- FEATURE: The Path to Ruins, Burgeoning author Andrew Munz hunts down Jess Walter
- WELL, THAT HAPPENED: Dear writers: Dream big
- GALLOPIN’ GRANDMA: Fur and loathing in the airport
- GET OUT: King keeps it simple and light
- CULTURE FRONT: New life in the lab
- MUSIC BOX: Go to Therapy with The New Mastersounds
- THIS WEEK: JANUARY 21-27
- PROPS & DISSES
- COSMIC CAFE: Q: Am I an old soul or a new soul?
- Hooters rumor a bust
REDNECK PERSPECTIVE: Parks, packrafts and pretty girls
JACKSON, WYO – Susie stopped by the trailer last week to invite me snowshoeing.
While the physical properties of snowshoeing, such as mass versus surface area, are intriguing, the actual activity generates little interest. There is no internal combustion – no fumes, no throttle, no roar.
“I have a root canal today,” I said.
“It’s probably for the best,” Susie said. “I’m going with the women from Healthy Being Juicery. We’ll be skinny dipping and you might be embarrassed.”
“I suppose the root canal can wait,” I said.
We met at Healthy Being Juicery, loaded up on collard wrapped veggies with chipotle veganaise and several gallons of carrot, cucumber and chard juice and headed north. The girls chatted about karma, chakras, yoga room gossip, and favorite vegan recipes while I sipped a natural tonic made from fermented rye mash.
We arrived at Flagg Ranch and strapped on snowshoes. I quickly discovered comparing snowshoeing to root canals had been unfair to root canals.
We came upon Franz Camenzind at the hot springs. He was holding a piece of glass in front of his eyes and watching a tree.
“What are you doing?” he demanded.
“We’re going for a soak in the hot springs,” one of the cuter juice girls answered.
“That sounds like recreating,” he said. “You’re worse than packrafters. Nature is not a place for fun, but to observe objectively, rationally and without passion or excitement,” Franz lectured. “This land is a museum. That is why I am looking through glass, to separate the human from the natural. Aren’t you conservationists!”
“We should go back,” one of the girls said. “Or at least wear swimming suits. That way we could still be conservationists.”
This was sounding discouraging. I waved Franz over. “The girls are going to be naked!” I explained. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
I could see him struggling, his rational and learned mind battling with ancestral wildness, with the part of the soul that longs to leave behind field guides and descriptions of genus and specie, Latin words offering more burden than light, and to touch the part of our spirit that followed ice ages across Europe and Asia, stalked mammoth and saber tooth with stone-tipped spear, followed the seasons, counted the moons.
“You know,” I said. “We could hide in the hot springs mist in hopes the large breasted jugo bird makes an appearance.”
“I’m a biologist and I haven’t heard of any such bird,” Franz said.
“They’re very rare,” I replied. “In fact, if we spot one it will be the first ever.”
The lure of scientific renown was too strong and Franz dropped his objections.
“Should we wear swimming suits so we won’t be recreating?” one of the Juice girls asked.
“The large-breasted jugo bird can sense anything unnatural,” I said. “We’ll have to take off all our clothes.”
“Anything for science,” she replied.
“The mist keeps fogging up my glass,” Franz complained as the girls disrobed.
I grabbed it from him and tossed it on the bank.
“Talk a walk on the wild side,” I told him.