Didn’t want my readers to miss out on the fun. National Hike Naked Day is coming fast; Sunday June 21, 2020; which also happens to be Father’s Day. Nothing says Father’s Day like a bunch of penises flapping freely on a warm summer day. And where will I be? Backpacking the Selway with rattlesnakes, maybe not such a great place for the unprotected penis. So far though, it’s the women who are excited about Hike Naked Day, the men, not so much.
I know I left you in suspense after the last blog as to what reading material I’ll take on my 5 day 50 mile backpacking adventure. Here is the solution:
I’m leaving the Kindle (10.93 ounces), leaving the phone with Kindle app (7.62 ounces), leaving the paperback I bought for the trip “Virgil Wander” (11.64 ounces) and the winner is:
Taking a small paperback that I found in the Darby High School Library while waiting for a board meeting to start. The assistant librarian is a loyal reader of Wild About Books, so I’m going to whisper this next part. Listen closely. I’m going to take the library book (5.61 ounces). I’m going to (shhhh) rip off the front cover, back cover and extraneous pages which saves over two ounces! Then as I read the book, I’ll rip out the pages and burn them, making the book lighter each day. Genius.
This book is heavy in the covers since there is lots of tape and a checkout card and card holder glued to the back cover. Remember that system. You check out a book, sign the card then the book and card get stamped with a due date. And oh boy, if you owed for an over due book, at least in Darby High School, Mrs. Parker would chase you though the halls; “Noah! Noah! you owe .10 cents Noah! Ten cents!”
According to the card, this book was last checked out by T. Johnston. And based on the due date of May 7, 2007, I’m assuming that’s Tyler Johnston and not his younger sister Tori Johnston. Before that is was checked out by my assistant daughter, Shelby Rogala, due May 8, 2006. She actually checked it out twice in a row.
The book I’m packing is John Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley”. First published in 1962, two years before I was born. I love John Steinbeck’s writing (“Of Mice and Men”, “The Grapes of Wrath”, “East of Eden”; all of which I recommend). The introduction to “East of Eden” is one of the best examples of writing that I have ever read. I had forgotten about that until I
read the introduction to “Travels with Charley” yesterday while on my practice hike up Canyon Creek during my lunch break. Here is an excerpt.
“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservation, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the-glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like a marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”
Bravo Mr. Steinbeck. That is beautiful. “….we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” Just makes you want to scream “Fucking A!” or “Amen Brother!”; depending on your preferred show of “damn that’s good shit” joy pulsing from your inner being. Read it again……you should read it again. It’s poetry. Every word is a poem.
Not sure what the universe is trying to tell me as I sit here writing this blog. It is 4:30 am. I’m unable to sleep due to the pain of another migraine. In the past 24 hours I have taken two prescription migraines pills, one muscle relaxer and three Aleve. I’m on day three of this migraine. Yesterday’s practice hike was more than a practice hike. It was an experiment. I hiked with my fully loaded pack for six hours. I struggled to make it back to the car as the migraine went from a headachy pain to full blown pressure and pain. I do not have a headache, a headache has me. Unable to eat or drink. Eighty degrees. Direct sun. A beautiful day to everyone else. I drove home. If I had not had my dog, I would have driven to the emergency room (I’ve already met my deductible and the insurance company turned down my doctors prescription for preventive medicine). Anyway, I’m not one to tell you about my pain and suffering, but I wanted to explain to you the why. The why I’ve backed out of my 5 day 50 mile backpacking trip on the Selway River. I still plan on hiking naked on June 21st, but in the early hours of the day before it gets too hot and with no weight on my back and just for a little while. Maybe I’ll turn it into “National Knit Naked on the Screened in Porch with the Ceiling Fan On and an iced tea and a good podcast Day”.
And the library book is saved from destruction ( I don’t think I could have followed through with that plan anyway).
More great book suggestions and adventures can be found at Wild About Books.