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Monday, August 04, 2008
See that crawdad struttin' 'round?
Somewhere off the windy curves of US-20 near the town of Toledo there lies an old logging road that will take you to the crest of a hill overlooking a valley. If you head down into the valley along a series of mud-clogged trails and bridges overrun with stinging nettle you'll find yourself at Drift Creek. Why would you ever want to head down there? Because there's crawdads in the creek. Huge ones the size of a baby's arm that grant wishes if you managed to catch one.
Ok, so they're not as big as a baby's arm and I doubt any of them will grant you anything beyond a welt. Regardless, there sure were a lot of them in the creek when I was down there over the weekend.
Now hiking down to the creek isn't easy if you're anything like me, i.e., out-of-shape, clumsy and not used to walking down 60-degree declines with a 40-pound bag strapped to your back. Twenty minutes in to the two hour descent I tripped over a root and fell backwards into a bed of ferns and nearly impaled myself on a sharp branch, which sucked. Sometime later I had my first encounter with stinging nettle, which causes your skin to break out in white, itchy spots that take anywhere from two to twelve hours to go away. Long story short: I was the last member in our crew that deserved to wear a Crocodile Dundee-style fedora but I did anyway.
But at least I didn't purposefully rub stinging nettle on my arm like my sister's boyfriend, who was eager to find out if it was really as bad as the rest of us had described. His verdict: "this sucks." I washed my arm off in the creek. He decided to clean off his own rash by licking it. What probably should have led to further hilarity at his expense worked instead. The lick trick worked faster than creek water but I wasn't about to give it a shot.
Drift Creek was chock full of crawdads on Saturday. In one spot we counted two dozen of them lounging around and, yeah, some of them were very large by crawdad standards. "BD," who took these photos (I left my own camera sitting on my coffee table), managed to catch one and go three rounds with it. This photo was taken five seconds before the crawdad grabbed that stick and used it as a spear.
Ok, that didn't actually happen. Instead, BD took a few photos before gently tossing the crawdad back in the water. The crawdads didn't raid our camp in the middle of the night so I can only assume they much prefer posing for photos over getting tossed in crock pots. Our dinner consisted instead of pasta, a max-size Lunchable and a lovely '08 32-ounce bottle of Miller Hi-Life. Or, to be more specific, I drank the Hi-Life. Everyone else stuck with Pabst.
The hike out of the valley the next day was about as much fun as hiking four miles uphill with a heavy backpack.....yeah, you get the picture.