Mar 19, 2011

The assault on Bomber Mountain - 9, mooning Miss Marion

After breakfast, we filtered water, washed dishes, watched The Price is Right on the big screen, then grabbed our daypacks and headed out for a crisp five miler.  We wanted to run recon on Mistymoon Lake to find a spot for tomorrow's camp relocation.  A clean trail undulated past Lake Marion towards the moon.
Mistymoon's a small deep dish lake, so nicely rounded it appeared to have been dredged by a mega ice-cream scoop.  A moon crater filled with green glacier drink, lazy fog wafted into the chill like steam off hot coffee.

We scooped the loop and found a good camp spot squatting in a depression buffered from the wind.  Skipped flint atop the lake and basked in silence before U-turning back towards Lake Marion.
Fish snicked out his collapsible rod ‘n reel and ka-plunked a large aluminum spinner into Marion.  Watching him fish, I realized he was that rare impatient fisherman.  He ZINNNGGED!! the line in a high parabola with a flick, wound it in 8 seconds later with the reel spoolin' high RPMs, repeated seconds later and impatiently announced, “They aren’t bitin' in this spot, I’m moving down!” He never stayed put for more than a few minutes.

Power fishing, he hooked a meatless adolescent trout.  Tossed it back, fishy floated and bobbed like cork.  Gave him a tap, he got dead (that's how Pigtails says it, "got dead").  Darn, there was no toilet nearby to flush down Freckles the fish. 
He spasti'-trouted for an hour until our stomachs growled for grub.  Trout for lunch?  No dice.  Although he caught five, they were all too spindly to fillet.  So it was the old standby of creamy chicken ramen.  There's nothing remotely creamy or chicken-like with the noodles, just slippery salted starch.  And pita bread! The wheat was no worse for wear after bludgeoning Fish in the back of the head with it yesterday.  He mixed up a batch of chicken salad to cram into the doughy pockets.  Must've been sneaking relish, mayonnaise and mustard packs from local eateries for months, as he had a giant freezer bag bulging with packets of condiments. We gobbled the sandwiches by the handful, they were excellent.

Let's take a minute to talk about the backcountry bathroom experience.  Peeing was great.  I could let 'er spray wherever and whenever the urge arose.  However, aisle two cleanup required careful planning coupled with solid leg strength to execute cleanly.  The first time I gave her a try, I nearly soiled myself.  Literally.  My quads quivered and nearly seized as I assumed the Roman Chair position for 6 strenuous minutes, while simultaneously tucking pants and shoes outta the drop zone.  There would be no reading of Car and Driver.  Full concentration and thighs of iron were summoned to carefully pinch logs into the cat hole.  Then the pleasure of burying it.  Maybe next time we'll bring plastic Piggly Wiggly sacks and bag it like my neighbor lady does for her high fibered mutt. 

Filtered gallons of 40 degree water, napped, then boiled dinner.  We sucked down freeze-dried chili mac, dried corn and apple cobbler.  “Beard, you make the apple crap!” demanded Fish.  I should have read the instructions before agreeing, it was a tedious 12 step process.  After 20 minutes of measuring, mixing, greasing, pouring, heating, stirring, watching, waiting, sampling and adding more ingredients, it was ready.   I divided and spooned it out, we each got a full 2 ounces.  Burned through a quarter canister of fuel for two dabs of sweets on the tongue. 

My straw hat blew off.

I shot a grainy vid' of camp at Lake Helen near dusk:

We held our nightly rally in Fish and Sherp's tent.  The temp was already down to 30 degrees.  This could be a problem, as it was early in the evening, but already colder than last night at this time. 

“Guys, the cold is killing me.  I experienced the early stages of hypothermia last night,” I said. 

“Oh really?  We were comfortable,” Fish said with a smirk. 

“Yeah,” I countered, “but you had an extra body in here generating heat."  We discussed and decided I should try wrapping my goose down bag with the aluminum space blanket. 

We did our best to work snake stories into our conversation that night to stir up Sherpa.  We planned tomorrow and shot the breeze until I departed to my tent.  Before I left, Fish said in a solemn tone: “Beard, that pita bread shot to the head yesterday really hurt.  Not amused, and was already close to passing out from altitude sickness.”  A pause, then we cracked up.

Two layers on the legs, four up top, hat and bag wrapped with the blanket.  I also figured out how to cinch the sleeping bag hood over my face without suffocating.  Read a couple chapters, then laughed as I remembered a parody I'd written for a friend before the trip:  

"Buffalo, Wyoming; Beard, 30, narrowly escaped death this week.  He was violently attacked by a mating season bighorn sheep, which is affectionately known by local rangers as "Bon Bon".  Beard and his two friends, all grossly inexperienced at mountaineering, attempted to summit the Big Horns this week, but were stopped short by this incident.  Beard used what appeared to be a blue ski boot and a loaf of bread to fend off the feral sheep, striking it frantically in the eyes and nads as Bon Bon repeatedly gored his spleen.  The boot was shredded to smithereens by those big curly horns, but Beard miraculously suffered only 23 open flesh wounds.  The loaf of bread was only slightly smooshed.  Our crack reporter is still trying to solve the mystery of why Beard had a single ski boot with him at 12,000 feet."

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