Journal entries from a 4-day hike on the Superior Hiking Trail:
(+) 26 sep: Camping at South Brule River site. Started the day around 10am hiking to Devil's Kettle, then back down to Judge C.R. Magney State Park parking lot and to the westward trail. Day was hilariously short - looking forward to the chillness of this journey.
(+) 27 sep, morning, South Brule River campsite: finished sewing up the leather fanny pack project last night. Decided on doing a whip stitch for the pocket opening, so without looking my hand can find it. Also widened the pocket hole so that all four of my wiggling fingers can fit inside at once - on the prototype I made earlier, the pocket was much too small to retrieve anything comfortably. I have now attached a birch shrink pot, my wool hat, and some extra rope to the banana fanny pack, and instead of sagging like my other modern fanny pack, the extra weight just holds it all more snug against my body. In the pocket I have a large Opinel knife, a lighter, and some water treatment pills. Comfortable and snug.
I think making these things on trail gives them some magic. Specifically, the intention is set that they are meant to be dirtied, used, beat up, repaired, soaked and dried.
I didn't bring a book or any kind of consumable media (aside from peanut M&Ms). I'm enjoying the head-quiet but finding myself wanting some entertainment. I encourage myself to sink into those quiet moments and listen, learn, craft, sing, talk instead.
Strange and fun to have two friends along. I find myself wishing I was alone at times, fantasizing about the next trip I'll take where I can go solitary. Still fun to have them around.
It's easy to clean all your stuff with a leaf as long as you have enough patience and enough leaves.
I have been accused of being a dangler. That means I have as much stuff hanging off my pack as I do wrapped up inside it. I think Ötzi was the same, as his backpack frame had no bags but scraps of cord. I love to dangle. Everything is so bright and accessible - just like this banana fanny pack too.
Would love, in this moment, to own a hobbit home, to have a small garden, to be reading by the fire and smoking a pipe. Nearly time for second breakfast. Apple cider bubbling in the pantry. Knitting needles poked into yarn balls. Until the cyborg inspiratrix strikes, and I go to the wizard's tower and bring life to a freakish electronic life-form.
(+) 27 sep, evening, Crow Creek campsite: Excellent day. Started fashioning a maple walking stick, it works great. Something hobbitsy about a nice firm walking stick with a smooth grip and an easy stride.
Lovely walk along the lake shore - windy, vibrant, cold.
(%) swimming upstream in a big, tropical river with a spooky shaman. the current is too strong and we are swept downstream. when we are able to make it to shore we have left the jungle and are in a growing, westernizing town. we come into a low building with a tent-like roof. ridges run across the ceiling and natives are hanging from the ridges with one hand and painting the ceiling with the other. my shaman friend looks at his people, small, black, weathered, as he too hangs from the ceiling. the way he hangs has a jungle charisma, an animal fluidity, while the skills of his brothers are already becoming simplified, commodified, capitalized, abstracted into a labor force. my friend the shaman starts moving like a spider up the ceiling. he squeezes into one of these hand-hold grooves and folds his limbs inwards so his whole body seems to be only head, chest, fingers, toes. he scuttles around the ceiling in the darting, daring movements of an insect. i wake up watching him crawl.
(+) 28 sep, lunch: On a high lookout between Kimball Creek and Durfee Creek. Thinking about how place-names used to include "town" or "home" like Northampton, which is a linguistic slurrying of North Home Town. We still use words like "creek" and "river" but somehow cities have come to dominate the landscape so much that a name is just assumed to be a city. Rochester, Owatonna, Northfield, Mankato, Mahkato, Lutsen, Tofte, St. Paul - these could be hills, streams, beaches, fields, megaliths, waymarks, farms, copses, woods, but no more. Cities are the landscape and have eaten our vocabulary.
(+) 28 sep, near dinnertime, Woods Creek campsite: Lots of other folks here, including Andrew, an ultralight thru-hiker. I love the hammock/underquilt/topquilt loadout he has... though as I sit here by the creek with my wool sweater and wooden tobacco-box and pants rolled up to the knee, I think, perhaps I am too hobbitish to get a bunch of nylon junk from Amazon, even if it does weigh hardly anything. I think there are ways to carry natural materials and carry them well.
Cities and homes allow us to carry and care so little - it extends our labor capabilities far beyond food, shelter, adventure.
Looking forward to a longer trip, less weight, alone. Maybe soon, maybe not. Really wishing for a Harry Potter tent that's bigger on the inside. And a handbag of the same quality. I could bound along, go truly anywhere then. How close to that can I get?
Concept: to recreate historical camping, campaign, adventure gear. Ötzi. The kit of a Roman legion. Civil War loadouts. Ojibwe canoe-camping. Voyageur equipment. Sailor clothes and bags. And - the best part- to live in it for a full journey.
Ötzi had no food, no food bag, no utensils, no cooking equipment. Either these have been lost or he had set out with the intention of hunting - not likely without a finished bow - or to have gotten food from others at some point.
(%) i was loose from my body, acting as an animate force on the world. i put my hand into a growing branch and urged it forwards, outwards. i swam in a stream and pushed algae, fish, larvae to grow, grow, grow, and move. i dove into the earth and wiggled the heads of worms, extended the tips of roots. then a twig caught my eye that was growing the wrong way - but being the spirit i was, i could only animate its growth and add vitality. i had no physical form so even so simple a thing as bending a twig was out of my capability. i had to wait for a hiker to pass by and i put my arm into his, animating it with my intentions, snapping the twig into the right path.
(%) trump took over the front street mall in mankato, painted every storefront navy blue with golden lettering, and renamed all the stores "trump snacks" or "president d. j. drumpf booksellers"
(+) 29 sep, 3pm, loft: Home from the trail. Immediate desires: to hang everything off a banana belt. Tall, warm boots. Absolutely need a teeny gas camping stove. Either a huge luxurious tent or a featherweight hammock.