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Farewell to the Oregon Kid…



23 June 2012


The next morning at sunrise MMM came to my window and he looked apprehensive.

“The Kid’s taken his tent down and all his stuff is packed! I think he’s leaving!” MMM said before loping off to see what he was up to.

The Oregon Kid had been on the land for about ten days now and his bus ticket wasn’t til the end of the month so this was unusual.
Not once had he mentioned he wanted to go home or was homesick.
The OK showed up looking a bit sheepish and said he wanted to go home.

His ‘reasons’ were:
Tiredness and he had blisters!
Those were the reasons he gave.
I’ve not felt tired since I’ve got to the mountain, indeed I usually feel invigorated with the mountain air up here!
I haven’t had a single blister on my feet either, and that’s with wearing rubbish Walmart ‘Chris’ Boots!

I pieced together that he’d gone to one of the liberal Cabineer’s the night previous and made clandestine arrangements to get a ride towards the greyhound terminal. He was certainly no prisoner and could of asked me or Mike for a ride at any time.

At about 0715 the liberal Cabineer who worked locally at a nearby town showed up in his big 4x4 truck.
It was time for a parting of the ways.
I shook hands with the Kid wishing him a safe journey and to be careful in the big city.
Then they were off and Mike and I took in the small void of the Kid’s unexpected departure.
And a void it was…

He’d left behind his new tent, his new sleeping bag, his new big pillow, his brand new boots, a spare sock with ‘O’ on it, three big boxes of cereal, about a dozen tin’s of food, the wooden spear he’d spent hours crafting, a partly-finished hobo stove I’d encouraged him to make, many toilet rolls, shampoo and shower gels.

All this he intentionally gifted to us, saying that the bus wouldn’t let him take the extra stuff.

Mike and I were glad of the extra supply’s but quite disappointed he’d not told us in advance of his intention to depart early.
I was planning on introducing him to firearms and the safe use of my shotgun (he’d never fired a gun before) in the following days, plus some other things too.

MMM was dismissive of the Kid in some ways, as was I.
If a man has blisters on his feet the last thing you do is go hiking every day. I was a bit annoyed he’d not mentioned the injury to his feet.
Blisters are not a major issue IF you administer first aid and keep your feet looked after. Indeed I not only could of treated the OK’s injury to his feet, but could of given him some spare footpowder to keep his feet dried out.
Indeed I’d even mentioned to keep his feet dry and change socks regularly to avoid blisters.
Yet, perhaps the blisters reason was just an excuse afterall and he didn’t want a confrontation?

I was impressed he’d made the effort to come all the way from Oregon at such a young age (18 yrs) and solo but not by his slack preparation (no knife, no firelighting kit, no first aid kit).
The OK had perhap’s misunderstood about MMM’s land.
It is not a bushcraft training ground for absolute beginners who have never camped before. You need the basic fieldcraft and experience first or it’s a struggle.

Perhap's it was also his lack of drive and eagerness for the wilderness that let him down? I guess when I was 18 I'd of struggled with the wilderness too, but dammit I'd want to overcome it!

As the pickup rumbled away up the road I hoped that should the OK ever stray into the wilderness again he’d at least be a bit wiser to the ways of the outdoors. Hopefully he’ll get his experience up in areas that have a more gradual learning curve.

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Tyler Danann
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