Thursday, October 30, 2008

canoe sail camping


I have absolutely no luck with solo camping. After several weeks of being very stressed out from work, my wife actually suggested that I take some time and go camping. Wow, I must have been grouchy, huh?

So I finally had my chance to head for my favorite beach in Kasumi on the Sea of Japan. The weather forecast said mostly cloudy, fairly warm, chance of rain. I put the canoe on the car, loaded some firewood and supplies and was very psyched to fulfill my dream of camping on the beach! Upon arriving at Mitahama beach I was very surprised to see the beach nice and clean, very little litter. It was blustery and water temp was about 16, air about 22, very nice. So I sailed for a while, it was quite hairy to keep upright. Tense sailing as I like to call it, as in you can't do anything but focus on keeping the craft upright as the wind throws you around. After about an hour of "tense sailing" I took a break, set up my tent and blocked the wind with my Hijet.

Then it started to rain, but I was optimistic. The rain stopped and again I took to the water, this time it was more intense. I decided to call it a day and head back to camp for dinner. While happily collecting some driftwood, there was a sudden boom! Then rain began to pour down. I ran for the campsite and quickly secured everything, and piled into the Hijet. This won't last too long I thought. How wrong I was! The wind increased dramatically as the rain beat against the car. I had to jump out now and again to secure the now flattend tent. Even with the car blocking the wind the tent was pancaked to the ground, with my gear and guitar inside.

Back in the Hijet, I sat in my folding chair, having a beer and considering my options. Then a loud bang and the little van shook, what the? The wind had picked up my 25kg canoe with about 20kg of gear in it, and blew it 1meter into my car, this is not good, I thought. I repositioned the boat and waited listening to music, hoping for the best. Again and again the canoe was flipped over and bashed into the car. It's going to be a long night. As darkness fell and I sat in my Coleman chair warm and dry, but bored and cramped, I thought how I should be strumming my guitar to a crackling fire right now. Not worring about my gear being damaged and blown away.

Listening to weather forcasts gave no good news, more of the same tomorrow. Finally, after sunset, I could take no more and donned my headlamp for the arduous task of re-loading all my now wet and sandy gear into the car. What a bummer. Trying to get a 15 foot canoe onto a car in the middle of a gale requires excellent timing and a lot of luck. I was lucky at least in that part that as I finally got the craft onto the vehicle that a big gust didn't come along at that precise moment and bash me with the canoe. After about an hour of this nonsense, I was thoroghly soaked and exhausted.

Now looking at a 2 1/2 hour drive home I considered stopping at an inn and staying the night as I had intended. But I could imagine how the person at the inn would look at me, now completely soaked, wearing outdoor gear, asking for a room, meal and bath. Also who knows what this might cost me, it sure wouldn't be cheap in this quaint seaside village. So began the long drive home. The next day was lots of fun rinsing, hanging and drying my sopping gear. Someone wants me to stay home with my family!

Monday, October 6, 2008

firewood gleaning


It's 1.5m high, 2m deep and 15m long. Conservatively estimated at 5 cords. Mostly sugi with some hinoki and keiyaki.

14 full loads in the Hijet. It's rated at 350kg payload, but was hauling more like 450 I think, judging by the pancaked rear tires.

Even though it's already October, some of it will be dry in a few weeks. The large round pieces (my favorites)are the the end of the log just above the box cut that the logger makes to fell the tree. They're only 10-20cm thick so it splits oh so easily, like cutting cake.

So far it cost me 6 cans of coffee, 2 packs of smokes, and 1 bottle of sake for the workers. Plus 20 liters of gasoline for the Hijet and 10 hours of my labor. Didn't lift a chainsaw til today.