Dudes, college is expensive, and it takes a long time, and it sounds like a major bummer, honestly. A bunch of drunk 20 year olds, classes I don’t care to take, settling down for a couple of years, a mountain of student debt, all to facilitate a life of travel… Which I am already living, sans degree, sans debt, sans responsibility.
And guys, I love Oregon. It’s so pretty and bursting with good vibes, and I’ve got a good thing going right now, you know, I’ve been at Rahane for a month and I’m part of the family. But guys, the rains have started. And next week is suppose to be 30 degrees. That means snow.
And I am missing Thailand, missing the Andaman coast, missing adventure— because even though I’m on an adventure right now, I’m volunteering and in transit and it’s all very spontaneous, it’s starting to flatline and get routine and that’s a bummer. But mostly, winter is coming. And I could stay at Rahane, they’ve made it clear that they’d love for me to stay, but I’ve got itchy feet, and the impending cold means farms are going into hibernation.
So… Hawaii. Closest I can get to Thailand without a visa and a spare $1200. I’ve gotten some replies from farms in Pahoa and Maui. I’m stoked.
So yeah. Leaving in like two weeks. Get hype.
Blogging from the upstairs communal room at Rahane because I am too scared to walk through the forest to sleep in my tent.
Dude, so Aera, who I adore, needs to shut the hell up about Sasquatch.
Okay, a timeline:
Three weeks ago: When I found out I was sleeping in a tent in the middle of the woods on a sparsely populated mountain, I was not okay with it. Dude, Bigfoot. I’m so scared of him, probably stemming from my mother telling me he lived in the woods around our house to dissuade me from wandering, or maybe seeing Harry and the Hendersons too young and totally missing the point. I had a recurring nightmare involving Sasquatch showing up at my birthday party for YEARS. So I’m not stoked to be camping alone in Bigfoot Country. But I soldier through it, because I am a lot of things, but I’m not a bitch (except for tonight, I’m totally a bitch, but we will get to that).
Two weeks ago: The frustratingly logical, “I don’t believe in anything” Minnesotan comes to breakfast with tales of strange noises in the night. He says he heard a weird shrieking, and then his tent lit up, as if someone had shone a flashlight at it from outside. Nope, nope, nope. Fuck all of that. We theorize about the source; he says aliens, I say Bigfoot. We meet in the middle and agree it was intergalactic Sasquatch. I am perturbed but I also don’t want the Minnesotan to think I’m a pussy, so I refuse to think about it. I mention it to Aera, who immediately decides it was Bigfoot. At this point, I relay my huge phobia of Sasquatch and she gets shifty. I don’t push it because I truly don’t want to know.
A few days ago: Some weird fucking noises in the middle of the night, down the mountain from my tent. Sounds like coyotes, but deeper and slower. Ooookay, but I’m a fucking pro camper at this point and disregard the noises, sure it is just one of the many animals I cannot identify by call. Later, I wake up around 4 and hear something in the woods around the tent. It sounds like a human making it’s way through the brush. I know what deers sound like, because there are tons of them around. I know what rabbits sound like. I can hear a distinct footfall, in addition to whatever it is sounding BIG. I wait for the noises to stop and fall back asleep for a few hours.
Next morning: The exact text I sent all of my friends: “Dude so last night I was in my tent and I heard these weird noises, almost sounded like coyotes but deeper and slower, but I just thought it was some weird coyote and didn’t think anything of it. Then this morning Adan, the farmer guy, asked if I heard anything weird last night and I told him and he was like, “oh… Yeah.” And I asked what it was and he said, “might have been Sasquatch” and I laughed because i thought he was joking but he was like “no, really. We’ve heard some strange stuff in the woods before. Sounded like there were two of em last night””
DUDE NO. DONT TELL ME THAT. ok, so I am 100% not ok with that. At all. Aera asks if I heard it, and she immediately comes to the conclusion that it was Sasquatch. Later, we are on a hike and she stops to identify elk droppings. She says elk are three times as big as deer. “Oh, maybe that’s what I heard moving in the woods last night.” She looks skeptical but does not correct me.
TONIGHT: ok, so we are all hanging out upstairs watching a slideshow of pictures David took when he was in Bhutan. Somehow, the topic of Bigfoot comes up, and I know it’s gonna be a bad time because it’s 10pm and there’s no way I’m walking to my tent after this. So Aera drops the first bomb: she saw a Sasquatch in Nepal. She looks at me apologetically. She says she visited a monastery where they keep a yeti hand under glass. Wonea, a primitive skills teacher that lives at Rahane part time, says that she learned a Sasquatch call from a Native man she stayed with, one that is supposed to call them to gather. THEN SHE DOES THE CALL. WHY. so I turn to Aera and state that there is no way in hell I’m going to my tent tonight. She laughs, but I am not joking. Wonea recounts an experience at Rahane last year, where everyone heard bloodcurdling screams in the forest but couldn’t find the source. Various other theories surrounding Bigfoot arise: Sasquatch as an interdimensional being, as a shapeshifter, as the guardian of the forest, some guy Erin knows teaches a workshop on Bigfoot. Fuck everything about that. It turns out everyone in the Pacific Northwest has a Sasquatch story. My camping days are over. I am not about this life anymore, if this life involves Sasquatch. I’m moving all my shit out of my tent tomorrow morning. I feel like such a bitch but guys I just CANNOT fuck with Sasquatch, it’s like my one insurmountable fear.
An average day at Rahane, an off-the-grid organic ex-commune homestead deep in the Cascades.
6:00am: Wake up at first light, probably because there is a fucking deer mosh pit happening in the woods behind my tent.
6:10am: Slowly extract myself from my warm sleeping bag burrito, fumble through the combination of the travel lock I use to fasten the zippers of my tent door together (because I’m scared of Bigfoot busting into my tent Kool Aid Man style at 4am), pop a squat near my pee tree and try not to get urine on my feet. Go back to sleep because nothing exciting happens at 6am.
8:30am: Oh fuck. Get up, get dressed in the same grody tank top/yoga pant combo I’ve been wearing for two weeks, now with added scarf (won at a raffle during a GMO protest last week, which was humiliating, by the way) and army jacket/random found wool sweater because winter is well and truly coming 2000 feet above the Columbia River.
9am: Check in with Aera, my host. She’s still in her jammies. Oh, alright. Retreat upstairs and snack on random fruit. Try to check my email. Won’t load.
10am: Waking Up sounds drift through the open window from the deck. Sneak downstairs. Aera asks if I had any strange dreams since placing a plant she gave me yesterday underneath my pillow. No, just regular dreams. She seems disappointed in my astral progress.
11am: After standing on the deck and talking about fairies for an hour, we meander around the labyrinthine garden, snacking on raspberries, plums, apples, and sungold tomatoes. Silas the cat, who a past WWOOFer (a low tempo Minnesotan named Jesse, who I may or may not have loved for a moment) claims is “an animorph”, follows us, bellowing great deep YOWs until we stop and regard him. He stares serenely up at us, a garter snake limp at his feet.
12pm: I listen to podcasts while harvesting beans, corn, berries, plums, or any other the 400 edible yummies that grow in the garden. Sometimes NPR but mostly Roosterteeth, because my taste level is eroding the longer I am isolated from mainstream culture.
12:30pm: Adan, Aera’s significant other, joins me. He wears an ascot like Fred from Scooby Doo. He’s the ultimate acid casualty; he told me he’s done ayuhuasca three times. Takes him 20 minutes to get a six sentence anecdote out. He begins to tell me something about the chickens, but I lose focus during one of his considerable pauses and by the time he resurfaces, I have no idea what he’s talking about. He shrugs and walks away mid sentence. I look deep into the eyes of a rooster. He bocks once and turns his back on me. What does it mean?
1:30pm: Aera asks if I’m hungry. I’m not, but I say yes because it will take her 3 hours to make whatever it is she plans on making. She retires to the kitchen, where she will do whatever she does when she says she is making food.
3pm: Dave, who lives in the yurt across from the yurt I used to sleep in before I was banished to a tent in the forest, emerges from his melon patch. He has a good one. He wants me to try it. He cracks it open and Aera and Adan are both pulled into the melon’s gravity. Soon we are all dripping with juice and spitting the seeds, work forgotten.
3:30pm: Aera asks if I want to take a break. No, I’m good to keep working. She asks if I am very sure. I remind her that all I did today was fill a bucket with almonds. She hedges that it was quite a lot of almonds.
4:00pm: Lunch arrives. Aera, Adan, Dave, and I gather at the picnic table. Terry, the birdlike woman that lives in a cabin near the solar compost toilet and teaches “primitive tracking skills” in Portland, peeks her head out from her cabin. Aera waves her over, but she retreats turtle-like back into her cabin. She has taken great care to never look me in the eye during my fortnight at Rahane.
5:00pm: Aera turns to me and declares that it is now time to plant the garlic she has been telling me we are going to plant for 9 days straight now. She asks for the time, and then gasps and throws up her hands. Five o’clock! Well, maybe tomorrow.
6pm: Read from the small selection of books found on the communal shelf, either Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley (which is excellent, required reading for those with debilitating wanderlust), an introductory text to Gurdijieff, a book of world folk tales, a guide to herbalism, or Stephen King’s Insomnia, which I have been forced to abandon 500 pages in because I can’t read another fucking King book about aliens. WHY IS IT ALIENS ALL THE TIME WITH HIM. WHAT HAPPENED TO GOOD OLD FASHIONED GHOSTS.
7pm: Aera calls me into her house, where she has opened another bottle of wine and is monologuing about her 14 years at Zendik, a radical collective that I have since googled and discovered may or may not have been a sex cult. Her British accent slurs adorably and Adan turns his hand-me-down iPhone 4 on me, so that we may listen to a Ted Talk about GMOs.
8pm: Aera recounts the first time she met Adan, during a firewalk at the Fairy and Human Relations Congress, which is actually a real thing.
9pm: I say my goodnights and make the treacherous, nervewracking hike to my tent. I am careful to keep my flashlight trained on the path three feet in front of me, because if Bigfoot is out there, I sure as hell don’t want to see him. I make it to the tent and barrel in, zipping and locking as fast as possible, the camping equivalent of turning off the lights and doing a running jump into bed. I sleep for a solid 11 hours.
That’s it. That’s what WWOOFing at “the old hippie camp” is like. I love it. I love them. It’s ridiculous and perfect.
I got into Evergreen and just reading through all the shit I have to do to actually enroll in classes and finish the faffy liberal arts degree I started 6 years ago is giving me a headache.
I need a sugar daddy so I can be homeless forever.