Project Leader: Drew Foreman Project Dates: May 17,2010 - November 15,2010 Email Address: Aforeman@thesca.org
This hitch will go down in the record books. For starters we cleared more trail this week than any other hitch thus far, over seven thousand feet to be exact. It was quite the display of teamwork and determination. After five months of blood, sweat, and nettles, it is my pleasure to announce to you that Ramsey’s draft trail is finished! This May it was a virtually impossible hike. The brush was so thick that you couldn’t throw a cat through it. Now you could ride an elephant to Hiner Spring if you could find an elephant to ride to Hiner Spring. So spread the word and go enjoy this amazing place.
For logistics sake we opted to hike in from the Todd Lake side of the wilderness rather than the Mountain House trailhead. It was a nice change in scenery. Just in time for the leaves to change no less. Every once and a while you would find yourself in a National Geographic centerfold and it made for a few: “we must be the coolest kids on the planet” moments. The weather betrayed us for the last couple of days. Things got cold and wet and we learned to appreciate good raingear. A little mist and fog never slowed us down though and the clouds miraculously lifted just in time for breakfast on hike out day.
We rotate cooking duties out here. My meals are notorious failures. Not for a lack of trying. It’s just bad luck. Or maybe I am just a bad cook. Either way, I fear that the team has lost trust in my cooking abilities.
It all started with the great black bean overestimation of hitch four. Turns out, eight cups of dried black beans yielded more than we could handle. Who knew? Another time there was a slight miscommunication in rice portioning . ”Just half a cup per person” sounds a lot like “ just have a cup per person”. Eventually we got it cleared up, but not without making enough rice to feed the Chicago Bears. The gang was not happy about having rice for lunch the rest of the hitch. “Heavy Metal Mexican Night” didn’t go over so well. Partly because I burned everything and partly because my teammates lack an appreciation for late 80’s thrash metal with their meal. Looks like the tacos aren’t the only ones with bad taste. On pizza night we learned the difference between brewer’s yeast and bread yeast….. the hard way. Brewer’s yeast is a horrible leavening agent by the way. Do not use it in your pizza dough.
At this point my cooking night has evolved into more of a group entertainment spectacle than anything else . At dinner time everyone gathers around the Whisperlites and watches Kitt make a slapstick routine out of preparing stir fry. Occasionally someone will spout condescending advice, but most of the time they just point and laugh at my expense. I feel like they look forward to the Kitt West culinary comedy hour almost as much as I have come to dread it.
But by far the highlight of the trip was Spencer’s meal. It was a pretty straight forward dish. Vegetables in tomato sauce over rice. Even still the guy made me look like Rachel Ray. His vegetables included a cucumber (can you sauté a cucumber?) and a squash that rotted in its own juice at the bottom of a bear vault for a few days. The squash wasn’t questionable, it was rotten. And it tasted like the bottom of a dumpster. Low and behold Reuben dry heaved again. For the record no one has ever dry heaved as a result of my cooking.
Inevitably someone had to step to the task of drinking the rotten squash water. Had you smelled this stuff you would agree that no human being could ever stomach such rancid slurry. So when Caitlin started collecting bets I figured I was sure to double my money. I almost felt guilty for subjecting my teammate to certain projectile vomiting. She never hesitated. And I will be a monkey’s uncle if she didn’t drink that rotten squash water like it was Kool-Aid. It was one of the most impressively disgusting feats that I have ever witnessed, hats off to Caitlin Arnold and her stomach of steel.
We will keep you posted on every inch of our progress and keep showing you impressive before/after pictures so you can see that we work a lot. What you don’t see is that we laugh a lot to. Sometimes we don’t even notice. It is the little everyday moments with the ones around you that really matter. We are six total strangers slowly becoming best friends in the woods together. It’s incredible. So don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.
My falafel soup-rice (pronounced “surprise”. Pretty clever, right?), went relatively unnoticed in the shadow of Spencer’s three ring circus meal. He may have taken the heat off of me. I am really sorry Spencer, but I can’t wait to point and laugh.