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Tales from the Log of the Ruptured Duck

oldsparkey

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Aug 25, 2003
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It would be interesting to know how many folks who camp and paddle the water ways have ever thought about the folks who were there 1st.
I know I have many times and especially when I have the pleasure of walking or even camping on a mound they created.
I believe we need to say a quiet Thanks to Mark Twain for influencing Jack to enlighten us with his thoughts about this very matter.
 
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Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
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Thank you, Chuck. I've sometimes wondered what an ancient paddler of, say, 3,000 years ago would think of our gear today? Very similar designs, but very different materials. I'd like to think they would be enthusiastic.

And, of course, some would stick with tree bark, peeled roots, and pine pitch.
 

Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
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PEOPLE IN THE MIST 1.2

In the meantime, I'd peeled some small roots, and now had about 20 feet of small cordage. It has been soaking and is pliable. It will be useful for fastening together my pieces of birch bark.

(Warning: a boring, detailed description of o couple of chunks of bark follows:)

Working with those two pieces of bark, I scribed a circle onto each - a 24" diameter circle centered on one, a 22" diameter circle centered onto the other. Then, I drew a 6" circle centered on each piece. Using my knife, I trimmed around the larger, outside circle of each piece. Carefully, I made three radial slices in each piece. These ran from the inner circle, clear out to the outer circle on the edge, and were evenly spaced at 12, 4, and 8 o'clock. I now had two circles, cut into three, floppy sectors that were still attached at the 6" inner circle.

Later, I used a small, pointy stick to punch holes along one edge of these slices, about 1/4" in. On the opposite side of each slice, the line of holes was offset at an angle. Near the center, the first hole was 1/4" in away from the edge. At the outer circumference the hole was 1 1/4" in away from the edge of the slice. All six radial slices had rows of holes arranged like this.

Now, I overlapped the edges of one of these slices, and laced it up with a piece of root. Then the other two slices on that piece. I now had a shallow cone of birch bark. In a few minutes, I had sewn up the three, overlapped edges in the other piece and now had two, similar cones. Sitting the larger cone 24" diameter) in my lap, I punched in six more holes.these were in pairs, two holes in each of the three sections. I spaced them in about 2" from the outside edge of the cone, and 3" apart side to side. And, matching holes in the smaller cone. Then I took a nap.

I woke up hungry, and had lunch! I finally laced those two cones together so that they resembled a flying saucer, 24" across and 6" high in the center. The 24" cone overlapped the 22" cone, providing a 1" eave all the way around. I intend to use this positioned over the smoke hole in the top of the wickiup.

I tied the flying saucer atop the smoke hole, with 2-3" of clearance. Here's how it works. First, because it covers the hole, rain doesn't come in. Second, the bottom cone has that curved profile, immediately above the hole. When wind blows across the roof of the wickiup, and passes through the gap between my bottom cone and the roof, it has to speed up as it goes over the hole. BINGO! Bernoulli's principle tells us that when air speeds up going forward, it puts out less pressure sideways. "Less pressure" is a partial vacuum. It sucks out the smoke! The top cone, with its overhanging eave protects the bottom cone from collecting rain - it serves as a roof. IE: it sucks out smoke, and keeps out rain. I spent the next week or so making more of them for other folks in camp.

While I was busy doing these things, Eric was improving his archery. I showed him about making arrows for short range hunting of, say, birds or squirrels. We used blunt points and wrapped feathers in a spiral instead of a streamline configuration. These flu-flu arrows can be fashioned for various ranges, and fall to the ground slowly, so they don't slide along and bury themselves under grass an leaves. And, he did bring in some birds and a squirrel. He was working his way along, catching up with those who had played with and hunted with bows since being kids.

He was working his way along other paths too. He and a young lady were having long conversations together from time to time. She was helping him to learn their language. And, some of the communication between them was of a more universal language. Hmm.

But, neither of us had spotted any aircraft overhead, nor any contrails. Nor were there any other campers paddling by. Another hmm.!
 

NWDad

Well-Known Member
Oct 4, 2015
51
1
It would be interesting to know how many folks who camp and paddle the water ways have ever thought about the folks who were there 1st.
I know I have many times and especially when I have the pleasure of walking or even camping on a mound they created.
I believe we need to say a quiet Thanks to Mark Twain for influencing Jack to enlighten us with his thoughts about this very matter.
I also stop and ponder those from the past as I pass through. Some of my family were here long before the Europeans arrived and I have often wondered if I am walking the same paths they did.
 

Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
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Inevitably, you must be walking some of the same paths. Your family, like Will Rogers' family, were here first. He commented that, "My family didn't come over on the Mayflower. We met it."

I'm pretty sure that where I've paddled, camped, and hunted, that many others preceded me. Here in Michigan, several glaciers preceeded all of us. Some of the surface soils in Michigan originated in Canada. Glaciers bulldozed, scraped up and carried, and then dumped soil and rock the length of Michigan. And clear down into Ohio and Indiana. Soon after they melted and retreated, hunters came along. Some of those hunters were two legged, others were four legged - or winged. That's the time era when our canoes were being designed.
 

oldsparkey

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Aug 25, 2003
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You mentioned the Flu-Flu arrows. I bet a lot of the younger generation has no idea what they are or used for.

I liked to use a 11-32 Pressed Port Orford Cedar Shaft since a 38 special brass would fit over the end. The 38 brass would not get stuck in a tree branch if the target was missed. Plus it came down to the ground a lot safer then a sharp point. The fetching was attached in a circular pattern around the shaft , not along the shaft.
 

oldsparkey

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Aug 25, 2003
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Central , Florida
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Right. But, we didn't have any .38 Special brass available in ancient Canada.

The feathers usually weren't trimmed, so they stuck out further away from the shaft. When flying through the air, the flopping feathers made a "floo floo floo" sound.
The ones I had the fetching was untrimmed with one end fastened to the shaft and then the rest of the fetching was wound in a spiral fashion down the shaft till the end of the fetching which was fastened. All of the fetching was glued to the shaft as the finished product. It went down about 4 inches of the shaft with a 3/8's inch between each spiral.
A arrow fashioned this way would make you think of one oversized bottle brush. :) Used a bright orangery/red fetching , really easy to locate.

Between the wound and the straight fetching the wound one did not travel as far.
 

Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
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PEOPLE IN THE MIST 1.3

As weeks became months, Eric and I got better at hunting and fishing to bring food into camp. We had to pay our way, so to speak. He had nailed a couple of white tail deer. Though moose are plentiful here, we weren't yet ready to tackle them. While I'd grown up hunting ring-necked pheasants in Michigan, they hadn't yet been imported from China to the time and place that we were in now.

Game birds in our here and now included quail (Bob Whites) and partridge, commonly call "pats". Many mornings we would hear the pats booming their wings. They started out slow, and over a 10-15 second episode, would accelerate the tempo up to a high-speed crescendo. When s covey of pats are flushed, the noise of them taking off into flight can be unnerving. They are noisy! Our job was to sneak up on them to get within bow range. The secret here isn't in the sauce, it's in the stalking. I have to brag about the first one I nailed. It tasted GOOD!

Time moved on, and so did we. By scouting deer yards where they liked to rest up during the day, and runways to and from them, Eric and I knew where to hunt. And asimportantly, where to sit to hunt. Using native cordage of roots and vines, we fashioned basket-like seats up in trees. We were good for a deer or so every week. And in the meantime, we set out a few trot lines further out in the lake away from turtle territory. Not having any plastic milk bottles handy, we used chunks of wood as floats.

White tailed deer are beautiful animals. They are wary and skittish to the nth degree. I'd heard of a trick that old plainsmen used to use to lure in pronghorn antelope. Out in the wide open, they would put a tall stick into the ground. Then they tied a brightly colored bandana to the tippy top. Concealing themselves a couple of hundred yards off, they aimed their rifles - with sights preset for the range - at the bandana, and wait.

Pronghorns have an over abiding sense of curiosity, and sooner or later, a few would ease up to see what it was. Then, the hunters shot. So, I tried this trick on shite tails. No luck whatsoever. Period. So, I tried another one that I had heard about from Mort Neff, on a 50s tv show called Michigan Outdoors. While some hunters brought special scent to mask their odor, others went in a different direction. They ate a large beefsteak, with garlic and onions. Then went to their deer stand. Im one spot, they poured out doe urine, which was supposed to attract buck deer. Nearby they all urinated, which was supposed to scare away all deer.

Then, they climbed up into their stand to watch. Several deer came along. Each one went first to the men's urine, and paid a lot of attention to it. While walking away, they gave a quick sniff to the doe urine in passing. Hmm. So we tried that trick. Sometimes it worked and we earned a few deer that way..

One day, I wanted a break. So I climbed back into my kayak and paddled off again on the day trip that Eric and I had been on when we first returned and met these people. I took along a lunch. The morning was calm and sunny. I paddled and drifted, just lazing along. In no hurry to go anywhere, I watched birds and butterflies. Monarchs were feeding on the few milkweeds available. A pair of loons were diving, flying underwater, and resurfacing 75-100 yards from where they went down. On coming back up, they would commence yodeling their eerie call. It helped them locate each other. After about 10-15 minutes, they had worked their way out several hundred yards away, and I turned to go explore in a different direction.

That is when I noticed a line of thunderheads moving in. Time to scat! I headed back along the same route that I'd come out on. It would take me past that original campsite with the granite ledge. Darned rain!
 

Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
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PEOPLE INTHE MIST 2.0

Darned rain!

The drizzly rain had hung on for an hour or so. But it was letting up now, and was just sprinkling off and on. A couple of miles later, the sun was breaking through. And it started to warm up. The heat brought out the humidity, and a fog. I couldn't see more than a few yards ahead, behind, or anywhere.

Concentrating to make sure that I wasn't getting off track, I all of a sudden realized that I was hearing something. It was an engine! A gasoline powered engine! Where was that coming from? Stopping to listen better, it was overhead. An airplane! Where in hell had HE came from??!! Squinting upward, I could see it, and recognized it. A Cessna.

Now I was confused. About 10 minutes later the familiar granite bench came into sight. And - there was my tent, and rainfly. Landing and climbing out, I walked around. Our gear was still here. I thought that it had been months since it had disappeared. But the camp looked as though we had left just a few hours ago. I hollered for Eric; walked around looking for him. No sign of him. Confused and discouraged, I walked over to the granite and sat down.

Those deep scratches from the glacier were still there. Rising up from under the water, and across the full 20 feet of exposed surface. All in straight lines. All parallel to each other. All of them marching across that ancient, volcanic rock in a regular, geometrical order. All of them.

All of them except a patch right in the middle. The regular pattern was broken there by other, deep marks. That hadn't been there before. What was it? Idly, I scooched along on my butt, over to it. Leaves were over part of it. I brushed them aside. Letters and numbers. Hmm. Moss was growing in some. A sharp stick dug that stuff out. But, it was upside down. Scooching around, lining up, it was in good view now. It read,

ERIC
2 Jul 68

Oh my god! It is a message from my Son, Eric. It positively identified him. He was born on July 2, 1968. I examined the writing. It looked like it had been chiseled in. It was as weathered as the parent rock. It had been there a long, long time. I realized that we both had indeed somehow gone back in time. But only one of us returned. He was still back there somewhere - in the mist.
 
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Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
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That is the end, Kev. In the story, he never made it back through time. In real Life, Eric and I are close. But, he wasn't on that trip. Other fellows were on the real trip to that camp site with me. It's in Killarney Provincial Park.

In this story, it was impossible to tell how far back we had traveled. It was probably before Europeans got there, at least what we would think of as Europeans. But after the glaciers were gone, about 10,000 years ago. Technology in Indian tribes had, maybe three, big jumps - fire, bow and arrow, and horse. And, horses were from the Spanish in the Southwest. They never reached the Great Lakes area; these were canoe cultures here.

Time travel has always fascinated me. If time is a long line, then represent a time line with, say, a string, or a rooe. Within that rooe are many, individual lines of time. What if we could travel sideways from one timeline to its neighbor? What if the rope were coiled? And each time we complete a circle, that represents a year. Traveling sjdeways, we could jump to a different year. Even a different year in a different timeline.

Have a sip of singlemalt, lean back, and consider.
 
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Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
AWAY FROM THE MIST, AND INTO TODAY

As things stack up on the "to do" list In the today of here and now, another biking soirée into nearby towns looms up. Combining lunch, library, groceries, and a frosty at Wendy's - I take off. Subway Sandwich Shops are a real favorite, so that's my first stop, not counting WALK lights at intersections.

Moving on, I return a book-on-disk to our local library, where they call you by your first name. I prefer to listen to books of my choice while driving. Radio here has one station that I can listen to - and bear - for an hour or two. Otherwise, radio abounds with nasal hillbilly masquerading as country western, church masquerading as sensibility, sports masquerading as anything with an IQ of 50 or above, or NPR masquerading as impartial and truthful. So, I pick out another book-on-disk, and pedal along to the local Kroger Store.

Again, my saddlebags pay their way. A gallon of milk and a small bag of apples accompany a couple or three other things. The apples will become shirt-pocket snacks for deer hunting next month. My cranky-cranky-peeler-corer-slicer is a big help. A sprinkling of cinnamon adds good flavors. Dividing up the leathery chunks into Ziploc sandwich bags, and adding a packet of string cheese and some almonds tops them off. And frosty milkshakes - what can I say! When I get to heaven, ice cream will be the second thing I look for. My old dog, Tippy, will be the first. I've missed her for over 60 years now.