Archive for the travel Category

Feral Futures pt 2

Posted in activism, adventure, band, colorado, earth, ecology, hiking, travel with tags , , , , , , , on June 19, 2012 by tymora42

The Wild Roots blog had great information about itself and the Feral Futures campout. The directions were detailed with numbers rather than names, though. Being a literary person I like words. Being a logical person I can follow numbers. FYI: 602 is not on Google Maps nor the Latitude 40 topos. It is, however, on a small rectangular wood sign once you make the turn off 501. How’s that for numbers.

Once you get to Pine River Campground they have another sign provided by Wild Roots in a car window detailing trail directions to the main camp. If I didn’t see him on the way out I would assume that Tom was still there waiting for his deer cart to load equipment in for a water filtration exposition. The cart was about half a mile in, pushed off to the side, abandoned by the initial group struggling to get it up the rocky trail. I sent a bicyclist fisherman heading back with word of it’s situation for him. Poor Tom.

You will walk past 3 miles of barbed wire to the Weminuche Wilderness boundary. Main camp is about another mile and a half. They hung a green bandana from a tree, intuitively instructing those in the know their whereabouts. On my last pass someone constructed an arrow with rocks and an animal vertebrae.

I met the crew led by a guy named Nathan, who runs the Wild Roots blog. He said this was their fourth year doing this event. As it turned out I had met Nathan once before at a holy! holy! holy! show in Durango. He put me on the Rise Up email list under the name Dirty Hands. He claimed that holy! holy! holy! would probably play at their gathering on the solstice. “If you see a bus in the parking lot, they are here.” They put on a really great show. The Beehive Collective opened with a seminar on The True Cost of Coal. Then the lead singer gave a talk about activating against strip mining before taking the stage and convincing the audience to get naked. I like to walk by that building soon to be a parking lot and say, “I got naked there.” It is one of the few places in a Colorado city that I can say that compared to Houston.

I met other folks with names like Grasshopper and Kenney Eye and Juniper and Nettle. No Ben. Nobody knew the hitchhiker I picked up a day ago.

I ate lunch up the river and swam by myself. Coloradans don’t like to get wet. When I mentioned this to Nathan he said, “That’s not true. My friends and I live to go swimming.”

“Yeah,” I replied, “swimming isn’t the only way to get wet and it’s the only one Coloradians can think of offhand.” Texans in full business attire in the middle of the summer will thank you if you shoot them with a water gun. As Nathan finished filtering water into a large canteen, a girl pulled a bundle of plants she had soaking in the Pinos to the shore. I followed her out to a group that congregated to learn how to weave a net to catch fish. I wonder how well that worked. Grasshopper returned my map and we talked about Tuckerville, an old mining town turned ghost town up in the hills of Vallecito. I shook my hands, thanked them all by name and left.

Somewhere in the woods along the trail someone was playing guitar and a girl’s voice was singing. It was beautiful. Ten minutes up I saw Ben hiking in with a group of Australians freaked out by how many guns they saw openly displayed on the horseback trail. He told me that five minutes after I dropped him off he was picked up by a kayaker heading up to the lake. The kayaker bought him drinks all night at a local bar and offered to let him camp out in his back yard. Ben obliged and made a late start in the next day, the day I saw him. I told him I would try to make it in on the solstice for holy! holy! holy! After the show I would get people together for some night swimming in the buff. We will see. I have lots of work to do that day and it is a hike in.

Tom was waiting about thirty yards past the cart tha had moved maybe ten. It was repacked with medical supplies. He informed me that national parks at federal. Although they honor state laws concerning gun control they do not honor state laws concerning medical marijuana. I wished him and his glaucoma well on their way and made my own journey back to the car.

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Feral Futures pt 1

Posted in activism, adventure, colorado, ecology, hiking, hitchhiking, travel with tags , , , , on June 18, 2012 by tymora42

I picked up a hitchhiker named Ben. I like picking up hitchhikers. I’ve been there. On the side of the road. Waiting. Walking. Taking rests. A break from the weary road. Running low on water. Hoping for someone. Anyone. Some kind soul to save you from the beauty of the road that has turned desolate. He was a “friendly.” I could tell from his labels. He had a nice pack that he was sitting on top of at the time of the extraction. That meant he actually walked most of the time. Unlike those yahoos with shit strewn about all over them. Or a duffle bag. Those guys aren’t adventurers. They aren’t ready for anything. They aren’t moving. They are just waiting to get to the next place. He wasn’t. He had a pack. The head of the pack had a hand drawn robot character. He wore a Phishing hat. I picked him up.

Ben told me he was heading for Vallecito Reservoir, a lake with three rivers flowing into it. From there he was heading up the Pinos to Pine River campground. He didn’t know all these names, of course. I knew them from the road and trail numbers he spouted off from a list. My brother and I tried to drop a canoe in from that campground, but there was no river access from it. Everything along the banks was privately owned by horse ranches, who probably strung up barbed wire over the stream even though all waterways in Colorado are public use. The nearest put in to run the Pinos is three miles up from the trailhead. This happened to be where Ben was going.

He was heading to an Eco Activist meet up for the next 10 days. “Like a Rainbow Gathering, if you know what that is.”

“Yeah, I was with the family at a National in Arizona a long time ago.”

“Cool, then, so, yeah, you know. This will be more like Regionals size-wise, but there should be people from all over. I’m coming from Texas.”

We talked about that for a minute. He had a bad time in Houston on that section of the trail and swore to never go back. By the end of the ride I learned enough about Feral Futures and Wild Roots to want to see what this camp out was all about. He invited me to join them when I could and ultimately admitted that I softened the whole Texas experience for him just a little.

The next day I scheduled my hike into the forest. I wanted to see where that trail went anyway.

The Scylla’s Blanket

Posted in adventure, books, fantasy, fiction, life, love, passage, poetry, relationships, story, travel, writing with tags , , , , , , on March 1, 2012 by tymora42

What a delightful day for a picnic!
The waves of Charbydis lapped against the beach
Helios had not yet set upon the Cliffside
And the song of Sirens played softly over the dune
Scylla laid in wait upon her blanket in the sand
for sailors, the most scrumptious of company,
To pass by her snare
She will reel them in like a fisherman
Entice them into her cavern with her sway
Posing all twelve of her long tall legs for the show and
Nibbling on appetizers of caviar and starfish

Fleets edge up to Beauty’s blanket
But only six men will be served
They would be wined and dined upon
A pound of meat; A bottle of red
“Oh, yes, dears, there is plenty enough to go around
Would you like some more?
You sure are a group of big strong lads.”
The conversation goes on like this
With the choral serenade still lingering in the distance
The calming waves churning along the shore
And Helios preparing for bed
Scylla smiles with all of her teeth
Then she cries
She wines like a babe about ceaseless desire
Here, they cry for her
She brings them close to her lips
They enter her and are consumed by her ways

The feast is done
The lambs were harvested on a bed of kelp
The ox were well seasoned with salt and brine
Beef and poultry and pig and man
All were taken down her gullet
With nary a crumb left for the ants
The men lay strewn about the den
From the ravenous ferocity of their hunger
In spent puddles along her floor
A little of them here
A little there
“Seconds?”
Gracious Host has the nerve to ask
“Dessert?”

“No, thank thee, m’lady.
But we must be on our way.”

Houston Hash gets a Humpty Dumbass

Posted in adventure, beer, blog, houston, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2012 by tymora42

My buddy broke his leg. I broke a vow. He considered this an even trade.

I have been running with this group called the Hash Hound Harriers. If you are not in the know, their concept is simple: follow the rabbit and drink along the way. They are a multinational organization with independently operated cells across the globe, like terrorists except for the drinking part. I mentioned that. Drinking. It almost needs to be mentioned again. And I am sure it will be.

The “hare” lays flour along his tracks. The rest of the group chases him. Every once in a while (1.5 miles give or take) they “beer check” you. That means you drink. At the end of the route is a keg and a circle and songs and dancing and shit talking and cuttin up. That means you drink more. It’s fun.

Right before that, the more drinking and singing and circle stuff, is when my buddy took a dive off a 12 foot wall.

This was not the normal hash run. It was actually a bike ride. They have all of these different variations in the 40 plus years the Houston Chapter has been active. They call the bike version the “Cychohash.” We rode 12 miles (really 15 because we lost trail for a bit and wandered in circles) ending at these abandoned grain silos along the bayou. You could climb up inside of them through this hole and a rope on the back side. I won’t say it takes too much of an adventurer to explore this, but evidently it does take enough of one since most of these hashers chose to stay on the ground.

And these people chase other people through the woods and back alleys of the city and the more “shiggy” a trail means more water and weeds and mud and forest obstacles. When a 12 year looked up the pipe, grabbed the rope and started his ascent with nobody following behind, I had a sudden revelation: There is a difference between an athlete and an adventurer.

I joined H4 because I thought it would be adventurous. Sometimes it is, but for the most part these guys are all athlete. I am not an athlete. Athletes were the guys who kicked my ass in highschool. I had a rude reminder of this at their New Years party. I felt like the social outcast nerd that crashed the jock frat party except they had grown up a little. They served better beer, they played terrible music on a soundsystem that could not handle it and instead of pushing me around they just ignored me and forgot that they knew who I was. Happy twenty twelve!

A few Hashers cross over into the adventurer athlete realm of the Vann Diagram. So, what’s the difference? An athlete is trying to win. An adventurer does it because it is there. Athletes avoid danger. Adventure seekers dive headlong into it. Athletes want speed. They want to hurry and get there. Adventurers crave the journey.

This pipe and silo was not at all the leg breaker of my buddy. Humpy Dumpty climbed a wall. He did not so much as fall as he did drop a couple feet from a hanging position and land awkward. He heard it snap. He saw it dangling. He shouted the only name he knew. Some of the crew heard him. It was a couple of women I met earlier. We had shaken hands and introduced ourselves. I remembered both of their crazy nicknames given to veteran Hashers who have done stupid things in the past to get those names. As my friend shouted my name they asked him, “Whose that?” Go figure. Nerd in the frat house.

Oh, they know my name now. They yelled for a medic. Nobody officially stepped up while everyone wanted to do their part in helping, which mostly included snapping pics of him on the ground with their cell phone cameras. I observed for a second to see if anyone was more qualified than my meager Eagle Scout wilderness survival skills. They weren’t.

“Step back,” I said. “Don’t move him. I need two sticks and some rope.”

Nobody moved. I was still not important enough. I found the sticks myself and used my scarf belt to stabilize the wood on either side of his leg. I normally wear a faerie scarf belt. This time was no different. You never know when you may need to tie something up. I used the scarf to brace the wood on either side of the fracture. This ex-navy dude whips out a cord of manilla from the trunk of his car. Together we bound him up with bowlines and half hitches and a square knot for good measure.

“No ambulance,” my buddy cried, “No insurance.” It looked like we were doing this ourselves.

Once his leg was immobilized so as not to exacerbate the break, three tough guys fireman carried him to the back of the hare’s car while I called his girlfriend. She followed us to the Methodist Hospital. We checked him into the emergency room.

Nurses and Doctors from other floors gathered round to look at my handiwork. I was proud. They even left the splint on to take the x rays. As proud as I was showing everyone pictures and retelling the story, that pride was missing one persons validation. I called my dad. Part of me did it to tell him about the experience (read: adventure). The other part, the part I did not realize until I was actually talking to him, was that I wanted to thank him for providing me with the skills to take control of a situation like this with adequate knowledge and calmness to handle it correctly.

How did I break a vow? I said I was not going to go to Ruddyards, a dive bar my broken ankles friend frequents, the biggest reason he is always broke, and just as big a reason he has enough weight sensitivity issues to not want to be called Humpty

Dumbass. Of course he went there that night. He needed some comfort food in the vein of 151 and coke. Yeah, I went inside to clink glasses with his stupid ass and break my vow.

He told me, “Alright. We’re even now, but I guess that ski trip is off, huh?”

The Great Rubber Duckie Wrangle

Posted in blog, boulder, colorado, photography, review, travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2010 by tymora42

Boulder Creek Festival – Monday – Memorial Day 2010

French Duckie and his Mistress - Boulder Creek Festival - Rubber Duck Race

Every American town in existence for more than 50 years previous has some odd celebration with a competition or event unusually individual to their character. Take for a single instance Gloucester, Massachusetts with their Greasy Pole. Hundreds of Italians walk the plank in a multi tiered, costumed, onslaught of slipping and sliding, drag for the day spidermen in honor of Saint Peter, the rock. Their objective is to grab a firm hold of the flag at the end of the mast and take it down with them. You can only walk on a Saturday if you won on a Friday. Sunday is the big day, the finale, where the winner no longer needs to walk for the rest of the day because the fellow competitors carry him from bar to bar. He or she no longer needs to pay for any drinks that either and they will be drinking whether they like it or not. You can only walk on Sunday if you won on a Saturday. To keep the membership full on the remaining days of the weekend, these walking honors are retrospective. If you have ever won on one of the earlier days, you may walk in the next. Then, I would suppose, the people who started the tradition started dying or getting to old to walk 25feet over the ocean on a lubed up log. They started having knee problems and poor physical conditions. What were they to do, but hand the honor down to a younger, more fit, family member or close friend? The last day is filled with the townies walking for grandfathers, great grandfathers, great great grandfathers, uncles, brothers, sons, close friends of the family, as well as those that won throughout the weekend.

Greasy Pole – Saint Peter’s Italian Festival – Gloucester, MA – 2006

In Boulder the physical competition to kick off the summer is the Memorial Day weekend Bolder Boulder 10k run. Sorry, no pictures of that. I had a friend that ran it. I wanted so badly to be at the starting line motivating her beginnings or at least at the finish rooting her on, but the rest of the weekend caused a blight to my own energy leaving me in bed until well past the comings and goings of the costumed crusaders pushing themselves to victory and then into the afternoon when most had already returned home, showered, and changed back into civvies. She saw a stoutly athletic woman running in a lacy pink bra and said to herself, “I must beat that lady.” She did. She finished at 60:58, fifty nine seconds more than what she hoped to finish by. I ran a 5k in San Diego for the homeless on Thanksgiving, more like I walked the 5k, in a little more than 2 hours. For double the distance at half my time, I was impressed.

The Great Rubber Ducky Race – Boulder Creek Festival – Boulder, CO 2010

The unusual event is the Great Rubber Duckie Race. They dumped over 7,000 ducks into the creek with numbers on their butt for a short, but furious, sprint downstream. It took longer for them to rig up the drop than it did for every duck to make it to the end. Children stood on the banks with nets, catching and releasing the yellow favorites of the Ernie fame. Rubber Ducky, you are the one. Like all modern day weird festivities like the greasy pole, the activists get involved. Instead of motor oil to slicken the pole, now they use all organic matter like rotten bananas and vegetable butter. In Boulder the eco friendly modification involved a mesh wire fence across the creek. Still, the stubborn ducks leapt over and under the barricade despite the effort of the wranglers in front and behind and then further behind for the missed stragglers. Last, but not least, another group of kids with nets at the park even further behind scooped them out of the pool. Some man yelled at me for getting my own. Actually, he yelled at me for tossing them over the rapids to the bank on the other side so the children there could have some too. His exact words were, “Don’t throw them. Hold onto them over there. I want them all back.” Blake, who stood near the naysayer on the other side, called out to me, “Only in designated areas.” Evidently, the ducks had an allotted area of the creek to do their thing. Beyond that must be stopped. 10 years ago they let them swim all the way to the next reservoir. Kids in Erie were picking out ducks for the rest of the summer. I heard rumors that the original race involved real ducks spray painted bright gold with lead based paint, but I do not believe them.

All about the Money - Boulder Creek Festival - Rubber Duck Race

I could have understood the man’s worry if it concerned some tyke falling into the cascade, but it was not. It was about money. The organization did not want to buy new ducks for the following year at a dime a piece. Lets do the math. 7,000 divided by .10 equals 700 bucks. This is not a figure to shake your head at. We will be generous and figure a quarter of the ducks will need to be replaced from damage or loss or thievery. 700 divided by 4 is 175. Still, this is a week of rent for me. Now we get the big numbers. It cost 5 bucks a duck to compete. 7,000 times 5 equals 35, 000. The prizes come out to less than 5,000 making it 30 grand even though all of them are donated to the cause. Screw you, buddy. I am keeping my ducks.

Fun in Designated Areas Only - Boulder Creek Festival - Rubber Duck

Preparing for Season 3

Posted in blog, photography, story, travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 22, 2010 by tymora42

As the world moves around me, not because of, but around in a discombobulated, jerky, windy, blowing, seed propelling, shallow-root way, I prepare for season 3. Although I have never cited my eras of much content, opposed to those long barren wastelands of none, as “Seasons” per se, I think the moniker fits. The first was the content uploaded from various social media websites like myspace and facebook as well as the portage of those random tidbits from Blogger, when I quit the man and decided to work for myself. The second season consisted of everything else that has been uploaded in the past year that I have maintained the Stories of the flea website. Now, the 3rd comes along just in time for summer, when I have more time to develop nice looking pages for your enjoyment. I am proud of what is to come in this next season. The first entry is a Photo Travel Diary Journal thing about a recent trip to MOAB entitled “Filled with Genital Humor.” moab story header for a photo travel journal first entry | arches national park | park avenue trailYes, there are pictures, hence the addition of ‘photo’ in the title. They are funny and photogenic and mine and a guests traveler. These will continue. I have a trip to Hawaii in the future if everything works out accordingly. There are bound to be stories from that. Another achievement in this season is the addition of a podcast. It is not here yet so do not get too excited. And of course, there are more stories.

Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Relief

Posted in review, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2009 by tymora42
you cannot tell from the pic, but it has a red stem

you cannot tell from the pic, but it has a red stem

This is a Public Service announcement blog concerning the dreaded poisonous ivy, oak, and sumac affliction. I am severely allergic to all three and have been plagued with them since I was very young, living in the Louisiana swamplands. I have had the rash on every square inch of my body. Yes, including there. It has been so rampant that it has sealed my eyes shut, caused hallucinatory fever dreams, and soaked so deep into my joints that I could not move. Without a medical or botany doctorate I can safely say that I am still an authority on the subject and how to get rid of it. Fortunately, I only think about it if someone mentions it, the reality of it is nearby, or I have contracted a case of it. Unfortunately, I have it right now.

You might have wandered to this site because you or someone you know is currently down with the sickness. How do they make it go away? Short of going to the nearest emergency room and getting a steroid booster shot, which I highly recommend if it is a full body epidemic, find the nearest Walgreens. I specifically mention Walgreens because they are the only place I have ever been able to find the right soap, Tecnu. Screw Calamine and Ivarest and the Benadryl ant-itch spray. The Benadryl antihistamine tablets are great, but not the salve. All that does is curb the interest to scratch it until it bleeds. It has no medicinal alleviation other than that as far as I can tell. It is solely for people whose natural metabolism will eventually meter out the poison on its own. Tecnu is the way to go.

not this stuff - it is too coarse

this is the stuff you want

When you are out shopping for the soap be aware that there are multiple kinds of Tecnu for various purposes. The Tecnu Extreme is bunk for guys like me who break out instantly into welt sized sores. It is mainly a preventative for the freckle kind when it just starts. Why? Because it has coarse granules in it like facial scrubs that abrade the dead skin. You do not want to break the bubbles.I should say that again in all caps with an exclamation mark. YOU DO NOT WANT TO BREAK THE BUBBLES!!! Three should do it. Leaking is only one way it spreads. Getting into the blood stream is the other. That is what the Benadryl tablets prevent and take care of. The Tecnu you want comes in a bottle (as opposed to a squeeze tube). The packaging is usually a large box. Open it in the store to make sure it is the one you want.

it will probably look like this in the store
it will probably look like this in the store

Now, throw away the instructions. Actually they are written on the bottle so do not really throw them away. What I mean is to just disregard them. Do this instead: Take a shower in luke warm water. Rinse your entire body. While still in the shower apply the soap to your entire body, paying special attention to the obviously infected areas. Leave the soap on you while you cover every limb, appendage, back and hair. Start with your hair and work down. This is all preliminary. Rinse. Return to the places where you itch even a little, but do not have sores yet. Apply the Tecnu and leave it while you attend to the other spots. Make sure to rinse your hands before every new application. Go to the messy spots. Here is where you follow the actual instructions. Apply and wash soothingly over and around the sores for 2 minutes being careful not to break the skin. It will not feel like you have much soap left on your hands. This is okay because it is penetrating deep within the affliction to neutralize the poisons. Rinse. Towel dry. Use a separate washcloth to dab at the sores last. If you use the same towel or do it first, you might be helping spread the rash. When you are completely dry apply the Tecnu to all problem spots like a salve. Do not rinse it or wash it off. Do not rub it in for the 2 minutes like before. Put it on and leave it. I recommend showering 3 times a day until it is cured, repeating the same process I have detailed.

Suppose you have no Walgreens or cannot find the Tecnu. I will not boast about any other relief products, but I will tell you how to maximize their capabilities. A common misconception is to apply a new coat on top of the old one. This is wrong. Rinse the old one before applying the new. It contains all the seeping poisons from the last batch. Get rid of it. Stay clean and remember to always wash your hands.