Sunday, August 3, 2008

Boundary Waters, Section II

Day 2 - July 28

We arose from our collective beauty sleep quite early...and after a typical inoffensive hotel breakfast, we set out for the ranger station. We were unfortunately unable to enter our choice lake on that day, because they only give out so many permits, but were able to secure a next-day pass. In the meantime, we were allowed to stay in an "overflow" campsite which was in fact situated on the lake itself--Kawishiwi Lake--bless you!

Permit secured, we drove for about half an hour until we reached Kawishiwi, on roads that made washboards feel like silk. We set up camp on the site of our choice. It was rather steep, and going from the tent to the water's edge involved some acrobatics, after you rappelled down an easy 100-ft glacier. We were ensconced in camp by about 10:30 and began to veg out, just as if we were back home in front of the TV--not. The remote was stuck on one channel--pure, undistilled, scenic beauty. We picnicked on a rather unwelcoming little island, where Abe and I waded through some shoulder-length blueberry swamp for no reason at all.

Our lunch meal consisted of "GORP"--Good Old Raisins + Peanuts, but which also included granola, M&Ms, and a few almonds; as well as that cheese that comes in an spray-can thing on tortillas, with salami optional. We carried little water in, partly because it's very heavy but mostly because, with a filter, you can take it right out of the lakes! I think that in this modern, post-industrial, polluted age, that's pretty incredible. Later on in the trip, in fact, our filter clogged and we just dipped buckets into the middle of the lake. It was slightly greenish because of all the chlorophyll from dead leaves, but tasted just fine. There was a water-Lilly settlement kitty-corner to our campsite, which we explored at length and took pictures of, unaware that they would put on an innumerably more vigorous appearance later on in our journey. We spent the afternoon lazily fiddling around in the lake, the mini-ecosystem surrounding our granite jetty proving fascinating to Abe and I--why do the bugs go into the water? They know it will kill 'em--and reading. Elevation issues aside, it was a beautiful campsite, and ant sunset the sun outdid itself in fiery splendor against the thickening clouds, providing inspiration for what may be my first complete poem in rhyming couplets [yesterday's poem, people]. Haiku is all well and good, but rhymes have more poetic power.

Dinner was heavily freeze-dried, with "Sweet and Sour Pork and Rice" for the carnivores and organic mac & cheese for me, and "peaches and cream" for dessert. The pork was generally accepted as better than expected, but it was so filling that the four of us were hard-pressed to eat two packages. The same went for the peaches and cream. The peaches were reluctant to reconstitute, and so we were basically eating peach yogurt with dried peaches in it!

We lounged outside till it was too dark to read and then read some more in the tent with the help of a wind-up LED flashlight, and then turned in. The tent like the rest of the campsite was on a tiny bit of a slope, so that it was suspended vertically from the aforementioned glacier. As we slept, a light rain began to fall, making slightly less noise as it hit our tent than a hailstorm on a tin roof.

[My second poem I exhibit here. Definitely my strongest effort, I'm particularly proud of it.]

Partly Cloudy

When Cloud and Sun fight
And Battlefield Sky is filled with their might
Vying for domination of horizons great;
We ask -- What shall be our fate?

Great long battalions, majestic and white
Trying to extinguish Castle Sun's light.
Volley after volley, they go back and forth,
Their battles resounding from the South to the North.

Full sun or full cloud, their ceasefires deem.
When victorious one or the other might seem.
But the battle goes on, for always they rally,
And with hit after hit rises the tally.

Locked forever in massive heavenly conflict,
As if mandated by some higher edict.
Sun and Cloud become good and evil in this, the inverse,
And the battle for Sky flares into a fight for the universe.


elisabeth said...

Give me more

Sue said...

Thanks for posting your journal. Your writing is so vivid, it makes me feel like I was there. Oh, wait! I WAS there!