March 16, 2014, Sunday.
At dawn the raven is back.
I carry a load of gear down to the boat and notice he's pecked holes into the Styrofoam grip of the bilge pump. Damn him. While I'm down there he swoops into camp and attacks a dry bag. Before I find and scare him off he's pecked a hole in it. Bastard. Pissed, I hurl a few rocks in his direction. None of them get as close as I intended but he gets the hint and departs. Thankfully, for good.
The physical and emotional winds of yesterday have blown themselves out and my quiescence is reflected in the water's surface. I launch the kayak and slip effortlessly between the silk sheets of the real and virtual canyons above and below me. Stroke, glide, stroke, glide. The water disappears as I float through three dimensional space in quiet awe at the beauty of the rock and sky that envelops me.
In bliss I pass through the last few swoops of Forbidden Canyon, turn right past the sign that says "Bullfrog 50 Miles" and into the main channel. I'm more than halfway now, it's all downhill from here.
An easy two miles of paddling and I pull out near Oak Canyon and spend the rest of the day chillaxing.
37° 07.26 110° 56.86
I've got the usual chaffing from the straps of my Chacos so I've quit wearing them except as required by the terrain. (When dry, Chacos are very comfortable. When wet, the straps carve groves in my skin. Keeping them dry in this environment is practically impossible.)
Tumbleweeds are all about in the canyons and on the beaches. Consequently, I've got about a dozen tumbleweed thorns in the bottom of my feet. I can feel them when I walk but can't see to pull them out. Annoying.
The tops of my feet and ankles are red and irritated. I'm not sure why. I don't think it's sunburn since they don't see as much sun as the rest of me and the rest of me isn't burnt. It could be from the mud and sand and muck that abounds on the shoreline. I wouldn't be surprised to find it's toxic in one way or another.
I scrapped my left calf today, it bled a bit so I washed it out and applied Neosporin.
My hands are dry and my skin is cracking at the corners of my fingernails. Painful. I've been applying lotion to my hands before I go to bed and superglue to close the cracks. But it's a loosing battle, a downhill run, the alkali will win; all I can do is slow it down.
My once sunburnt and swollen lips are recovering. I've been using the Kiss My Face sunscreen stick that Pippa sent with me religiously. The first few days I forgot I had it and was using a non-sunscreen lip balm, ouch. The Kiss My Face works not just on lips but the whole face, as the name implies, so I've been coating my nose and cheekbones with it too. So far none of them feel burnt but I don't have a mirror so I can't be sure. I've also been wearing a hat so my bald head is protected.
Lastly, I'm pretty sure I need a bath.
End Personal Inventory
A few days ago I mentioned a conversation I had with Anna, I'd like to get back to that...
A lot was said that evening and I don't remember how we got on the topic but Anna asked something like "What is it about us as humans that makes us ambivalent to the mass extinction of thousands of species?" I agreed that we collectively live our lives with little regard to the consequences on other living beings. But I thought beyond that, that there is something deeply embedded in our thought process that makes us do and justify all kinds of nasty things not just exploit the environment.
As an example, a woman I know, who is generally a kind and thoughtful person, broke the hood ornament off of a car who's driver took a parking space she'd been waiting for. A hood ornament for a parking spot. And she told me about it gloatingly, "I showed her!"
We, as a species, do all kinds of horrible nasty things to each other, lie, cheat, steal, abuse, beat, murder, genocide, and somehow justify it all as okay, as deserved, that we were just meting out due justice because of something, real or perceived, that the offender did. And that right there is, I believe, the root of the matter. We're taught from childhood to think that we know what is right and what is wrong and when we see someone else do something we judge as wrong, especially when that act is directed at us, we justify our retribution of or retaliation for that act. We're taught... to be continued.
About 2:00pm I turn on the radio and listen to NOAA's forecast for tomorrow's weather. They're predicting 10-20 mph winds out of the southwest in the late afternoon. Nice, I'm heading northeast so I'll get a nice boost, maybe all the way to the San Juan arm of the lake.
At 5:00pm I turn the radio back on and listen in to the forecast again. Oh, my. They've updated the forecast and are now calling for 20-30 mph winds all day with gusts up to 50 mph. Damn, 50 mph! I think I'm going to sit this out and watch from the sidelines, well, lake-shore.
In preparation for the winds I strip the boat of everything and haul it up the slickrock to a sand trap where I partially bury it to prevent it from rocking back and forth in the wind and 'sanding' the bottom. Once it's stable I stow all the gear in the holds and seal the hatches. I stretch the spray skirt over the coaming of the cockpit and adjust the torso hole as closed as I can.
Back at camp I've tied a long parachute cord to a large rock and have tied all my dry bags and stuff sacks to it. Lastly, I collect a bunch of driftwood so I can have another fire tonight. With that, I think I'm ready for the wind.