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The Gearboat Chronicles

Forecast for Slight Chance of Badgers

About that spring weather I mentioned last time . . . uhm . . . it’s gone.

Snowing this morning. Forecast is for highs in the 40s. A contradiction, really, to say temperatures in the 40s are high. Especially when you’re headed out on a river trip.

Paul, Morgan and I are heading for Idaho to float the lower Salmon for three days. We’re meeting up with our pals from Wet Planet, over in White Salmon, Washington. They do a kayak instruction trip that we provide camp support for. It’s a good way to go, if you’re looking to hone your kayaking skills. Get some world-class kayakers sharing the finer points by day, then roll into a Winding Waters campsite and relax.

But about that weather. I’ve just thrown into a drybag every scrap of fleece and polyprop- . . . polypropel- . . . hell, I don’t even know how to spell that. The high-tech stuff that keeps you warm. Wool socks and my yellow slicker foul weather gear that makes me look like I’m fishing for cod off the Grand Banks.

I’m hoping for no rain, anyway. Cold I can handle. I don’t like it, but it’s doable. Cold and wet is something else. I’m having a flashback right now. Cut to 1990-something. Scene: Glacier National Park. I’m driving down from Going-To-The-Sun Road in a huge red tour bus, which was my summer job in college. It’s pouring rain. And by pouring I mean pouring. My bus is empty since I dropped off my passengers back at the Many Glacier Hotel. I’m squinting through the windshield trying to see 50 feet through little tiny 1930s wiper blade semi-circles on that antique bus.

And out walks in front of me a badger. He is pissed. Wet, cold, his fur plastered down, he is in no mood for an antique bus with a guy peering through ridiculous 1930s windshield wipers.

The badger stopped, faced my bus and dared me to come any further. I did not. If I had gone closer, I believe he would have ripped opened the driver’s door, torn me apart, thrown me out in the storm and driven away with the heater on full blast.

So I waited. And eventually he let me pass, but we had some eye contact there and it’s one of the few times I think I’ve communicated with a four-legged creature. He said: I’m wet and cold and I don’t like it. I said back: Hey, I grew up outside of Eugene, Oregon. I know all about it.

That seemed to satisfy him and I think of that badger every time I’m wet and cold. I adopt the slightly pigeon-toed stance of the badger. And his scowl. My mood in that state allows for staring down tour buses and I just hope the rain holds off on the lower Salmon this week so the badger doesn’t take over.

I am looking forward to getting back on that river, though. If you haven’t floated through Blue Canyon yet, put that on your list of things to do. Beautiful.

Morgan and Paul should be pulling in any minute, so I’m going to get this off and check the weather one more time, hoping for a return to that glorious warm weather I was so excited about last week. Hopefully there’s a very slight chance of badgers.