Thanks to Global Warming (which mysteriously gets blamed for everything, whether it’s abnormal warmth or brutal cold) it was rather mild and warm this morning, and I took an opportunity to further my backpacking experience and walked the length of the Golf Course Road trail. It’s two miles end to end, which gave me an out and back hike of four miles, twice as long as my furthest jaunt to date.
I liked the way the trees leaned over the trail. Of course, this trail was exceptionally flat, being an old rail bed. There were two small hills to go over, I think to keep cars off the trail, but otherwise it was uneventful. I walked the two miles to the end and turned around, stopping a few hundred yards back to cook lunch.
If you’ve never made a Coleman Mac and cheese meal, it is an interesting backwoods experience. First you have to boil 12 ounces of water. Getting the water out of my water sack was trouble enough – because usually you just suck on the tube, I finally figured out the easy way to do it, put the cup on the ground and hold the tube low as possible and push the bite valve open. At least the metal cup has ounce markings stamped into it.
Then you find a flat spot and turn on the burner. In the daylight the flame is hard to see. Test with the hairs on the back of your hand. While the water heated, I tested out rigging my tent roof tarp over me, in case I was stuck in the rain or something. Briars love paracord, and really really hate letting it go. By the time my ridge line was rigged, the water was boiling.
I had to tear open the pouch, empty in the noodles and then dig the sock out of my pack. The sock is an old athletic sock that holds my pointy tent stakes, so they don’t punch holes in my water bladder. Using the sock I was able to pick up the titanium cup by it’s extremely heat-conductive handles and pour 12 ounces of boiling water into the equivalent of a ziplock bag, without spilling it everywhere (or worse, on me).
That done, I zipped the bag and took down my roof line, because I didn’t plan to stay there all day, and I was visible to the road. The last thing I wanted was those uppity Golf Course Road people calling the cops because I was setting up a tent like a homeless person (or worse, an Occupy Wall Street supporter).
Word of warning: the zip on the Coleman food pouch sucks. Don’t squish the noodles around making sure they don’t stick together, the top of the bag might pop open on you and spill scalding noodles and water down the palm of your hand and squirt noodle goosh all over the jacket you are sitting on.
After emptying in the cheese powder and stirring, it’s not bad food. Certainly edible, and I probably would have eaten it all if I hiked ten miles, but not after having had a half dozen doughnut holes before leaving the house. Everything stowed, I began the return trip. It turned out easier than I thought, and I even grabbed a Geocache on the way back.
I was thoroughly satisfied with the fact I walked the distance without passing out, or phoning a friend to come get me, or having my Kidney rebel once again.
I seem to have suffered from a kidney stone relapse, that damn left one a second time. If anyone needs a kidney and I’m a match, they get the left one. Sorry but that’s how it is. My wife was very relieved that I hadn’t brought the poop n’ puke virus home, and maybe almost as relieved she didn’t food poison me on Friday. Saturday at midnight my left side was hurting, and I began to suspect something was wrong. I couldnt sleep, and wound up walking around the kitchen island for about an hour, because it was the only thing staging off the agony. I was avoiding waking the wife, as I have yet to pay the hospital off from my last trip, and didn’t plan to spend another weekend evening in the company of the money-grubbing hospital financial office buffoon.
I finally woke my wife up in a deeply disturbing fashion when my pains reached a crescendo and finished off with the forceful expulsion of my salmon Ceasar salad. Projectile hurling would make a great alarm clock sound, because it gets her up every time. After that I felt a lot better, lending credence to my initial feeling I was food poisoned. I tried sleeping and woke up several times with my side in pain. The next day I felt better, and tried going to the mall. After a second relapse I figured it was Kidney Stone, the sequel, and almost went to Lexington Medical center, but knowing it would eventually pass (ha ha ha), I took it easy and by the end of the day I felt a LOT better. I guess I have to talk to my doctor sooner or later, because this sucks.
I took advantage of Sunday by spending too much on plants at Lowes, and a new kitchen light. I don’t know what you call a home improvement project where you wind up tearing stuff up, maybe a home unimprovement project. I did get a good picture of the day at the Dollar Tree, that hotbed of Haute Couture. I’m sure this is a top of the line test and is one of the most accurate you can buy:
Now I have to go bring the plants in, because it’s going to be too cold. Damn Global Warming.
*incidentally the name of this post was taken from the book title “AWOL on the Appalachian Trail”, a story by a guy that quit his IT job to thru-hike the whole 2200 mile AT in five months. It’s a very good read, and happily they hired him back in October, when he finished the hike.