Journal Entry: 1/7/70,

Extracted and Expanded for Letter Home

On Bacon & Sandhill Cranes


Journal entry for Wed, 1/7/70, 9:15am

Just finished breakfast & am enjoying a leisurely second cup of tea. The day dawned overcast & cold, completely depressing. I knew that the warmth of the sun would be missing all day as I paddled on toward Blythe in dank gloom. I forced myself up into a sitting position; Mainly because I was getting stiff as I lay huddled in my bag.

I got the stove hissing under my tea water, then got out my breakfast foods. It was then that I got my first pleasant surprise of the day. The bacon I had just bought at Earp[, ] was the thickest, leanest bacon I have ever seen. I cut off my usual four half pieces one third of an inch thick only to find that I could only get three into the pan. While I enjoyed my tea and prepared my cereal with fruit, the bacon cooking wafted such delectable odors my way I was hard pressed to contain my eagerness_

When the bacon was finished there was more meat in the pan then I'm normally used to seeing. Little fat had to be poured onto the ground. And the taste, ah, what ambrosia. The thick pink juicy lean had all the sweet smokey taste of the finest of Virginia hams. The golden liquid sweetness of the fat made my taste buds cry out in delight.1

Little one-horse Earp certainly has the finest bacon I've ever eaten. Also such delectables as Mandarin Orange Yogurt & hard course ground pumpernickel, all of which are not easy to find. For example my last slab of bacon, an old dried up thing with one thin vein of lean as hard as jerky but with a less flavor, was bought in Boulder City. Earp's little general store is veritable gourmet's paradise in comparison.

As I wrote this the sun hit a thin spot in the cloud cover & almost came out, but now, once more has slid into obscurity. It seems that the day wont be all gloom for I detect other thin spots in the distance. Time to break camp & hit the watery trail.

during the morning rest break

I've already had to get out in the freezing water & pull the kayak off a sand bar. It's my own fault though. I did the same thing yesterday. I was exchanging some moo's with some cows, not watching where I was going when... Bang! I'm on a sand bar. Today I was just day dreaming. I almost did it again as I was writing this. Must be more careful!

during 1pm lunch break

I've got some good news & I've got some bad news. First the bad. This time pictures XI 10-20 were not taken due to a faulty film advance. All traced back to that sand storm of the 27th. I thought I had it fixed in Needles after losing film X, some of it exposed. Apparently not. Well, I blew & wiped out more sand & loaded another roll of BW. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Now the good news. I saw a beaver. He was swimming out from the bank, where he no doubt has his burrow, just as I was drifting by. I past within 8' of him. This confirms the conclusion I had reached last night regarding the load splashes I had heard. They were made by beaver. This one, when he finally saw me, made a similar splash as he dived, like a 50 pound flat rock hitting the water.

Just scared up a big Canadian Honker.

at Sunset in camp

Camp tonight is a cow pasture. Actually it's a pretty good camp. It is flat & soft (sand); It will receive first light in the morning, and there is little garbage.

Just as I landed three flocks of cranes flew overhead. The first was small (20-30) in a vee formation and just flew over.

The next was large, about 100. The birds milled around making their weird gravelly GROU-OU-OUK sounds. They were joined by another flock of about 50.

The combined flock milled around, flying in circles, all 150 seemingly discussing the points of who shall lead and in what direction. Amazingly enough, after about 20 minutes they finally made both decisions. They form up in a rough vee and flew off toward the east. A human committee of that size would still be trying to reach a consensus next Christmas.

The third flock was similar to the second except smaller & faster to reach a consensus.

A flock of geese just flew over. I couldn't see them as it's too dark.

  1. I had forgotten this particular bacon until now, but as I transcribe this, other camps and other bacons come to mind. I remember a great, large slab of bacon on the Yukon River. With grey skies above and campfire smoke drifting around me, I am on my knees on the damp sandy shores, the great roiling river a few feet from me. I'm slicing my morning and noon rashers from a 10-15lb slab of fine fat bacon.
        Or in the Trinity Alps during hunting season, there was much fresh venison liver in camp. I would go into Weaverville to the Digger Bar and buy some great home cured bacons from Oregon. I recall a honey smoked and a pepper bacon. California by this time, 1980's, had passed a law outlawing the sale of home cured bacon.
    pjw 9/12/00

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edited by Peter J Wait, 9/21/00