Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Down the River ...


Yep, so I'm reading Down the River, by Edward Abbey. I'm inspired to call myself a "Wilderness Philosopher," as he did, and see if I can get some gigs in the wild that way. I suppose I'll need to write a few books to help legitimize my claim. At least one of my friends has started to refer to me as a "Wilderness Philosopher," which of course ... seems a bit of a stretch to me. In the book, Abbey takes a sportyak (I am thinking hairy four-legged mammal with a number on its and a saddle ala Dr. Suess and wonder what exactly is a sportyak) down the San Juan inspiring me to remember that I have a kayak ... and that one of my friends in intensely interested in kayaking, wants me to go kayaking with him. I relent and agree to teach him the basics.

And then the kayak mag comes in the mail ... reading ... glancing through it ... and I read the Dirtbag Diaries page on Mongolia. Serena Hollmeyer says, "We bought some bacon one day, and a Mongolian proudly served it to us raw. To wash it down he gave us Airag, a mildly alcoholic, fermented mare's milk that tasted like a cross between gasoline and urine." Is this a fate that awaits us if I teach him to kayak?

You know how it goes ... one day it's the basics ... then a paddle outing ... then an expedition, then suddenly, its kayaking in a lawless wilderness in Africa or Mongolia. His language skills are good, and he's brave, albeit young, so no doubt there's hope for him. As for me ... I doubt I'll be as successful as either my young friend or Abbey.

Nevertheless, I rolled my kayak out of the mothballs, the first steps in a plan to teach my young friend to self-rescue, paddle generally, and do an eskimo roll. It's inevitable that there will be some trip, with a bunch of people, a few dozen water fights, some hiking, somewhere in the near future.

1 comment:

Jonah said...

The Last River by Todd Balf is pretty okay river reading, too...