Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Camping Wisdom: Beware the USFS 2

Mike-a-licious and I escaped way up to Northern Wisconsin for some camping last weekend, and as part of June's Special Promotion we are going to bring you some of the wisdom that we learned during our trip.  Today, we continue our demonstration of how the US Forest Service is a liar.

     Well Company, you undoubtedly remember how yesterday, we talked about a very grievous lie that was told to Mike-a-licious and I.  Now, not to harp on the good people at the United States Forest Service, who in reality do a pretty good job of managing America's woodlands and grasslands and providing us with bazillions of hours of entertainment in nature, but I have some more proof as to why they are a liar.
     First of all, there is the pump.  I don't have a picture of the pump because I was so disgusted with it.  All I have to commemorate this lame-ass hand pump is a big grease stain on the T-shirt proudly proclaiming my alma mater.  I did every trick I know and the grease stain is still there; it looks like I am wearing underwear for a shirt and there is a big skid mark right where my front number would go if I were wearing a baseball jersey.  See, Mike-a-licious was furiously working the handle on the pump in a futile attempt to draw water from deep below the ground and I, in an effort to assist, leaned against the freshly greased apparatus.  
      So yeah, the pump didn't have any water.  Well, there might have been some water somewhere down under there but it sure as hell wasn't making its way up to the surface.  We, like most people, had "Get water" listed as roughly number four on our list of things to do when we set up camp.  Even before "register."  Oh yeah, that's how important water is to the overall living experience.  So we saunter over the pump.  It's brightly painted green and located on top of a row of like five steps, as if it were on a dais.  We, of course, expected to have copious amounts of water gushing out with only a few pumps of the handle.  An hour, much swearing, and a trip to town later and we had it.  The point here is that there was a pump with all sorts of evidence of running water around it, plus several places in print of online that mentioned water available on site at this campground, yet there was not.  
     Now, I can hear you people out there getting all up in arms saying that the pump broke on accident and that there is no way they could have known and that any other time it would have been working fine.  And you know what?  You're probably right.  But that version of things does not support what I am trying to say here, Company, and half of winning an argument is how you spin stuff to make it seem like you are right.  All I know is that we were told there would be water and there was no water.  Liars.
     Now, since I am sure that is not enough evidence for you skeptics out there, but that's okay.  I have some more evidence.  The USFS managed to lay down another lie to Mike-a-licious and I, this time again in sign form.  And since you know how much I like pictures of signs, let me show you the offender.

     Yep, there's the offending sign.  It is located right near the trail head of the dangerously misleading "Treaty Tree" trail we talked about yesterday.  For those of you with eye problems or really small computer screens, the text on the sign reads "Brule River Canoe Route: From this point on the Ottawa National Forest you can canoe 4 1/2 miles to the Brule River Camping Site on the Nicolet National Forest. It is 160 miles to Lake Michigan."  I am not going to dispute most of these facts, I only need to dispute one.  You cannot canoe to the camping site from here.  About a mile and a half down the river, maybe two miles, there lie in the middle of the river, stretching from one shore to the other, the ruins of some sort of grist mill or something.  Large, hewn timbers held in place with railroad spikes would bar your process down the river. 
     Now, one could continue on their merry way down the river with a simple portage around the ruins.  There is actually a well-defined path and the bank is low and level.  But that's not the point.  They just conveniently leave out the fact that there is a portage involved.  Just like they left out the fact that the "Treaty Tree" was really a stump.  Here's the point: a little twenty-five foot portage might be no big deal to an accomplished canoeist like Jimmy James, but for two parents with a family of five involved, it's a much bigger deal.  Can you imagine how hard it is to get three little kids safely into a canoe with all their associated junk, and then suddenly finding out that you have to take them out and carry the stuff and put them all back in?  Now that's a big deal.  And the USFS did nothing to warn anyone of it.  Just another example of how the USFS can't be trusted.  I like 'em anyway, though, I have to admit.


Six said...

I'm assuming you had a bucket, since you were trying to collect water. So maybe you should have trekked down to the river, collected some water in said bucket, and tried to prime the pump. But I'm sure you probably did that, but just failed to mention it.

Big Dave said...

You know here's the deal: Somewhere during the pumping fiasco the thought of priming the pump crossed my mind but I cannot verify if I actually voiced that thought or not. But I sort of wish I had.