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A simple camping trip...

Started by Ringtail, July 11, 2017, 05:47:27 PM

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"Come into the wilderness for a while," said 663, hiding from the sunlight in a pile of forest detritus. "Bring what you need of civilization – food, tent, all the comforts. I'll fix all your problems if you do that."


"What is it you want?" Moonlight filtered phantasmically through the LSD-twisted cedars. An image came to mind, that of the Cheshire cat in his tree over a lost winding path.
"I... want to get lost."
"Really. And, what do you want to get lost from?"
"You mean, what am I running from?"
"Is something chasing you?"
"Yes... and also, I'm running towards shit like that!" I said, pointing to a particularly whimsical construction of tree stump, hallucination and shadow.
Lost, I thought. To be lost, while having what I need to survive and keep finding new things. In that way, both escape and continuation.


I remembered this conversation somewhat ruefully while shoving through thick, thick bushes on a steep, uneven slope. The trail had vanished under my feet several hours ago, and no amount of pouring over the map successfully matched it to the territory. The bushes were covered in some kind of sticky sweet droplets that, to my nose, smelled oddly of marijuana, and soon my clothes and all my things were covered as well. I sat down. My water was low. The river was close, but it would be a difficult climb to carry my pack back up the side of the valley. I can see it from here, I thought. I'll set my pack against this tree, scramble down this drainage and come right back up.

I went down. I refilled my water. I scouted a short way upstream, appreciated a waterfall, came back to my starting point. I scrambled right back up the drainage.


I searched for my pack for hours, combing up and down, back and forth over an area that was probably only a few thousand square feet. The evening wore on, and I remembered a forecast in the low forties for that night. The neck-high brush had swallowed my gear and wouldn't cough it up however nicely I asked. I called the names of friends bodied and disembodied, threw will and vision around, even followed a whistling bird around in a big circle on the off chance that it might help a sucker out. I was becoming desperate and exhausted.

"Here I am!" I said to a projection of the Doombringer sigil. "I'm all yours for this experience. Then when we're ready, I can find my pack again. Because all the good stuff's in the pack, ya know. The sacraments are are in the pack," I said, bargaining for all my possessions were worth. "So we can't have the sacraments until I find my pack, yeah?"

The sigil glowed, but there was no response.

My magic wasn't working. Of course it wasn't. And if I'd managed to find my way into a true initiatory test, that means I'd failed, as I knew I likely would. What kind of temperatures can a human body sit out in before hypothermia becomes a real problem? I honestly don't know. It was worth it, I said to myself stubbornly.

The options ran though my mind of their own accord like a quiz in one of those survival handbooks. You are lost in the woods and have misplaced your gear. You are underdressed for the expected temperatures. After a long search proves fruitless, you are exhausted and the light is fading. What do you do?
a) Continue searching with decreasing visibility
b) Attempt to backtrack and find the trail in the dark, then retreat to the trailhead
c) Prepare for the night

Unlike most things in life, those quizzes always have one correct answer.

No more stupid decisions.

I began grabbing chunks of the thick moss that covers everything in the northwest and throwing it in a pile next to a small flat space, where the ground was covered by several inches of insulative growing stuff. My blanket-to-be accumulated quickly, and my actions brought purpose, confidence and fierce energy. I rested a moment under the oncoming night that I would survive, examining the bushes that surrounded me, and the mysterious sticky stuff that they seemed to produce.

Everything smelled like weed. As I finally put this together, I laughed, and looked up.

My pack was against a tree, fifteen feet from where I'd been building my bed.

No more stupid decisions. Of course, that's not to say no more risks.


I tried the moss thing that night anyway, to see if it would work. It helps a lot, but even after wimping out and putting on my layers, I was very cold. I think I would have lived, but I definitely wouldn't have slept. Some tips if you ever have reason to use this trick:

- Although I would have eventually given up from the cold, what actually got me first was the sheer discomfort of dirt falling in my face and face holes. Save the cleaner clumps to put around your head.
- The moss in the northwest forest insulates almost as well as a blanket. The padding under me worked well; I didn't feel myself losing heat to the ground, but I was definitely losing it through cracks in my covering. One thing that helps with this is if you peel off the big, intact sheets you can find on logs and especially boulders. Then you can set these like a shell over a layer or two of looser stuff.
- Another idea that I didn't try would be to find or dig a deeper hole in the ground, or even create a sort of crib by driving sticks into the ground, close to each other to form a rectangle around your body – I think I've seen I diagram like this in a book somewhere. If you make it deep enough, you would have a kind of bowl that you could lay in and then fill with moss. That way it wouldn't roll off you even if you moved.
- The moss is very absorbent, so keep several inches open under your nose so it doesn't trap the water of your breath.
- This idea comes from a similar technique someone taught me once, using pine needles. Northwest moss works much better and is more comfortable, but of course it depends on your location.

You have no idea how many Jesuses I are.




I threw sticks on the fire. "You can speak up anytime you like," I said, holding back frustration. The sigil was awake, but said nothing whatsoever. I sat down across from it.

The night deepened; the LSD came on. I put a green devil's club stalk on the flames and pulled out my rune set.

"Doombringer," I said. "Tomorrow night I'm going to [redacted] to give more power to the eclipse working. Can I call on you during this rite?"

I drew a rune: Raidho reversed. Don't rush. Fine. I've got all night.

Spirits gathered around the fire. Ancestors? That's a new one, but it was definitive. My fire sputtered and I was embarrassed. "I'm sorry I'm not very good with this," I muttered. Oxygen, heat, fuel. Why do the sticks never want to catch for me?

You're using too big of sticks, too fast, whispered a young mind next to me. A voice came back to me from an old memory, it must have been from early childhood, when someone was first teaching me about campfires. Keep feeding it twigs, keep feeding it twigs. Perhaps due to some perceptual distortion, I found myself doing this already without meaning to, and now the fire was growing rounder, more pleasing, considerably more stable. "I found this strange and indicative," I scribbled in a notebook. "Where someone from a prehistoric culture of ancestor worship would find it merely indicative, and someone from a modern culture, merely strange."

Time passed. For safety's sake, I had to watch the flames closely, to make up for my impaired condition. I drew another rune. Surely, by now?

Hagalaz. Jera reversed. Although I knew a different meaning for the first rune, right now all I could read was Hazard. Mind the Hazard. What does Jera reversed mean? It means, a woman replied, Now is not the correct time.

This was by far my quietest trip, although there was no silence. Unintelligible murmurs surrounded me. Canines howled constantly in the gaps of white noise produced by the river. In the pattern of burning sticks I saw, not just triangles, but pentagrams, hexagrams, and other occulty glyphs, including a particular Z-shape that appeared several times; this was to say nothing of the wilder scrawl that lit the dark tree trunks, amid their peacock-feather foliage beyond the circle of light. Fire likes geometric shapes, someone said.

I tended the fire alongside other children. When I would drift off gazing into it, it would burn low, I would feel the disapproving glance of an elder and scramble to add more fuel.

After what must have been several hours of this, he seemed to speak. You have grand ideas, said 663. But I would be just as happy sharing a fireside with you.

KISS, I jotted. The night wore on. Acid faded and the fire burned low. The "younger" ancestors appeared to go to sleep, leaving progressively older demographics. Soon it was only the great-grandparents around the low flames, talking of things only they could understand, and then they, too, gave way to terrific Night and the glow of red coals. A face looked out at me from their crimson arrangement, releasing acrid fumes; I shivered at the thought that Fire might be angry. But when I looked away, a warm yellow glow still ringed my vision and felt sure that the ghosts and the bonfire were still there. I turned around and they were gone, I looked away and they were back. The darkness writhed, yet I felt safer than I have in a long time. I crawled into my bag and slept, unusually warm in the premorning chill.

You have no idea how many Jesuses I are.


I'm going to keep the rest of my adventure to myself for now. I'm sad that my phone's battery died and I don't have photos to share of the place I camped, a hidden place just upstream of a well-traveled ford, filled with deadwood and mystery. Roni Jean, you would have lost it over this place. If you ever make it out to the Olympic peninsula... or the Northwest jungle in general, really. The ground was so uneven that the only efficient way to traverse it was to run along the the huge fallen trees like highways, crossing from one to the next as the chipmunks did. My mind does great things for itself when isolated for even a few days. Perhaps mad things, depending on your definitions. The more alone I am, the less alone I am.

This post may have given too much credit to the 663, just because these are the experiences I've chosen to share. Did Doombringer come through for me, finally? Or did I give myself advice to go out into the woods for a while and it worked on me as well as I knew it would? Everything that happened could easily be explained as the result of my own actions, and especially on the night of the campfire, I seriously doubted the wisdom of dragging the sigil into it at all. I keep pulling it out because, like LS, the idea is consistently exciting. It stirs my curiosity strongly, but is always frustrating and usually anticlimactic. Is it supposed to do that? Am I just not seeing the result? The LS/Ellis is real enough to me, as are Zalty and Ino. If I approached him much more patiently, on his own terms, would I get more out of it? Or is he just another image distracting me from what I'm capable of? These are rhetorical questions, of course.

You have no idea how many Jesuses I are.



You have no idea how many Jesuses I are.


You have no idea how many Jesuses I are.


Thanks a lot for sharing :) A lot of respect from a fellow forest-wanderer.

Edit: That waterfall is just stunning! Thanks for that as well
"The Assault on Reality lives in you.
This is what you were born to do." -Ahavah Ain Soph

"As far as what I think the DKMU is? It's a promise to never stop fighting against mundanity, to always be injecting the weird into the world" - Timothy Buell

"Put in the work! :)" - Geri