Saturday, March 31, 2007

Surviving the night on handfuls of gorp and with the aid of my amazingly versatile new light saber (more of a light dagger actually), we broke camp and headed back down the mountain to where we had left the car the day before. The temperature had risen a bit during the night, so a thaw was on. While enjoying a cup of coffee a lone X-country skiing slid past our camp – she had been on the mountain alone the night before and had a difficult day ahead of her in the slushy snow; not sure how far she had to go, but she had a large pack. Made me think how heavy my pack would end up if I ever decided to go long-distance solo. Hmmm…and whether or not my failing knees could take it. About a mile down, the extent of the thaw quickly became apparent and spirits lifted as the sun came out to warm our descent.

Most of the snow on the road had already melted within abut a half mile of the car, so there was no real problem at all making it back down to the valley. However, we still had three free days and needed to figure out exactly where we wanted to spend them. Sobin relentlessly harped on the point that ‘we should’ve headed to North Carlonia’ as originally planned. Ah well, as the poet said, ‘the best laid plans…’ (Ours, however, we not exactly laid well, let alone in competition for the best laid.) Of course the world famous Smoke Caverns were just a few miles down the road, but I could garner no support for the side-trip, despite the added attraction of West Virginia’s largest souvenir shop AND FOOD!
Ah yes, food. Stopping at the Little Mountain General store (it may have been he 'FOR ALE' sign outside that worked on my subconsciousness and made me pull in) for a “cheese-burgar” [sic] and a cup of coffee, we sat at the food counter, chatted a bit with some locals trying to devise a new plan for continuing the trek, and speculated on how odd, or rather I should say unique, this Spring Break trip might appear to mot people (boring people). But the ‘burgars’ proved tasty, the locals somewhat taciturn, but friendly and helpful, and the Potomac Valley, though not yet touched with the breath of spring, still looked quite lovely in the mid-day sun; the snows of Dolly Sods behind us, we headed 30 miles north to Wardensville to make our way up to the Tuscarora Trail. [To be continued – please feel free to add your thoughts here Sobes.]

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Rebels of the Sacred Heart

Now I'm aimin' for heaven
But probably wind up down in hell
Where upon this alter I will hang my guilt ridden head
But it`s time I'll take before I begin
Three sheets to the wind, three sheets to the wind
Rebels are we, though heavy our hearts shall always be
Ah, no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We're the rebels of the sacred heart
I said no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We're the rebels of the sacred heart
Terrified of the open road
Yeah, where it leads ya never know
But rest assured he'll be on you back
Yeah, the holy ghost through his tounges in black
As the band dog howls and the young girl cries
The blessed virgin in her proud dad's eye
The albatross hangin' round your neck
Is the cross you bare for your sins he bleeds
Rebels are we, though heavy our hearts shall always be
Ah, no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We're the rebels of the sacred heart

Genuflect all you refugees who fled the land
Now on guilt you kneel
And say a prayer for those left behind
From beyond the pale to the northern sky
So you saved your shillings and your last six pence
Cause in God's name they built a barbed wire fence
Be glad you sailed for a better day
But don't forget there'll be hell to pay
Rebels are we, though heavy our hearts shall always be
Ah, no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We're the rebels of the sacred heart
I said no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We're the rebels of the sacred heart
Reserrection no protection all things life must be
Ah no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We're the rebels of the sacred heart
Now bless me father for I have sinned
But it's the same old story again and again and again
Ah well, such is the bread of an everyday life
From mornin' to noon to this shadowless night
Rebels are we, though heavy our hearts shall always be
Ah, no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We're the rebels of the sacred heartI
said no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We're the rebels of the sacred heart.

Thanks to C, the Poet, and of course Flogging Molly for a beautiful Saturday spent in a land far far away. And to all of those unfortuntes we slammed into, my apologies; Paddy and Wop together in motion add up to a good deal of momentum.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Most Curious WV Adventure

Spring Break! For some this dredges up images of drunken idiots shedding clothing and inhibitions in direct relation to the number of beers consumed in some vain attempt to prove something, earn a hallowed place in someone else's lexicon of buffoonery, or pretend that they had an 'awesome' time of it all. Those who know me - and at this point, considering the restrictions on PW at the moment, that's anyone reading this - that particular ritual was neither written into Paddy's liturgical calendar nor intrigued me as a pastime. Spring Break 2007 took Paddy and two traveling mates about as far from the hyped beaches of college misery as possible. We had five days set aside for a backpacking adventure, and eschewing the long drive from DC to the Smokey Mountains we headed westward into the mountains, destination Petersburg WV and the Dolly Sodds Wilderness. Keen on tackling a good first day trail, we reluctantly passed up the opportunity to visit Smoke Caverns and ‘West Virginia’s largest souvenir shop and food’ (Paddy was intrigued by the claim to WV’s largest food, but owe drove!). We did, however, stop at an Army surplus shop in Pertersburg with a might fine collection of camies, where we should have paid more attention to the woolen gloves. Shortly after departing Petersburg, home of the Golden Trout and WV’s largest military museum, we left the Potomac Valley and began our ascent. Having made it about halfway up the mountain, we suddenly became aware of the fact that Spring had not yet made it to this part of West Virginia, as the dirt road turned to mud, then slush, and finally to snow-covered track. Onward and upward we climbed in our new-model, mid-range Japanese sedan, sliding round one precipitous corner and up till we simply could get no further; we actually ground to a halt in about 6 inches of wet snow and were lucky to get the thing turned around, still about 3 miles from the parking place, our proposed jump off onto the trail into Dolly Sodds. Not to be thwarted, however, we all agreed to leave the car on the side of the road, don our packs, and hike the rest of the way to the car park. Before setting out we chatted with a couple of local boys and their dog coming down the mountain; they had tried the ascent in their 4x4 but had been forced to turn around as well. A cold, steady sleet began as we began the trek to the top. Now dear reader, you might expect that a three mile hike up a road would prove relatively easy and straightforward. Let’s just say that there were times when one or another of us actually vocalized the phrase, ‘are we crazy.’ A rhetorical question of course, but it perhaps needed saying, if only to reassure ourselves that we weren’t.

We started out at 4:35pm. By 5:30pm we had made it as far as some crazy hunter’s shed, still something like a mile and a half from our destination, at which point we decided we would spend the night camped near the car park and set off down the trail in the morning for a full day’s hiking and three stream crossings. Shortly after the hunter’s shack, all vehicle tracks came to an end on the road and we found ourselves slogging it up the remainder of the mountain in about six to twenty inches of snow. 6:10: we reached the summit but still had a remaining 1.2 miles across the ridge before the jump-off point down the trail. A brief conference ensued as to the feasibility of reaching the trail-head before darkness descended, cut short by a return of the sleet; we headed west into the woods. By 7pm our light was failing, the sleet, made more bone chilling by an cruel wind that whipped across the ridge, was taking it’s toll (I failed to mention that one of us made the ascent without gloves or woolen cap), and we experienced while hastily trying to get the tent up that brief moment when you wonder if this is the point when it all starts to go really, dangerously wrong. I’m not playing at the melodramatic here; there was indeed an instant when the thought passed over me that we should have set up earlier, a mile down the path. Anyway…we managed to get the tent up and passed the night without incident, though our planned dinner of beef stew had to be replaced with handfuls of gorp and cheese consumed within the tent. Oh, Matt did manage to boil enough water to produce a couple mugs of raman. Reassessing our situation in the morning, we decided, with the trail being completely snow-covered and the prospect of even more intense winter-camping ahead of us, to sod Dolly Sodds, and head for greener pastures (and greener mountains if possible).

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Irish Fest

It is off to RFK today for some Irish culture. I am very excited to be seeing the "famous" Flogging Molly. Sounds a bit kinky:). I will let you know how I liked it when I get back tonite.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Me First Post

Well Gents I'd say something along the lines of its nice to be brought into this lovely blog, but I've been around awhile now, so enough with the formailities.

Thought I'd give the ol' Paddywop a bit of my specialty, and that's music. I've been telling Paddy that I wish politicians could only express themselves musically for more purposes than one, but primarily so that when they wanted to propose something idiotic no one would get caught up in high falootin language, but could see (or hear rather) straight to the point. My hero Woodie Guthrie was known for his down to earth music and the witty bites he'd take at the well to do senators back in Washington. I hope you enjoy this note written to Alan Lomax at the Library of Congress September 9th, 1940:

"The boys and girls down in Oklahoma make as much of a celebration out of election day as they can. Most of them are still full of pep and vinegar and body politics. Wait a second there's a guitar falling off of the wall and I got to run and catch it. A Catholic family just moved in down below us with three kids and they shake everything out of the other four floors of this old building. There is a lady thats pregnant visits on the first floor and she might of dropped a little something. Yes Texas is interested in politics too but not so much elections. Down there its mainly who can play the best hoedown music. Well its sort of that a way in Oklahoma too and even in California because after W. Lee. O'Daniels got to be governor on a break down fiddle the musicians has sobered up a little and are we getting big ideas. Now I said that they was all a sobering up and maybe I didnt exactly mean that. The other half of them is a drinking more than both sides use to and a practicing up to beat the devil. Yes sir musical elections is what we got down there. And Roosevelt or Willkie one would do dern good to make that stretch of country with a guitar fiddle or something -- but Roosevelt has been a fiddling around now all over the 48 states for some long time. Why I've seen judges and repersentatives and all kinds of congress men get elected down in there just on one good greasy string. And I personally know of one colored boy down close to Seminole that has put three district judges and 2 county sherrifs and 11 members of 4 school boards into office just with a 50-cent mouth harp and it aint what you say in your speech down yonder its just who hires that colored boy to blow them freight train blues and play that Lost Indian and The Fox and the Hounds on that french harp. I feel like I ought to mention in a round about way too that he has kept 17 preachers their jobs down through that particular country for the last five years. I guess its about the same all over. Some folks think Im just a joking but this is history. This is what you got to know before you can win a election, music and womens legs -- but with music and bathing beauties you can really sack up -- look what Hitler's done with naked women. Well you take both and you dont need an office. Senators under 12 years aint suppose to read this. We got a little of both back where I come from. Lets see what was I going to say before I spoke? Oh yes it was elections. The average elections are about as useful as a slop jar without a bottom in it. Pardon me a lady just fell out of the top story and I got to run and snatch her. Down in Baltimore Md., they wont let you buy no liquor on election day and so they sell more than ever on that day. They say they want you to vote sober. What difference does it make, you couldnt vote no wronger. Sometimes I think they ought to try it the other way. If the people was to ever win an election, they'd think they was dead and in heaven, I mean in heaven without a having to die. Who started that stuff about you got to get killed to be happy? Some states charge you $1.75 to vote they call it poll tax, that takes a weeks groceries and snuff and most folks figure that the democrats aint worth 1.75 and the republicans aint worth that much. What the world needs to do sometime or other is to vote right just once and win just one election and then it would be a whole lot different. What we need in this president is somebody that believes in his country."

To see the whole letter, which I highly recommend, see and look for the letter title "Vote for Bloat"