So, there I was,, (2)
Been on the road a few weeks now, though I am not actually on a road, just following along one trying to stay outta sight. The military has been a big presence of late, and I suspect drones as well but can’t say. Can’t see how they are operating with the currency being shot to hell. Then again, when you own the printing press, money is just a book keeping entry.
So there I was, still a couple hundred miles to go to get home. Been living on what I can bring down with arrow and what little I can gather. February is a crappy time for the hunter gatherer when you weren’t able to prepare for it. It’s not like I wasn’t prepared, I just wasn’t prepared for becoming a refugee: well not a refugee for weeks on end. My BOB had food for a 3000 calorie day for 7 days. Mostly rice, sugary goods and basic proteins. I managed to stretch that out almost three weeks by hunting, but cold weather burns far more than what I was fueling on. Yup, plain ol’ boring rice sounds like a danged feast right now.
At least I am losing my love handles.
Well, another 300 plus miles and I will be home. Just have to get around the troops, crazed bat-shit insane locals that are pissed off about the situation, druggies going through withdrawal, keep myself hid AND fed, and get across this damned lake in front of me. Going around is no option (guessing adding another 1000 miles to already tired feet and half starved body) and the troops own the only bridge. Swimming is out; that water is damned cold in February and I won’t steal a boat. Hmmmm?
Willow reeds, dead nettles for cordage, and a mylar blizzard bivvy bag make up my materials. Ima gonna build a kayak. Only has to last long enough to get across a quarter mile of open water and keep me out of that water. A paddle is going to need fashioned and that will be done by cutting a sapling and bending the ends upon themselves, them using some material and covering the ends. Not efficient, just expedient.
Jus like the rest of this trip.
Good thing the dog is home with dad, this wouldn’t work at all with the lummox.
So, make the general shape with 4 or 5 willow withes about the size of your thumb, don’t exceed the length of your bag. Now tie them together at the ends really tightly. Cover the loose ends with scraps of clothes or towel to keep them from ripping the mylar.
Now take dozens of withes about the size of your little finger and about as tall as you are and loop them on themselves. Take two of the heavier ones and put them about waist width apart in he center. Tie the main withes to them spreading the main unit apart and open. I try at this stage to make it more a broad ellipse than circular for stability; don’t want to go rolling this boat into nearly freezing water. At this stage, the shape is nearly complete, use the remaining withes to firm it up. Once everything is tied up and double checked, and anything that can poke is trimmed off, its time to put its skin on. Slip the frame into the bivvy bag, being careful not to poke any holes in the skin. Then tie the end close like you would a dry bag: tight knot, double up and tie off again. Make sure you have enough cordage for the next part. Find that center again and cut a hole in the mylar. I just use a simple “x” cut and fold the ends down inside, then use my cordage to tie things in place. Getting it in the water is the part where you must be cautious. Any hole and you WILL be swimming. Find a log that juts out in the water, this is your pier. Put BOB down inside, front or back as is your preference, then feet first to the rear, than knees in and you sit on your haunches. Keep you legs spread a tad to spread your weight around than grab that paddle and get moving. Your feet and calves are gonna get cold so the faster you paddle the sooner you can get to dry land, stretch your legs out and get warm again. Wind on the surface of the water is cold so make sure to dress warm on the top half as well. Don’t use your real sleeping bag for insulation between you and the water, you may need this to warm up on the other side and it is likely to get wet even inside the boat. Just suck it up and get moving.
(We are NEVER helpless, we just have to use the one advantage Mama Nature endowed us with; our BRAIN! )