Regcreek (62K)

     Packing made easy -- or so I thought


The first trip in the spring has always been a treat for me. But oh my goodness, it seems a lot of work to pull all my kit together, my tent, dishes, cooking pots, clothes, sleeping bag, etc.

Serpentine River
Serpentine River after autumn rains
Photo by Bill Miller, thanks to Evan Young

So I had the bright idea last fall to pack everything up as if I were leaving on a trip the next day .... all my kaboodle nicely packed and ready to toss into my car and then into my canoe. I stowed my cooking gear, mess kit and stove, plus other related cram, into my 5-gallon plastic barrel, screwed it tight and stored it in my shed out back in my garden. I have dry bags for my tent, sleeping bag and other such stuff.

barrel (27K)
My little blue barrel, bulky and awkward, a rooter's nightmare actually

So today, I started to pack for our six-day trip in northern Maine, down a river I have only seen from the window of my car hurtling past far too fast. I fetched my blue barrel out of my shed where it had waited all the long winter. I said to myself, Self, there's no need to look inside the blue barrel, you know what's in there, have some confidence in yourself and leave it be.

Then my other self said, Self, better play it safe and smart, who knows what you might forget if you don't at least check. Go ahead, it can't hurt.

So I unscrewed the plastic top and immediately a foul smell stung my nostrils. Reaching in for my mess kit, I found it covered in greasy gray mildew. Same for all my pots and pans, my stove, and other bumpf. I had to take everything out, and lo and behold, there was a plastic bag at the bottom, and it was wet ... with the slimy slop of four rotten tomatoes. Adding to the stench was the contents of a small film canister, in which I had stored dishwashing soap.

So I had to wash everything, including the barrel, and dry it all again. Thank goodness my trip departure is still several days away. It would have been a sorry surprise had I listened to my first Self and blithely gone ahead with a sticky stinking mess .... my buddies from down Boston way wouldn't have appreciated my company quite the same way, I'm sure.

I don't think I'll use the barrel after all. I'll use a soft kit bag for my kitchen gear. First, I'll cover the bottom of my boat with a waterproof tarp, to keep my gear out of the bilge. Then I'll wrap my bag, and other like stuff, in another tarp which I'll tie down in my boat. That should keep my rooting down to a minimum, I hope.

Here's to the Hair Boaters!

Meanderings

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