Thursday, January 29, 2009

1987: Excerpts From The Tipi Journal

"From the Harvard Camps and the Rominger Chouinard Camps I conceived a plan to ask permission to camp on the 40 acres of the old Stillwinds commune started in the early 1970s by John Swan. In March of '87 I had my first preconception and by the 17th had full permission from the community to use the land for camping."

"I am surely ready to hit the upward bending hillsides, I've got to move the gear to Stillwinds and I have to figure how to do it, borrow a truck once and forget about it. I rode the bicycle into the 'Winds yesterday and did some work on the site and gathered tipi poles."

"There has been a big freeze and a big big snow delaying my Stillwinds move but I gotta get away. I am now sleeping in the Chouinard tent at the Rominger Camps".(The "Nard was a single pole Chouinard pyramid tipi-style tent which I used thru '87 before the tipi).

"I am in town sleeping at the Oak Mother with a lot of snow, the deepest snow in years but the 'Winds beckon and the switchback trail calls softly."

"An auspicious full moon first night at the 'Winds with a broken lantern glass and the breaking of such is sad. DK's Dusty Dog sits to my right and came up with me. The big orange moon greeted me in its full orbed magic. Site preparation is like this: Find land and get permission and then scout it and find possible tipi sites and locate a water source. Then make a trail to the site and spend several nights on the land in the tent getting the lay of the place, feeling the wind direction, the water runoff from storms, the dead trees above the site, the surrounding noise levels and sun exposure. After this consideration it is time to gather the poles and debark them."

"The tipi hooch has been completed with the taste test coming up! It is late after a long hard two day flurry of activity. It is April 25 with the stove in the tipi and lanterns on high. Actually, the beauty of a simple rucksack is what truly inspires although this spot has everything and is probably somewhat permanent as the high winds bring in the summer. Stillwinds, but the winds are not still tonight with gusts from the west and the east facing door becomes a blessing, an idea from the American Indians."

"I am back in the yukta hooch after spending 6 weeks backpacking and camping in Pisgah NF with Johnny B. I am starting a new journal book at the tipi after a tremendous summer with Celo jaunts, Rainbow gatherings, a 5 week Pisgah trek, and trips to Robbinsville to look for Johnny B's Shay dog. My tipi projects include insulating the windward side using poles and leaves. I must alos gather more firewood, put up a feather pole at the trail entrance, fix the door and make it rainproof for snow and cold containment, and get a new bow saw."

"I returned from the elk creeks and the mountain asphalt byways, using my thumb as as ticket to anyplace like home, but instead I landed in Luray, Virginia for a day. I backpacked thru the Shenandoahs and the winds at Thornton Gap were horrible, they drove me down to Sperryville, to Manassas, to Charlottesville, to Bent Creek and finally to Yogaville at Swami Satchitananda's place near Farmville, Virginia."

"Presently the tipi lives in leaves and builds it's wood supply. I finished various projects here like cutting firewood, placing a blue liner inside, putting leaves around the outside, rigging up stovepipe by the door, and collecting and placing tree bark along the outside. There's a black winter sky on this forlorn mountain top as the trees softly roar in the wind and my woodstove creaks and pops to the heat inside. The tipi stands secure, the canvas door sits ajar to let in some fresh air."

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