Chattooga – Part 11

28 12 2006

…continued from Friday, December 1.

The dirt path meandered by the last campsites and drew close to the river’s edge. Feet strode no more than a couple of absent-minded steps from a fall into the deep, cool water. The walk traversed mostly level ground and would have been a boring section without the quickening pace of the watercourse.

Empty stomachs brought up the discussion of lunch. The next open area with a fire pit would signal time for a meal. Forty-five minutes and more than a few voiced complaints about lack of viable stopping points later, packs were opened for the first time since setting out on the trip. Food and fire-starting gear were brought out and a small, efficient fire was started.

Canned food is generally a bad choice of hiking provisions; the extra weight adding unnecessary pounds to the packs. An exception to the rule found Chef Boyardee ravioli sizzling in tiny mess pans. An attempt to produce forks from the bags proved a moot trial. Silverware: a forgotten necessity. Out of the packs came the knives. A nearly weightless skeleton knife and the legendary BFK would have to function as forks. One is extremely careful when endeavoring to eat with a razor-sharp utensil.

Mess kits met river water and knife blades were wiped clean of victuals. The intricate packing of mess kits can be an art in itself. Memorization of the order is essential. The diminutive cup rests inside the miniature pot. The pair then lies in between the plate and the pan, the handle of which acts as a latch to hold it all together. The process is comparable to opening and closing a Russian nesting doll.

Check back soon for the next installment…

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