Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oak Mother And The Dog

Next to the Buttress Camp was a huge maple tree out in the open and beneath that maple I had another frequently used camp I called Oak Mother and the Dog. This bedroll campsite was located next to the church and the tree was not an oak but a huge stately maple with a massive trunk about 15 feet from the back wall of the church. Beneath it was a fine flat spot perfect for camping and sleeping in the open and I spent many nights there curled up in my Bigfoot and later my North Face Ibex down bag. It was a sort of emergency spot when I was too tired and didn't feel like humping to my numerous other more distant sites.
At this campsite I learned that a down bag does not keep you warm in a cold winter wind without a tent but I used it anyway for years as an easy bedroll camp.
For many months I'd go to sleep there and in the middle of the night a stray black dog would curl up next to me and sleep. By morning at the crack of dawn he was gone. We were friends and we didn't even know it. I miss that fellow.
One time at this spot in order to stay warm in the cold wind I pulled the facehood drawstring of my bag tight until only a small hole was left for my mouth. Sometime in the night I woke in a panic with my suffocating face buried in the bag with the hole around at the back of my head. I tried to jump up but I squirmed and flailed until somehow I unzipped the thing and got out panting and very nervous.
It was also at this camp that I was caught in the pouring rain and so I quickly grabbed my things and put the sleeping bag in my mouth to carry and in the process chewed a big garden slug in half as it was attached to the outside of the bag. One half fell on the ground and one half sat in my mouth. Spitting it out in disgust I moved camp a few feet to a small porch overhang, a little concrete slab just big enough to keep the rain off.

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