From: -------------------------------- (reverse fried egg)
Subject: pointless retro woodsy crap
Date: Mon, 05 Oct 1998 00:28:52 GMT
Wrote this up a few weeks ago. couldn't figure out what to do with it, so I
decided to post it here where hardly anybody would read it, 'cause, as
usual, it ain't much good.
Well, I was making a half assed attempt to sort through the huge stack of
ring binders and legal pads and such in my office a while back, which
contain, for the most part, copious notes I took on trips and such over the
last 15 years. I guess I took them in the hopes that at least some of them
might one day be worthy of being fleshed out into readable non-fiction. But
I didn't find much that was.
Lotta boring backwoods-path-to-existential-health solitary soul-searching
gee-whiz look at all the dumb stuff I done stuff, but most of it fell
woefully short when it came to inspiring me to try to inspire others to see
wild and woody places as I sometimes think I only WISH I could see them
I did find seven or eight pages of almost inexplicably detailed crap
scribbled down during and shortly after a singularly depressing camping
trip, which seemed to have the potential to form the core of an equally
depressing post; one notable only for the clarity with which it conveyed
the muddled desperation of half a dozen slobs who wanted to believe they
loved the great outdoors, but never failed to bring their self-inflating,
claustrophobic caverns of futility, despair and hostility (not to mention
cheap beer and ass gas) to the logged and regrown pseudo-wilderness
environment they spent so much time and effort escaping to, just so, once
they got there, they could make a clean chemical and philosophical escape
This, be forewarned, doesn't mean it will make interesting reading, but
anybody stupid enough to read the crap I write is already as bored with my
pre-emptive issuance of self-serving disclaimers (my introductory
paraphrasing, as it were, the line from that old perfume commercial, and
say, in essence (yeah, I knows, bad punz): ... "promise her nothing, but
give her Jack Shit"), so I guess I shouldn't be bothering with this one.
But I somehow feel vulnerable when I DON'T tell everybody that is
considering pressing on that they may well be wasting their time,
especially given the absurd length of this partial account. Anyway, such
minor details have never impeded ol'? --------------?s bullshit production.
Guess you can guess it's not gonna now, either.
And given what I think learned about myself from what only seemed like the
COMPLETE waste of time that was this trip, I can only hope that there are
people besides me that can snatch a kernel of mediocre insight from a
downright bad experience.
Like reading what has preceded this line, and what follows.
If ya can't well, piss on ya.
Anyway, the notes on smiley and good natured and inspiring outings got
filed in the maybe some day box, while the notes detailing some Hephaestian
[Dionysian?] early springtime excesses of 13 or so years ago (near as I can
remember - wasn't dated) and the flood of disgusting memories unleashed by
re-reading them, were used to generate the unfortunately non-fictional
account that follows. Given the seemingly permanent difficulty I'm having
coming up with anything worth reading, while still, inexplicably, feeling
the need to write from time to time, I figured I had nothing to lose. No
more than YOU have by reading it, anyway.
Ah well. Where to start?
I was a drunk in those days. No other way to put it. I functioned (after a
fashion), earned a living and what not, but I was still a drunk. All my
camping buddies, especially the five guys that went along on this idiotic
excursion, were worse. Lots worse. I've changed their names just in case
they're still alive and have gone online and now stay sober long enough to
actually find words on a computer screen readable. I haven't seen any of
them, save one, for years.
The first one, Jeff, was a sort-of-a-friend and hunting companion I knew
from high school, who, in those days, spent just about every weekend in the
mountains of North Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, and admittedly
knew the vast network of fire roads, FWD tracks, and the most secluded and
scenic camping, fishing and hunting spots better than just about anybody.
He had a two-tone mustard and crap-colored 4WD Ramcharger that was always
fulla gear, guns and beer, the heavy consumption of which would make him
sorta sarcastic and obnoxious.
The next guy, Rick, was seven eighths Creek (or Muscovy or whatever)
Indian, and was a hell of a nice guy and quite a competent woodsman when he
wasn't so drunk he was pissing in his pants, which he WAS for just about
the duration of every camping trip I EVER went on with him.
He was invariably accompanied by a short, white (originally Texan)
chain-smoking sidekick and co-worker, who went almost totally by his silly
nickname, which we will just say was Road Hog. He drank just as much beer
as Rick did but, amazingly, always managed to stay on his feet and hold his
water till he wanted to let it go.
Yeah. I know. A kind of pale, beery, mirror-image burlesque of The Lone
Ranger and Tonto, so maybe from here on out I will use the Stoned Ranger
and Blotto to refer to them. Or Rick and Blotto. Don't matter. Like I said,
the names are made up.
But I did like Blotto pretty well. No towering intellect he, but he wasn't
TOTALLY obnoxious, and was in fact generally cheerful and easygoing. His
one truly irritating personality trait was that he talked about pussy ALL
the time. But he WAS really strong, as I remember, and could shinny up a
branchless pine tree-trunk as fast as a baboon. He was also almost
completely fearless. He once won fifty bucks by outrunning another
plastered lunatic in a flat-out drunken sprint up, across and down the twin
eight-inch wide metal I-beams that formed the upper framework of a rusty,
deckless, derelict railroad trestle which hung a hundred feet and change
above some rocky shoals in the Chestatee river. I saw it.
The fourth guy, Harold, was several years older than the rest of us. He was
half some kind of Indian, Cherokee, I think, and was a sorta scary,
scarred, nose-busted-a-few-times-too-many mushbeaked, greasily long-haired
and piercing-eyed guy. He was a big time weed and lude peddler in the early
seventies, and he'd spent a chunk of his twenties in prison for trafficking
and assorted nastiness, and had, in addition, at least five drunk driving
and some assault convictions. And he was one of the LEAST troublesome of
the bunch (at least if you had the sense to stay out of his face).
The last guy was the MOST.
I'll just call him Bill Boz (he was blond, young, and looked a bit like
that Bosworth guy that came along later, the football player that had the
amazingly short career in biker/badass B-films). He was a short but
well-built bigmouth, world class schnapps-hog, CONSTANT reefer smoker,
self-proclaimed ass-kicker without peer and, and in my ruthlessly objective
opinion, a complete blowhard. I didn't much like him. In fact, I don't
think any of us did. He had worked with Jeff a few years earlier, and
that's how he, and in turn, we, knew him. But even Jeff didn't seem to care
for him a whole hell of a lot, and Boz and Harold, for reasons I wasn't
privy to at the time, couldn't stand each other.
Anyway, the odd thing about us is that with the exception of Rick and
Blotto, we were all self-employed and could take off in the middle of the
week. The last two operated tower cranes in the city, (a job they
thankfully both CLAIMED to stay sober for) but could get time off when they
wanted it. So we tended to do our camping on weekdays, when the woods were
Back in those days, I had a beat up Chevy 4WD one-ton Pickup big-block V-8
with big rubber, Rick had a jacked-up Toyota 4WD, Harold had piece of shit
Jeep with birdshit stains all over the seats and a winch the size of a
steamer trunk, which was more than adequate to pull it up a tree, and Boz
had some sort of crappy 4WD, an old Scout or Jimmy or something. Don't
Anyway, Jeff got the idea for us to head for the North Georgia mountains,
and zig and zag around exploring dirt roads and tracks bordered to the West
by the Cartecay River and the East by the Toccoa River, camping on the
waterways and/or high country, and fishing and drinking for three nights
and three days. He claimed to have mapped out some "real good shit" on his
Chatthoochee National Forest map with an unsteadily wielded yellow
Sounded suitably stupid and pointless to all of us, so one Monday morning
we all threw beer, booze, guns, tow straps, tents, etc., in the vehicles
and took off.
The first day was okay. We stopped for a while, as we always did, as soon
as we got off the paved roads, locked our wheel hubs and started drinking.
Rains had been heavy and even dirt roads that normally were navigable with
2WD were hopeless hogwallows that we almost managed to get stuck on
ourselves. But we bashed around, scaring off all the wildlife and trenching
up the tracks for most of the afternoon.
We found a high altitude spot with an okay view, then dragged out pistols
and rednecked it up good, drinking beer, blasting the empties and talking
about poon and bitching about how fucking hard new engines were to work on,
etc., etc. Then we cleaned up most of the mess and rode around until we
were sick of wasting gas, and made our way down a long, alternately muddy
and rocky kidney buster of a STRICTLY 4WD track to Jeff's first pick, an
actually quite pretty site on a shoaly bend in the Toccoa river, with some
nice level sites, some 50-100 year growth hardwoods and poplars, and an
abundance of lacy hemlocks and spruce.
What tents that were to be put up were put up, then we started drinking in
earnest. I make the remark about the tents because Rick and Blotto never
brought ANY gear, other than what they wore on their backs, usually one
piece, insulated and water resistant camo coveralls, and the 12 or so cases
of beer (I'm not kidding), that they had iced down in three monstrous
coolers in the truck bed. They'd drink until about three or four in the
morning, fall asleep in front of the fire (pull a scrap of polyethylene
over themselves and sit back against a tree if it was raining), then get up
and six or so and start drinking again. That's it.
As for me, I had a camper cover on my truck, so I usually just threw a air
mattress, sleeping bag, stove, some grub and a old powder blue easy chair (
with shredded arms and lotsa stains, $12 bucks at Goodwill) in the back.
I'd drag out the stove and the chair, set up somewhere near the campfire
site (and get mercilessly razzed for doing so, but every time I'd go off
for two seconds someone else would park their ass in my chair, then get
rousted out just like I would by my old man when I'd set in that ugly-ass
red one of his). Then, I'd sit down like I was in my living room, gloat,
drink beer and Canadian Mist out of the bottle, and alternately
pontificate, read and/or stare at the fire, drunkenly mesmerized by the
flames and the glowing embers. How much of whichever I did depended largely
on how drunk and obnoxious my cohorts got. On this trip, for the most
part, they were both with a vengeance.
Anyway, after getting settled in, we went and cut enough firewood to last
any NORMAL bunch a week. Built a fire, and, you guessed it. Drank and ran
off at the mouth.
About two hours after nightfall, I was bored enough with the bitching about
wives and girlfriends (often by the same person) and the recurring effort
to save the world (involving ideas so brilliant ONLY a bunch of drunks
COULD have come up with them) to take a short walk, and ended up nearly
busting my ass trying to make my way back up some steep bank of a river
tributary I had stupidly and drunkenly descended into in the pitch dark
without a flashlight. Actually I did. Bust my ass I mean. But not bad.
When I got back, things were definitely up and running. It was typical on
these trips for these guys not to start rendering steaks and potatoes
inedible (by flopping the meat on a filthy grill, and wrapping the spuds in
foil and cooking them to perfection - burnt black on the outside, raw on
the inside - by stuffing them into the coals) until it was close to
midnight and they were STAGGERING drunk.
CONTINUED IN woodsy Part Two
woodsy Part Two
Rick and Blotto, however, never bothered to let cooking interrupt their
drinking at ALL, and generally wouldn't even eat anything, except maybe
some uncooked hot dogs onto which they would squeeze little packets of
fast-food joint ketchup (which they usually rooted out from under the seat
of Rick's truck). Looked like the plan was unchanged on this night, because
at around 11, when I returned, they were sucking down beer and liquor,
smoking weed and cooking nothing, and blustering and braying and running
off at the top of their lungs about complete bullshit (except for Harold,
who rarely said much of anything). Rick, by my count, was consuming an
average of one beer every nine minutes. .
Worst thing was, I was bored enough to join in at this point. Somewhere in
the discussion, between which actress had the best looking tits and the
armageddonish eventualities inherent in the misguided compassion that had
created the welfare state, Rick took it on himself to provide the first
halfway interesting diversion of the day, by drunkenly and with little
warning, yanking out the Taurus nine MM he was wearing in a black nylon hip
holster and firing four shots in rapid succession at what he said was a
coon that was trying to make off with the sack of Idaho bakers Jeff had
left next to a nearby tree.
He JUST missed Jeff with the first one, as he unwarily strolled out from
behind his truck on his way back from doing his business just outside the
unofficial but accepted thirty-foot-radius-of-the-campfire no-piss zone.
"YOU GODDAM STUPID COCKSUCKER!!" Jeff hollered, leaping back with suddenly
soberish coordination. "YOU COULDA FUCKING KILLED ME."
"Yeah, Yeah," I think Rick said. "Well, I didn't. Anyway," he added, "a
Goddam coon was after YOUR potatoes," acting miffed by the lack of
I didn't, nor did Boz or Harold or Blotto, bother to say then that the rest
of us hadn't seen or heard a damned thing before Rick started blasting. But
Jeff went over to check out the potatoes, and found that he'd NAILED them
CLEAN. At least twice. A third hit directly underneath had driven flecks of
dirt and grit through the bag and into the tubers themselves at numerous
Noting the spud damage, Jeff started bitching: "AW FUCK ..... GODDAM
....... COON MY ASS.....You fucking MORON."
He called me over there (maybe making too much of my neophyte tracker's
skills) and asked me if I saw any evidence of coon near where the potatoes
had been. I had to admit, even given the wet, mushy state of the ground, my
kneeling flashlight-in-the-teeth examination turned up nothing of the sort.
When I said so, he started up again: "Goddam Fucking moron.... DRUNK FUCK
..... Goddam seeing things ... FUCKING moron .... coulda KILLED me...Stupid
shit...COON my ASS..." he repeated this litany, with minor alterations, a
little quieter each time, for SOME time, then sorted the spuds into
separate good, bad and ugly piles, and set the still usable ones on his
folding table. Rick just opened another beer and harrrumphed.
I guess it's a sad tribute to the drunken stupidity of the rest of us that
none of us considered telling him to hand over the weapon until he was
sober enough to handle it responsibly (who the hell would be in charge of
it?), and the failure to do so didn't come from fear. Just wasn't what you
did on OUR kinda camping trips. The irresponsible possession and
discharging of firearms was an INALIENABLE right. We were in the GODDAM
And I wasn't about to give up the Browning I always sorta discreetly (but
not thinking I was fooling anybody) wore in a shoulder rig under a
smoky-smelling, too-big, unbuttoned flannel shirt.So anyway, If the thought
crossed my mind, I couldn't, in fairness, press it.
Jeff usually wore a big Trooper Mark III with a six-inch barrel himself
(but wasn't on that night) and Boz never made a move without his
have-a-Freudian-field-day huge Bowie knife in a rabbitfur-covered sheath
that he delighted in slicing up newspaper and such with to prove how sharp
it was. Harold never carried a gun or a knife.
Anyway. After that, Harold and Jeff and Boz started cooking their dinner,
Blotto talked endlessly about eating pussy and every woman he claimed to
slobbered on, diddled or otherwise elevated to semi-hysteric bug-eyed
debauch nirvana and so on. Rick drank furiously and let out intermittent
and unsteady injun war-whoop noises. I mouthed off like an obnoxious
know-it-all about the shitty state of the world and got pretty drunk
About an hour or so later, Rick passed out (way earlier than was normal) on
his side next to the fire, causing Blotto to blurt: "Lookit that goddam
pussy. Out like a sack of....." and just let it drift off there, presumably
because he couldn't think of any witty analogies.
I think at this point, I sat down to transcibe some of the notes that
formed the basis for this silly, sad account, and eat the sandwiches and
chips that were gonna be my goddam dinner for the evening. About this time,
Boz and Harold managed to plant the last in (what were apparently) a series
of seeds that would grow into the next night's entertainment. I noticed
they seemed to be having some trouble with their precariously placed grill,
and Harold was poking his hand around underneath trying to prop it up with
a rock, and Boz was squawking "Lookout, you asshole," and trying to hold it
up with a stick.
Anyway, Harold burned his hand on something and withdrew it quickly,
yelling "EEEEYOWCH," and I made a sort of caveman grunt and said
"URRGH!...... Fire HOT!"
Jeff laughed at that. Boz and Harold didn't seem to hear it. Then somehow
or somewhere the grill lurched sideways and Boz's T-Bone went into the
coals and ash. Rather than moving quickly to retrieve his flaming steak, he
took time out to start a big stink about who was to blame for the steer-ass
disaster, demanding he and Harold exchange steaks because it was his fault
that his got fucked up, etc., etc., Harold claiming it was his doing and
telling him where he could stuff his steak and so on.
Finally Boz sorta seemed to relent, dug out his now-incinerated steak and
washed it off, then put it back on the grill and muttered that Harold
wasn't gonna get away with this or some such shit, a remark all three of us
laughed and made " WHOOOOOOOO" sarcastic scary noises at, and got a sulky
"Fuck ALL you assholes" in response.
Shortly after they pulled their nasty food out of and off of the fire,
doused it with squeeze Parkay and A-1 and started scarfing it like starving
Coyotes (except for Boz. He hacked a couple bites off of his plug of meat,
threw it away in disgust and did a slow and showy burn. But he did keep on
eating his nasty-looking spud).
Then the still sleeping Rick began sorta sputtering and sorta snoring, then
making some mildly ominous grumbling noises reminiscent of distant,
just-forming thunderstorm, which grew louder and louder and culminated in
his (without ever regaining consciousness) releasing with impressive
velocity a drywall-mud-bucketload of beer and twice-bit Oscar Mayer stew.
Boz, Harold and Jeff screeched and made suitably revolted noises, then took
up their cheap blue-speckle metal plates and chow and moved well clear of
the presumably malodorous whoosh zone. Blotto cackled maniacally for what
seemed a solid minute or so, then took a belt of beer, wiped his eyes and
said "HEHEHEHEH.....Fucking pussy...Jeez, whatta boner. Bet he rolls around
in that shit during the night. Whaddya bet? HAW HAW."
On that note, I said good night, retired to my truck for the evening, and
drifted off to sleep to a mixture of drunken blather, beer-honk related
"YEEECH.....BLEH" type expressions of lingering disgust, and garbage
music, mostly Moody Blues, that Harold had started playing on his boom box.
Day 2. Got up before everybody besides Rick and Blotto (not even sure he
went to sleep at all). Judging from the look and fragrance of Rick's
coveralls, Blotto's prediction had been right on the money. Swilling almost
a case of beer in six hours and sleeping in his own puke hadn't dampened
his fondness for the stuff, though, as he had a brew in his hand as he bid
me a oddly cheerful and bleary-eyed good morning in the barely post-dawn
chill. I made some coffee, drank it, read a little, talked what trash I
could with Rick and Blotto, and listened to the snoring, beer farts and
occasional cigarette hacks that came from the nearby tents until ten or so,
when they started staggering out one by one and guzzling coffee and
We sat around, trying to make some plans during the ONLY part of the day
when most of us were sober, and eating Doritos and bean dip. I wanted to go
find a new place to stay that night, but I got overruled by the tent twits,
who were loathe to break camp. Jeff wanted to fish some, anyway. So we
decided to do some thrashing around and exploring on our own, and move to a
place in the high ground (one I wanted to go to) the following night.
Anyway, near as I knew, there was no serious drinking done (except by Rick
and Blotto), until afternoon. Jeff went trout fishing and I drove my truck
to a trailhead 10 or so miles away and hiked up some mountain that began
with a T, stretched out a hammock on top, admired the view and read,
deliberately arriving back at the camp late enough to get out of firewood
When I got back, just about nightfall, everybody but me was already DEAD
drunk. Jeff was upriver fishing, and I heard from Blotto that all he had
caught were some minnow-sized trout and a few inedible things we used to
call hornyheads, that look just like circumcised cocks with fins. Not even
sure if the trout season was open then, anyway, so maybe it was good thing
he didn't catch much.
Rick was standing in a chest-deep eddy in the river (in freezing water.
this was March), swaying back and forth in a clumsy attempt to keep from
falling over, scanning the bank, he claimed, for mud puppy hideouts (mud
puppies are huge salamanders notorious for eating your fish off of
stringers). He had been scared by one on a previous trip (that got bigger
every time he told the story) that he said had stared out of a hole at him
with big, "almost human lookin'" eyes.
He was hollering for a beer, which we threw to him. He dumped it all over
his head and went, "harrrup...Beer's on ME!.......heahehahahHAHAHA, then
went to cackling and blabbering incoherently.
"Heard it before, seen it before" Blotto said, straightfaced. "You just
wasted a beer."
Anyway, eventually he got bored with the Hellbender hunt and tried to climb
out of the river, and miraculously made it almost to the top of the steep
bank before he fell backwards (did a full somersault) hit with a really
respectable splash, and started floating downriver (in a VERY swift
spring-rain accelerated current) with a sorta glazed expression.
"Ah fuck," I said to Blotto. "let's go get him...we can't show up at his
house and tell Patty (his surprisingly attractive wife) a story like this."
"I dunno," Blotto said "Think I'd have a chance with her?... HAHAHAHAH."
I just made a face at that.
Then he said: "all right, all right," and followed me through the brush at
as speedy a clip as we could manage. W
We found Rick a few hundred yards down, clinging a springy willow branch
that overhung a swift, deep channel eight or so feet from the bank, where
he was stretched out almost horizontally and bobbing up and down like a
dead catfish on a limb-line.
Blotto waded into the water, I followed him, grabbing a solid root with one
hand, and Blotto's left arm with the other, and he in turn stepped off into
fast and deep water and reached out with his right hand, which Rick
stuporously latched on to.
Shortly thereafter I realized I wasn't strong enough to drag BOTH of them
out of the current. I tried until my eyes were about to pop out of my head
and I nearly dislocated Blotto's wrist, but there was just no way.
I apprised him of the situation, and he said, "Well, hell, let us go. I can
swim. Fuck this dope, anyway."
So I did. They went quickly out of sight, due to dense streamside
vegetation, and I once again began making my way down along the bank, this
time thinking about what I would tell BOTH of their wives. But I ran across
the two of them shortly after, Blotto pushing a crawling-like-a-clumsy
newborn Rick up the bank.
"Fucking boner," he said as he got to the top. He didn't want to admit to
exactly why he never thought about just letting RICK go. I coulda pulled
ONE person out. Woulda been unseemly and unmanly, I guess, to admit he gave
a shit about him. But Rick didn't appear terribly appreciative. He just
staggered over to a tree, wrapped one arm around it like it was a woman's
waist, and barfed some beer and river water.
Anyway, Blotto had some spare coveralls, which he put on shortly
thereafter, but Rick had brought nothing besides what he was wearing, which
was at least, thanks to his little dip and his recent and surprisingly good
aim, no longer reeking of puke. I had to loan him some clothes, which he
needed help putting on, to keep him from freezing to death while we smoked
his soggy K-mart monkey suit next to the fire on a nigger-rigged
"And don't you fucking piss in those pants," I remember telling him.
I think he did anyway. But it coulda been spilt beer. What I choose to
Boz, halfway through a new quart of Schnapps himself and smelling like a
smoked candy-cane, found the whole thing amusing in the extreme.
But Rick was beyond giving a damn (at least, thankfully not wearing his gun
today), his eyes now resembling a couple holes burnt in a blanket, still
drinking like a madman and yelling shit like "HOW BOUT THEM
DAWGS...blurp.....EEEEEEEYAAAAAAAHHHHH!!" every so often for no reason
ANYBODY could understand, and pissing so often we suggested he just stand
by his favorite tree and leave his dick out, which unfortunately, he
thought was such a good idea that he grabbed five or six beers, put them in
a pile behind him, and did just that, until he fell over and went out again
for a while. Yeah. Still with his dick out.
He got back up a little later, going "brrrrfh...hyaaa....uppflk, etc," now
seemingly incapable of real speech of any sort, as well as any movements
other than those required get beers out of the cooler, drink them, and
crawl a few feet and piss on all fours like a female dog. I honestly wish I
was exaggerating, but that's the truth.
Not much else happened until late that evening. We all kept drinking. I
built a small fire for cooking and set up a sort of separate camp about 20
or 30 feet from the massive bonfire Jeff and Boz and Harold chose to abuse
their food on.
I cooked and ate my dinner early, drank a few beers and a maybe a mere half
a quart of booze (which made me the picture of restraint...honest), and
watched, from a short distance, the rest of them try to give themselves
Harold eventually got so liquored up he went to feeling sorry for himself
and actually said some stuff, allowing half-hearted automotive talk to
abruptly and clumsily segue into bitter whining about what a doped-up,
horny mess his 14 year-old daughter (by an estranged and so EXCEEDINGLY
strange ex that he had gotten custody) was.
continued in woodsy Part Three