Jailhouse to Toilet Bowl Beach, March 27th, 2008.

The little startup company that I work for was bought by a big company and I had to be in the South Bay all week as part of the training for our new owners. I was unable to get away in time to go to a BASK meeting on Wednesday so I worked hard at getting away Thursday evening to go on one of John Boeschenís Thurseve Paddles. John had scheduled a launch from Jailhouse Beach so I figured they would be going to Red Rock which is a good place to camp. I drove back and forth between home and the south bay the night before to pick up camping gear and a kayak. Then I commuted from and to work in my kayak to sleep on an island in the middle of the bay.

A large crowd of Thurseve Paddlers showed up to go on this trip. John said that it wasnít settled where we would end up and I had to canvas everyone and get them to agree to go where I wanted. But since no one else had a strong opinion I got my way and we paddled across the bay to Red Rock.

On several previous Thurseve Paddles I had threatened to cook brussel sprouts, a dish that John says he hates. But every time something happened to prevent me. The first time I left the Ďsprouts at home and had to pick up something else. The second time I left them in the car when I packed my kayak. Finally Johnís luck ran out on this trip and I brought all the ingredients. There was lots of joking about eating the ďleafy green things from hellĒ but John was a good sport and tasted one of them. You can see his write-up and photos about this.

We had the usual good food and drink around a campfire on the beach. When everyone else was ready to leave I set up my tent and prepared to camp for the evening. The campfire had been built against the side of a large driftwood log and had almost set the log on fire. I pulled the fire away from this log and scraped off glowing coals to help it go out. I fell asleep lying on my side in the gravel staring into the flames and woke up to move to my tent when the fire was about out.

In the middle of the night I woke up to pee and noticed that the big driftwood log had burned in half! A breeze had blown all night and fanned the coals in this large piece of wood. I dragged half of it down and dunked it in the bay, but didnít want to get my feet wet so I didnít do a very good job. It occurred to me that having a fire already going in the morning would be nice, so I dragged the wet half back and left the other half burning. I felt it was unlikely to set the beach gravel on fire.

I slept so well that I didnít hear my obnoxious alarm go off and overslept an hour or so. This meant that I didnít have time for a fire in the morning, even though BOTH ENDS of the log was still burning. The one that I had dunked in the bay had recovered! A huge section of what had once been a large piece of driftwood was gone. This time I soaked both ends in the bay to make sure they went out.

I rushed through breaking camp and had to skip breaking fast because I had overslept. I paddled hard across the bay to where my car was parked. The late start meant the morning traffic had just about cleared so I was only a half an hour late for work.

All text and images Copyright © 2008 by Mike Higgins / contact