that was produced in some far away plant and only handed by the DD staff members. I perused my choices and asked for the only thing I did not see “a croissant”. Our server eye me for a second then disappeared around the corner and came back with a “yes, we do. Good said I, I’ll have and egg and cheese on a croissant, anything to drink with that, sure, I’ll have small tea, black. This lifted a few eyebrows from people on the other side of the counter. I was thinking of saying “I already drank real coffee and did my daily constitution”, you can hold the (so called) coffee and kiss my lilly white Irish ass. But fearing the consequences of such a statement and given the manager could easily toss my skinny ass out onto the street I smiled, nodded politely and moved on.
Those of us in the real world, well normal world know what eggs taste like. I practically lived on them when I first landed on Cape Cod thirty one years ago and about this weekend, but who’s counting. I’m happy to say that DD eggs are just plain bad everywhere, even up here in the great state of VT. Also, the croissant was not as flaky as other DD, not that I’d know a good one from a not so good one, but this one was…well limp. A whole packed of salt later made it just about palatable. Again, once we got our fill of wifi, traffic light and big box stores we pointed Subu west on 4 and headed for our cabin in the woods.
Tonight was a quite one with lots of sitting around doing absolutely nothing. This is something I’m quite good at when I want to. I do prefer to be busy all the time much to the dismay of my better half, but when I can sit and write up our adventures without distractions the minutes and hours slip by with ease.
For my birthday celebration we decided on Marconi & Cheese, followed with a Strawberry Pop-tart which was topped with a lighted incense! I forgot to pack candles. What a bust, the mac was like cardboard and did not feel cooked at all and the cheese was about as far from cheese as you can get.
We ditched the lot, well GMan ate the Pop-tart and moved onto Good To-Go Classic Marinara with Penne. According to the EMS staff members back in Nashua NH, Good To-Go is the best freeze dried meals other that making them yourself.
If the finished product looks anything like it was when I opened the package I have some concerns. I said it looks like pigeon shit, more like deer poop from deer feeding on a steady diet of dirt and hardwood tree bark.
We needed to wait 20 minutes for this culinary delight. We passed the time by surmising how it would taste and if this one failed it will be Pop-tart and crackers for dinner, actually since it was 9:15pm let’s call it supper. For all you locals that’s the meal you have after tea and before you go to bed. Tea is more like your lunch and dinner is in the middle of the day. Saturday is the odd ball as you can have a fry, that’s eggs, rashers (bacon), sausage, black and white pudding (that’s another story) in the middle of the day (our dinner, your lunch). So, really by yank standards it’s brunch, but it’s really breakfast for lunch. A few minutes later I served…it smelled good and looks a whole lot better.
I poked at it with my fork, yes, we are not animals and do eat with utensils in the woods. The sauce was tasty but the pasta was like chewing Balsa Wood that had teak or other hardwood center. So I guess the per cooked description held true, pity I didn’t say it looked like small Twizlers covered in flakes of chocolate. Now that would have tasted good, cooked or uncooked. Done and dusted…into the land fill with meal #2.
We have had a few duds over the years but for the most part since going ice free camping, and the freeze dried route, all meals were at least edible. Truth be told some we will not try again, but you could at least get them down. Two duds in a row is one for the record book. Mind you my general out look on food is “if it ain’t moving faster than me I’ll try it”. This about covers anything I have tried to date bar a active young one!
Into our cozy cocoons at 9:50 for a few more words from “A Walk in the Woods”. Light out at 10:15. Rolling over tonight felt good as I was really tired….