Resuming from Part I, as our annual "guy's week out" backpacking trip in the woods of Wyoming was winding down, we were facing what appeared to be a not easily-solved riddle of how to recross that friggin' river, without reliving the Day 1 experience.
Particularly after the rain and hailstorms of D-Day plus 3, D-Day Redux was looking like a definitive repeat. I dunno 'bout you, but I hate re-runs of bad flicks. And the first time around was like a bad flick with a worse script, choreographed by an even worse director.
However, the evening before our recrossing of the river was necessitated by work schedules and the dent being placed in our packed-in food supplies (though, the fishing had been good right along), we noticed that the river appeared to be receding a bit: the very top of the tell-tale rock was now a 'fin' in the water.
However, the newest member of our epic-in-the-making had come up with what he was convinced was a brilliant idea: why not build a raft? One big enough to pole or paddle us AND our gear across. While the rest of us expressed varying degrees of skepticism based on supplies and time constraints, Ray's obvious enthusiam for the project -- and his distain for the temperature of the water -- proved enough to, if not convince us, bring us around to try an unconsidered option.
That damned grouse tried to warn us.
Lacking copious quantities of a suitable binding material -- duct tape -- the resulting raft was a shadow of the original suggestion. It didn't appear worthy of a wading pool, in fact (pictured above, with about half of our gear on it). BUT...the originator and father of this idea was still enthusiastic that it would at least allow our gear a dry crossing, even if not us.
That was his story and he'd change it later. In the meantime, even Lewis & Clark would have taken one look, and fired us from the Corps of Discovery. Worse, we'd of never made the first cut of American Corps of Discovery Idol -- The Auditions.
After drawing straws, the game plan on the morning of D-Day Redux was thus: two of us (Murf and yours truly) would recross the river conventionally: Murf would stand by, ready to assist the launch and maiden voyage of Poseidumb I, if required (Ray at the time thought not), while I recorded on the only camera along on the trip, photographic evidence suitable for demonstrating either our ingenuity or Darwin nominations. The other two lucky fellows -- Ray the "Creator" and Brock -- would be our "Skipper and Gilligan", and be hereafter written in the Rafting Hall of Fame.
That damned grouse tried to warn us.
Murf and I crossed first, with absolutely NONE of the drama of D-Day; in fact, as we made the opposite bank, I was having some doubt as to the necessity of the launch of Poseidumb I; then again, not having to take time to dry out wet equipment, and facing the climb-out we did, I ignored the little voice in my head that kept saying that damned grouse tried to warn us.
Instead, it wasn't long before that little voice in my head was shrieking "WTF ARE YOU TWO DOING?": they were delaying the launch of Poseidumb I, while working ever closer to the upper reaches of the ford, where the current became a player in the epic starting to unravel. I allowed myself to shout "launch it further UPSTREAM!" without colorful metaphors, all the while resisting the urge to stop taking pictures.
Almost as soon as they finally launched the raft, it was obviously in trouble as the current was now a factor, and we didn't have time for a three-hour tour, what with white water and rocks not many yards downstream, and no Mary Ann to rescue, anyway.
Murf was already in motion to assist them (the photo from Part I), when they started yelling for "the big dummy to get his ass out there". Later we'd be able to debate degrees of dummy here; now, it was time to quit cataloging the photo evidence for our upcoming competency hearings, and get "the big dummy" out there.
Being the biggest dummy now out there, when I reached Poseidumb I, I positioned myself on the starboard side, and tried to help force the raft in a direction that damned grouse had tried to warn us was in jeopardy. But the force of the current, coupled with the weight of the raft and gear, simply didn't care what my intentions were. What I did accomplish was increase the wave of water pouring over the top of the now listing-to-port raft.
I can only imagine what the fish at our feet were thinking. If there was a Funniest Aquatic Home Videos Show, I reckon we were the stars of our own segment, while Lewis & Clark were vindicated in not taking us or any of our namesakes along.
Watching gear wash off the raft, hearing the increasing shouts of dismay of the others, and finally allowing the first crystal-clear intelligent thought to become vocal out of me probably all morning, I yelled back at the upstreamers to "get the f***ing gear off the raft, NOW!" Then returning to stubbornly stupid, I held on, trying to keep the raft from washing away, while the others grabbed what they could, as fast as they could.
The Marx Brothers nor Three Stooges could have choreographed the sequence any more comedically.
Quickly though, I was learning things about Nature, and the forces thereof: my feet were beginning to lose their purchase in the rocks on the bottom, and the weight of the raft and force of the current were combining to make my "last stand" a soon-to-be foregone conclusion.
However, before a moveable force could be overcome by an irresistable one, the last vital piece of gear was removed, and I was able to sidestep to the right, and watch Poseidumb I head for the shoals. Forty yards downstream, Poseidumb I hit the rocks in the whitewater, and disintegrated.
Once back on the correct side of the river, we took stock: random pieces of equipment were missing, leaving downstream fish with new product inquiries they couldn't make; but nothing missing was irreplaceable or terribly vital. Knees were sore and tender once more, now including my own. All the surviving gear was soaked, of course. But worst of all: when I opened my pack, I discovered the culinary faux pas of modern times: I'd ruined the Minute Rice.
A box of same, entrusted to my pack, received adequate soak to explode the box. Murf took a handful, sampled it and announced, "yep...you f**ked up the rice".
It was culinarily irretrievable, since the salt shaker was now a trout souvenir.
The concluding hike out was all that we had remembered it to be, save for Ray, who kept gasping "who's idea was this sh**, anyway?" (after hearing of the previous year's experience, he invited himself to join us; we enjoyed reminding him of that, between whoops for air and dry heaves). And just as the year before, I beat the others up the hill by 30 minutes, only to spend 25 of that prostrate across the hood of my car, recovering.
That part they didn't get to see, though I think the damned grouse ghost did, cackling at me from a nearby tree.
And there you have The Poseidumb Adventure.
At one time, I considered doing a series on my camping and outdoors anecdotes and experiences in the wild, to include stuff like, for example, the time I fell out of a tree while collecting firewood.
After proofreading this, I'm concluding that some experiences may be best left to our personal "do you remember when..?"..."Not even under oath..." chatfests, that never cease to cause Murf's wife to wonder how she married one, and indirectly inherited thereafter two other, such inept-in-the-outdoors goofballs.
Especially one who f**ked up the Minute Rice. In the middle of a river.
Simply put, I have a gift. Now, if only I could find where to return or exchange it...