Sunday, September 25, 2011


I don't have enough time to properly muse about this life-giving and sustaining element. There is enough time to tell a quick story about water, though. Anybody who says that water's taste is boring, or that it has no taste, is a boring person with no taste. We all had that favorite drinking fountain in school that tasted a bit better than the others. Each one of us, back when it was still cool to drink bottled water, had our own reasons for liking a certain "spring" or "glacier" brand water that hydrated us better, and at the same time had a certain satisfying taste. Maybe it isn't a definable taste per se; rather, a wetness and/or clean feeling you experienced as you drank it. However, I can say for a surety that naturally occurring water has a definite taste.

Well, on occasion, I do something stupid and drink out of streams when I hike. I haven't gotten sick as of yet. When all the orifices of mine start spewing forth all manner of waste products, I'll know I finally got my due. However, I don't do this as often now, and am very careful. Anyway, I have noticed a bit of difference in stream water. It really isn't what I would call pure. There's a sense that you are risking something, but at the same time enjoying it thoroughly. Yeah, I've had times where I've found carcasses of animals in streams that I had drank out of before. The thought of dead animals in the water adding to the flavor kind of ruined this romantic idea of mine that mountain streams were pure. Besides, springs are the way to go. But, in order to take full advantage of a spring, you must find the source.

Today, while on a hike, I came across a small stream of water trickling down the mountain. I decided to follow this little trail of wetness to see where it came from. Ferns started appearing in tight clusters and the overall vegetation was thicker than the surrounding area. A little ways up, there was a PVC pipe driven into the earth in the middle of the flow. From this pipe the water channeled outward so that one could fill a canteen. I bent over, cupped my hands under the pipe while filling them up, and drank with too much excitement that caused me to choke and cough for a bit. After I got my throat cleared, another attempt was made. This time I was able to take in all that I captured with my hands. Being thirsty from the hike, and not too keen on the stale water from my hydration pack, I followed this act again and again, like I was near death from dehydration. The flavors were exceptionally clean, yet earthy, while at the same time I could detect mossy, leafy notes. Possibly, it was not tapped into the source, but clean enough, filtered by gravel, dirt, then plant debris. I wish I could send you all some right now; it was glorious.

Now, only if I had time to tell you about the wild raspberries I found.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Helping=Happier (For Tys on Ice: Special Re-Re-Edited For Content Edition)

I spent the day up in the mountains confusing and scaring off fish. I am not a good fisherman. What I am good at is helping others, and that is just what I did today. My brother and I (my brother is the only person that will hang out with me for more than a couple of hours these days) were off the beaten path in the mountains on a rough trail. We were in his Ford Exploder, which has four-wheel drive, but is not that great of a wheeler. I would have much rather been in my truck, save for the fact that today's outing would have cost me over $60 in gas. Anyway, we get to this lake and start to get out; this is when I start hearing tires spinning, smoke, and some dude frantically shouting "I AM SO (see bottom of post)!!!"

I walk up the trail to see this two-wheel drive truck with its front end down into some trees, the undercarriage hung up on a boulder, and it's ass end sticking up. Somehow this guy and his wife thought that turning around in this narrow and treacherous area was a better idea than simply backing down. I helped where I could by giving him advice and helping him carry it out--using a jack, branches, and flat rocks. It all seemed promising, but there simply weren't enough bodies to help. My brother didn't have any tow straps, plus there wasn't any way we could get in there without getting hung up ourselves. This is when I decided to go for a walk and see if there was anybody else around to help. Fortunately, there was a bunch of people coming in a five-seater buggy.

I got their attention and talked to the guys. They really weren't interested in helping. I was a bit surprised because they had their boys with them. Aren't dads supposed to be teaching their sons how to be good men? It took me about five minutes to persuade these guys to go a little out of their way and help. Once we all got up there, we tried and failed a few times, but with our collective minds and muscles, we finally got this poor guy and his wife out of the trees and off of this boulder. This proves the old adage correct in that many hands make light work.

The couple thanked us all and after the others left the guy, Bryce, thanked me especially. I kind of got the feeling that Bryce was a lot like me, in that, I don't ask for help that often and when I usually do it isn't with the words "help me". No, it is usually someone overhearing me say, in a figurative way, "I AM SO (see bottom of post)!" It still amazes me how many people would rather keep on going, so you have to just decide that you are going to be one of those people who stops and helps. It's the only way people like me are going to get unstuck. It's just nice that I could help this time. It took my mind off of my troubles for a bit.