Climate change was having its impact on the global environment but more troubling was the effect on Half Ass Expeditions. Vincentoli had been crunching the numbers at the West Coast HAE facility and concluded New England’s new January Thaw now lasts the entire month. The revelation sent Vincentoli Blanteev over the edge. The flight East was never booked and Vincentoli was rumored to have installed a large refrigerator unit at the headquarters where he sits wearing nothing but his Bigelow Boots and a martini.
Brrruce McAnus and Timur Novasch were not ready to take the news wearing cotton. Plans were made, equipment was purchased and the liquor store had an economic windfall. The interwebs were trending with the news that HAE was still on for the 2016 Winter Expedition and was seeking new recruits. Doug Shackleton and Dave Hillary signed on for the expedition. Doug had hinted “there was another”.
Novasch and McAnus studied the maps at the hiker hostel in New Hampshire. Timur thumped the map Vincentoli-style. It was to be the Gordon Pond Trail again. HAE has been there so many times, the town has received Federal Funding to reclaim the area. The plan was to reach the pond, set up camp and wait for the rest of the team to arrive the next night.
It was sleds on meager snow as Brrruce and Timur trudged toward the pond. The hike up was uneventful. There was some concern back at the Hostel that some of the river crossings would be treacherous. In fact, Timur was on the trail earlier in the month and was unable to ford the very first stream. On this trip, however, there was adequate ice coverage to cross without incident.
When the team arrived at the pond called Gordon, they immediately hacked up a campsite. The Blue Bigtop was setup facing the pond and a fireplace was dug out of the snow.
Camp HAE was now taking reservations.
The next day was a celebration of Gordon Pond memories, a leisurely white trash vacation as the hot toddys flowed and the stories told.
Timur and Brrruce trimmed the forest around camp gathering wood and getting ready for the rest of the team to arrive. Before weather set in, Timur took a flight around the pond with his drone getting some cool aerial footage. ( You can watch the flight by clicking: HERE. ) The snow started to fall in the early afternoon.
Brrruce and Timur gathered a fair sized pile of wood from the area yet made a lackluster attempt to kindle a fire. By this time the snow was coming down pretty good so they dove into the big blue pyramid for the night. After what seemed a quick nap, the duo is awakened by the sounds of white trash thrashing about camp. The rest of the team hiked through the night and stumbled into camp in the wee hours.
He brought a dog with him.
McAnus shot a look towards Timur and he could see Novasch was visibly affected. Brrruce stepped in to diffuse any possible reaction Timur might have.
Last century, Timur Novasch survived a subzero expedition that went bad. Mistakes were made, the Cuisinart wouldn’t start, they lost Jones in a crevasse and the surviving team had to eat the dogs. After the rescue, Timur struggled with a new found craving for dog meat. After many years of counseling, and cutting edge therapy, Timur was able to overcome his taste for dogs. The sight of Pizarro’s canine companion, Baron, opened old wounds and Brrruce worried Timur might crack seeing a tasty dog that close to a campfire.
“Find your center, Timur”, Brruce said nervously, “you don’t need to eat dogs anymore.”
After some breathing exercises and reassurance from McAnus, Timur seemed OK, even cracking a joke about dogs being great survival food. Nervous laughter all around. Drinks were drunk, stories retold and tents were erected. By 4:30 AM, the team had run out of steam and one by one retreated to their nylon cocoons.
The entire team assembled around the fire pit shortly after waking bright and early the next afternoon. Not much left to do but become white trash. The fire was reassembled with expeditions deep into the wilderness to find burnable wood. After the previous day’s meager campfire, McAnus drew upon his engineering skills to build a better blaze as the peanut gallery offered free advice and frequent criticism.
During Happy Hour, the sun topped off Wolf Mountain and offered an awesome backdrop to the festivities. The entire teams’ cameras and phones were out clicking away with tourist-like enthusiasm. By the time the sun had set and the cameras fell silent, the evening’s fire was ablaze.
As the fire raged the team fed on a Bakesack cooked meal of venison and noodles. The guys were silent for the first time during the expedition as the gourmet trail chow was consumed. Once the feeding was complete, they concentrated on the drinking. It was White Trash Night and the new guys were gonna show McAnus and Novasch they were worthy. Indeed, Timur’s Admiral Nelson was gone shortly after he removed the cap to the bottle. Before long, the entire team was loudly falling about themselves in typical HAE manner. That was about the time the illuminated Frisbee came out.
The next morning the camp was struck, the yellow snow covered and the appropriate Environment Impact Statement forms completed. The devastation was complete. Team members mumbled “What did I do last night?” as they scanned the scene before them. The decision was made to flee before the satellite photos were viewed and the authorities arrived.
Later, at the local pub before the long drive home, the team quaffed beer and feasted on ground cow. While they poured over the menu, Timur leaned over and whispered toward McAnus.
“I wonder if they serve hot dogs?”