ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹɟ ʎlnɹʇ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ



Saturday, July 9, 2011

Return to Dinosaur Island

I don't know much about the early, the middle or the latter stages of the Jurassic geological period. Sorry, but stratigraphy is not exactly my laced cup of tea.

But over a gallon of moonshine and case or two of Reingold chasers, Uncle Jiggy once told me of the Muckassic period. See, he was once run over by a runaway John Deere up on the fire road and as a result couldn't pronounce his words none too good. And what he sweared to to his dying day was that this island in question was home to "a whole bunch of muckin' man-eating dinosaurs that damn near took muckin' Herbie Hooper's good arm clean off." Hence, the Muckassic period.

Since everyone else declined our invites after learning of our planned upon destination, the expedition was reduced to Kayak Dude, Zach and myself. While Zach was still claiming that he didn't believe we'd be eaten alive, both Kayak Dude and myself put ashore heavily armed.

We put in at the little-used riverfront park at Pittston. And I have to say, between the rampant vandalism and the obvious lack of necessary upkeep, it would be a serious stretch to call this locale an amenity for the residents. Typical federally subsidized project: If you build it, we can't afford to maintain it.

And as is almost always the case, the water quality at Pittston is the very worst that the entire Wyoming Valley has to offer.

The gooey waters off Pittston
Now, I ask you, if there are no T-Mucks and no Muckasaurus' running loose in the dense forbidding forests of Dinosaur Island, then why do the authorities forbid us to even park our boats on it's shores?

Enter at your own risk?
Me, I wasn't scared. I had the 16-shot auto-loading clip giving me a capacity of about 90 rounds without having to manually reload. Well, that's assuming that a Crosman air-soft gun capable of 300-feet-per-second could take down a 2-ton rampaging dinosaur. And if not, I'm certain I can outrun both Kayak Dude and Zach. So if I were to paddle back all alone, I'd make up this story about how the both of them abandoned me only to face the monsters alone. Freakin' wimps!

Or as Uncle Jiggy would say, god damn commies!

Symphonic TV with a built-in VCR
Still, even though Zach claimed he wasn't concerned for our safety in the least, he had an itchy trigger finger just as soon as we beached the boat and set out on foot. Check your fire, boy! Check your fire! We got innocent paddlers in there! 

Relax! It's a bullfrog!
I found a couple of trees that had huge gouges taken out of them. And after I measured the bite radius of those gouges, I decided to keep the lid on what I had found. There was no need to alarm my fellow paddlers who were happily committed to acquisition of washed-away oddities, recently exposed Indian artifacts and  time-sanded stones containing fossils.

Nothing like a bag of glass and rocks
Since we were well into our three-hour tour in lieu of foodstuffs, KD whipped up a healthy lunch comprised of crayfish and fresh water mussels. Not exactly culled from the official PETA menu, but it worked. If only we could have snagged that bullfrog and gone full-flown surf n' turf.

Yum! Save me a claw

My biggest fear was that we'd head back to the boat at some point only to have found it bitten in half. But in that event, I had fire (My Zippo), we had knives and we had our cunning and our survival instincts. And if any of those had failed us, we could simply wait until the river gets really, really low in August, lay in wait for adventurous tweeners making the low-water trek to the island and go the way of cannibals. Dibs on the fat kid!

Besides, back in the forest away I came upon a washed away shingled roof, which would have made for a great start on a shelter. Our new home.

But unlike the great explorers that preceded us, we wanted to get on home before we got in big, big trouble with the chicks in our lives.

So we paddled back upstream to Pittston, avoided the goo slick clinging to the shoreline, humped the U.S.S. Dude all the way up to Kennedy Boulevard, and then made reverent noises about having escaped with our lives.

And after such a life-altering experience, we secured the boat and the gear and we headed straight to the nearby Burger King for some kiddie chow. Whew!

111 years later
 On the way home, we pulled over at Port Blanchard and took numerous pictures shot from numerous angles of the recently detonated east side of the 8th Street bridge. While I hated driving over that bridge while hoping incompetent motorists would not sideswipe my vehicles, I found it kind of sad to see something that was a part of the local landscape for so, so long to be lying there in pieces; soon never to be seen again. I guess it was shovel-ready.

So, as much as it may distress you, I survived my second foray onto Dinosaur Island.

And I want to thank KD for driving two hours with his boat in tow just so he could make like a little kid with a little kid and his little kid of a grandfather. We, males, are hard-wired by nature. We are inherently hunters and gatherers, but most importantly...we are explorers.

And it is for that latter reason that our exploration of space should not have been all but deep-sixed in favor of providing safety nets for the able-bodied.

Dude, Medusa Island awaits.

Many thanks.

Later

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