I have to pull a couple zero days here at Frog Pond Camp cuz the rain just won't stop.
DAY FOURTEEN TRIP 141
Okay boys, I'm up at 3:30 in the morning and listen to an all-night rain with moderate intensity continue to pelt the tent without stopping and I know today could be spent sitting put for yet another zero as the nonstop rain keeps me pinned in a limbo hell zone. I want to pack and move but there's no point in this mess. Five zero days out of 18 is too many and rivals another winter trip when I stayed put for 11 days in a series of 3 snowstorms with 4 days on the Bob and 7 days in Cold Gap. Rain is worse than snow but it doesn't accumulate like snow and once done the trails are open unless it floods and the creeks are impassable as will be the case today and tomorrow. I must do a water run if I sit put today but I have my rain gear for such an endeavor.
This wonderful backpacking trip has devolved down to one huge rainstorm and one soaked tent on soaked ground. It's comical actually as it just won't stop and where it all comes from is unknown and is verging on craziness. The sky just keeps spewing and spewing with no relief since the Atlantic Ocean has stalled over the Big Frog. No backpacker should have to move in this kind of crap and this backpacker ain't. He'll sit put to the bitter end if need be and give Miss Nature full rain if need be until she drains her load. Sometime in the next 12 hours I will boot up and don the rain gear and hike to water and survey the pond area just to get some exercise. In the meantime I swab out the tent canopy and return to a fetal ball on the Exped and under the Puma. All gear is so far dry which is a miracle.
ALMOST FIRST LIGHT AT 120 HOURS
Okay boys, there's not much to say except I'm getting pushed into a corner of neverending rain while waiting for first light at 8 in the morning and then waiting for a lull to go on a 2.5 liter water run and do an area recon of flood conditions. This would be the time to camp next to Jacks River Falls but crossing the Beech Bottoms Creek could be impossible. Forget about the Jacks. It's probably the highest it's ever been or close to it after 5 days straight of rain.
There's a lull in the madness so I go out and get water, birth a mean turtlehead into a dug pit, go to the now flooded pond for some pics and then return to boil up tea and look thru my fotogs. It rained the whole time I was out and of course it increases after getting into the tent to brew hot tea.
Another lull gets me out with the bic lighter to burn all the trash I've accumulated in the last 6 days which amounts mostly to paper reading material and granola wrappers. The paper is heavy and burning a 3 inch candle also helps to lighten the load (as fire starter).
126 HOURS AT 2 P.M.
I'm up at 2 in the afternoon after a decent nap and gotta say these zero days are letting me catch up on my sleep after 11 years since leaving the tipi and moving to TN as I'm not the type of person to veg out with daytime naps at home. But inside a tent during a rainy day? I curl up like a big dog and sleep the day away. The sky brightens and I considered packing but then the sky opens with more rain and so I sit put.
ZERO DAY CALL OUT
I only have 2 power bars left on my phone but what the heck so I call Little Mitten and she tells me Hootyhoo sent her an email about not coming out until he gets his car fixed after some motarded anus-eating fecal drinking D-hole broke out a window in his van on his last trip to the Citico. I believe it happened somewhere near the Long Branch trailhead though I may be wrong. I'll check his message when I get back.
DAMAGE AND SHUTTLES
His dilemma is finding someone to drop him off so he won't have to leave his car, like knowing someone in Tellico who could let him park at their place and then driving him up into the woods. My situation with Mitten is good but wouldn't be so good if I went on short 4 to 5 day trips. I believe the Thunder Rock campground lot is safe here in the Frog but who knows? Another option is to have a taxi company shuttle you from home (or park at the taxi lot) and drive you to the trailhead with pick up arranged beforehand, and have their telephone number handy if ya need to leave early.
128 HOURS AT 4 P.M.
This would cost some bucks and probably too much especially from Knoxville to Citico. It may be better to find someone like on the AT who will shuttle you back and forth. Of you could just have an old beat up piece of crap truck which can take abuse. I hope to god Hootyhoo told the ranger station so they'll catch the bastards.
A new batch of rain hits the tent so I'm going nowhere until tomorrow sob so get used to a stalled trip report of stultifying proportions. It boggles the mind. Thankfully I've been able to get calls out on trails never thought able and thankfully I brought enough batts for my radio which gets used often during tent arrest. Okay at 2:43 a new downpour of increased intensity hits the lodge so I sit looking out the partially opened door while snacking on sunflower blue corn chips. The vesti fly door can be half opened so I get a view but the rain doesn't come into the inner tent. No leaks from the fly after my earlier fix except for a small bit of inner condensation which I swab out every 6 hours or so.
Are the bears a problem in the Big Frog? In this crap the bears are worried about me. They are genuinely concerned I may get washed away or worse, lose my interest in being out, so have come by earlier to claw out a trench around the tent to help in drainage. One sits with his back to my tent door blocking the wind. Another walks around the tent licking off as much water as he can as it falls. Another is digging out a small pit in the ground in case I have an emergency turtlehead. A 4th is on his hind legs slapping at the sky to kill the rain. These are my friends.
A kid bear is doing backstrokes in the pond. Another kid bear is doing backflips in the lower campsite. They know what a long uninterrupted rain can do to a mammal and are here to help. I sent one over to Hootyhoo's parked car to eat anyone approaching.
The toughest trail in the Big Frog is, I imagine, the Wolf Ridge trail with a climb of 2,564 feet in 4.5 miles. The second is Licklog with 2,464 feet in 5.9 miles. The 3rd is the Big Frog trail with 2,104 in 5.6 miles.
HARD AFTERNOON DELUGE AND 130 HOURS AT 6 P.M.
"Let me show you how country feels . . ." Randy Houser sings this song with all the key words necessary to appeal to southerners who resonate with the key words. If an artist uses the key words then he might have a hit and it's oh-so-important to use the key words to elicit a "hell yes" from his listeners. Of course the word "country" must be the foremost top dog word in the song.
It's McDougall's organic tomato soup with butternut squash and a little bit of spaghetti with goat cheese and butter.
Yesterday the wee'tards called for a half day of rain today and only a 60% chance. Now they say rain all day tomorrow and into the night. Pshaw. I'm moving anyway but I just don't know where but it'll be short wherever I go. Maybe down Rough Creek to a West Fork Camp by the trail jct.
BACK TO THE GUN DEBATE
OWNING A GUN
Owning a gun, it turns out, is a serious responsibility but so far it's been treated like owning a six pack of Mt Dew. Obviously after Sandy Hook most people are fed up with the easy accessibility of getting a gun (gun show loopholes) and really want a regulated militia, in fact want a well-regulated militia. Owning a gun therefore should be better regulated. If these mass shootings weren't so prevalent and tragic, gun ownership would not be so challenged. Like flying an airplane, maybe all gun owners should get a "pilot's" license before they qualify since like a pilot they will hold other lives in their hands.
The wild wild west days of everyone going around armed might just be at an end as America matures and as the population increases to the point where having everyone armed is crazy since we're living in higher and higher population densities. So New York State steps up and does the right thing. Can you imagine all 19 million people in NYC walking around with guns on their hips or AR-15's in their hands? This apparently is the goal of the NRA. Just the accidental discharges alone would ruin this wetdream vision of the future, not to mention the quick flash of anger in one person and the muzzle flash in the other.
IT'S PEOPLE NOT GUNS
This is a specious argument if you think about it. Imagine if Stinger missiles were cheap and available to everyone. Now imagine some guy, depressed maybe, shooting a jet out of the sky. People will say, "It's not the missile, it's the guy. Missiles don't kill people, people kill people." No, a Stinger missile kills alot of people. Sure, a human fired it but it is the tool itself which did the damage so we can criticize and curtail its use. In addition, wouldn't a well regulated militia require people to have Stinger missiles to be properly armed? Why are they illegal to own? Why doesn't the NRA complain about missile control?
So, a gun is like a missile on a smaller scale. A machete is like a gun but on a smaller scale. A garrote is like a machete but on a smaller scale. As the population grows we need our weapons to be on a smaller scale because we live like rats in a cage and anyone can snap at any time. If he has a Stinger missile or a grenade---oops. If he has a handgun, oops again. If he has a machete we'll tackle his ass. Everyone armed? Then you end up with 330 million Americans packing heat on the street---watch the gun play skyrocket. Why? Because normal people have bad days and well jolly good they now all have guns. So much for a civilized society, we've just gone back to the mongol hordes of the 13th century.
Imagine going to a Super Bowl with 100,000 guns in the crowd. Oops, a kid pulls it out of his Dad's jacket and blows himself away. So yeah follow the mandate of everyone armed and see what happens. The gun people say, well, all gun owners need to be trained but hell you're talking about real training and not some weekend class. Real training is cop training or Army training. Who goes to the police academy? Who goes thru an 8 week boot camp on guns? No one, or very few. And so we've got a huge percentage of gun owners with nothing except the cash to buy a weapon. Is this well regulated? If you want to keep the Second Amendment you better earn it and then police yourselves.
These frequent gun killings and bad apples who do them (Chicago comes to mind) are ruining it for all gun owners and yet you gun owners haven't done a damn thing to try and prevent them. For this shirking of the responsibility and the right to own a gun you may just lose your 2nd Amendment rights. Why? Because you've made it your mission to get guns to everyone without the least amount of training or standards. Would the pilot's association let a newbie come in and take off without a lesson or a license? You guys need a Gun Association to kick out the unqualified and train your members. This association should replace the NRA now, it should've been done yesterday.
AFTER SANDY HOOK
If you want to be a gun owner in America now after Sandy Hook you better get training and licenses and you better police yourselves, otherwise Americans at large will take your guns away because they are fed up with the unregulated saturation of weapons. The days of easy gun access for everyone are over. People like Lanza have ruined it for you. Why didn't the NRA keep tabs on the weapons of his Mom and remove them when they found out about her son? Why isn't the NRA in South Chicago to confiscate the gang guns? Why isn't the NRA shutting down gun shows and no background checks? Why isn't the NRA adamantly behind smaller clips? Why doesn't the NRA require all gun owners to qualify and re-qualify with their guns? Why doesn't the NRA ask for a limit of how many guns an individual can own?
Their inaction is very suspicious and it hints to allegedly being in bed with gun manufacturers. If this is true then they will do nothing to prevent gun proliferation or even gun killings. If they truly are the National Rifle Association then they better step up and police themselves and raise their standards of gun ownership, otherwise the American people will do it for them and they won't like it. They owe it to their law abiding members to keep guns out of the hands of the unqualified and they best figure out the definitions of such and act on it.
Just as a surgeon is licensed and qualified to use a scalpel and morphine, so should a gun owner be licensed and qualified to use a gun. The NRA needs to step in, otherwise it's Tom, Dick and Harry in an orgasm of outgoing rounds. These Tom, Dick and Harry killings are ruining it for the NRA and they gotta step up and police themselves and make gun ownership a privilege and not a free for all with the guns they so love. If they don't do it then they have no real love of guns.