Monday, April 03, 2006

The ZenFo Pro Takes a Hike...
and Scares the Shit Out of Stoners

Sometimes, you just have to take the advice of critics and take a hike.

I did just that Sunday, heading up to a state park for a nice three-and-a-half hour hump through deer trails, horse paths, and along creek beds.

Last week was rather brutal, both online and in the real world. It's been a long time since I received an e-mail comparing me to Hitler or had folks expressing a wish that folks I know meet the same brutal demise as a bunch of party kids in Seattle. I wish I had time to give a shit, but as a journalist I learned that a few nuts will always fall from the tree when you shake it hard enough. And there's nothing wrong with that.

But in the offline world, I have projects I'm developing. I have products that I'm responsible for producing under deadline. And I don't have the luxury of pondering anyone's gripe against a web site that I write in my spare time.

So I took a hike.

I'm a bit of a nature lover and like to think I'm in touch with my primordial self. At least, I used to be - how easy it is to forget the beauty of nature when wrapped up in a blanket of silicone and plastic.

While I no longer hunt, I still like to keep my tracking skills at least minimally tuned. I always preferred the tracking aspect of the hunt to the killing. Tracking game is a lost art in a time when cubicle-hardened weekend warriors hunt with automatic weapons.

I tracked a pregnant doe for miles (the excessively deep, almost bow-legged tracks left by the hind legs are a dead giveaway), but my hunt was ruined when I found three sets of Birkenstock clog prints (wide toe and low heel imprint - one lighter male, two heavier females), a discarded candy bar, and picked up the whiff of weed upwind.

Hippies. Damn hippies. Not even cool Dennis Hopper, burnt-out, 1960s hippies. No, these were the trustafarian, I-worship-Bob-Marley-from-an-SUV kinds of hippies.

It took me a grand total of 10 seconds to pinpoint three heads bobbing up and down in front of me in the bush, 100 yards ahead. I could've been blind and picked them out. They had a white five-gallon bucket with them and were loudly lumbering through the woods.

Looks like somebody's planning some illegal agriculture. Growing up in the rural South, one learns to hate the site of those five-gallon buckets - and I grew up with people who's parents relied on those potted crops to put food on the table. Ilost one of my best friends because he fell in love with the money made from the crops grown in those buckets.

Not only did these three assholes manage to scare away every breathing creature for acres, they were planning on setting up their own little farm in a state park.

So I hollered up ahead and asked if they were enjoying the day. They took off running. They even dropped their bucket, which, upon inspection, had three holes neatly cut in the bottom for drainage and a tiny baggy.

I guess I was lucky. They could've been armed, and I left my knife home for the first hike of the year. I never go hiking without ol' Sharky (my grandfather's blade), or at least a Gerber.

Yes, I'm just dumb enough to bring a knife to a potential gunfight. A lot of folks expected I wouldn't make it past 21, so I figure I'm on borrowed time anyway.

Why is it that some pot users think that inhaling the smoke of a plant somehow puts them more in touch with nature? Or gives them the right to exploit natural resources illegally, probably for profit, anymore than Enron or ExxonMobile?

Last year, I spotted a badger in this same area - very rare for southwestern Ohio, given that the population level is unknown. Any chance of that was ruined by a couple of kids looking for a place to grow a banned plant...in a state park. The doe? Gone.

I don't care if someone smokes weed; it's none of my business what one does in the privacy of one's own home. But hundreds of folks use this park every weekend from April through November. If you want to grow, buy your own lot and take your own chances.

I don't know too many families that plan outdoor vacations based on the likelihood of a DEA raid.

This part of the country is, despite what a lot of local college students think, very rural and very poor. The local parks provide low-cost entertainment for working-class families and being outdoors is a hell of a lot better for kids than a fucking Xbox.

Are ya looking to ruin the experience for everyone?

9 comments:

Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...

awww come on Jason. Don't be so hard line here.

I agree though I will cert ainly grow my pot on my own land. lol

Llama (not aka Traitor7 to you, only to Bob Patterson) said...

Okay, I know I'm waaay lame and not in any way, shape, or form addressing the point of your post (which I appreciate, btw), but I have to ask -- you actually saw a BADGER in southern Ohio? That's amazing -- I'm astounded! Yeah, label me a nature freak, I apologize...

shayna said...

Growing Pot on your own land... hehehe!!!

Just your luck huh?! ;)

Come to my party
It's my Birthday... wouldn't be a Birthday without you!  Help celebrate my
last year as a 20-something!!!!

Cat. said...

Someone called you Hitler? Holy cow--you've hit the bigtime now.

"Badgers? We don't need no stinkin' badgers!"

Have a BETTER week.

Smurf said...

"I lost one of my best friends because he fell in love with the money made from the crops grown in those buckets." This was tactfully put. We did smoke pot once upon a time. I havent smoked up since that time with you on 4-20-97 in K's Dorm room. But anyways... yes it is sad how SOMEONE's FOOLISH actions can spoil things for everyone. I am not judging pot smokers either cuz I smoked it too, but ... C'mon...

Cowgirl said...

You scared the hippies...awww... poor things.

Hmm...I'm thinking that growing pot on your own land might not be as much fun...

Anyways, badgers are indeed rare. Can't help that I am a nature freak too. Comes from my mom. We have a badger in the timber here on the farm, and so far that is the only one known still living in this county. Weird, eh?

The ZenFo Pro said...

Cooper:
Lol...yeah, that did come across as kinda hardline, huh?

Would've been more entertaining if I'd tracked them, got a plate no., called it it, etc...

;)


Llama:
Yup, we've got badgers down here. The southeastern-most part of their habitat. I thiught it was a skunk at first, but the nose was wrong and the body coloration wasn't right. Not very cuddly critters.

Hey, thanks for stopping by!

Shayna:
And most folks think I just have bad luck with women ;)

I guess because I grew up in a rural area where urban drug use fed into the pot farming business that pretty much wrecked too many Virginia families, I'm not a fan of hippies ;)

Oh, and happy b-day, chica! Did ya get my gift?

Cat:
Yup. Raver kid compared me to Hitler for an earlier post. Jeez, some people need meds. All I'm gonna say ;)

Smurf:
Yeah, and you know a bit about some of the other things I did. And you know my ex-fiance. "Crack whore" wasn't exactly too far offbase in terms of who she actually was...

Cowgirl:
Lol...aww, poor little hippies. How cruel of me ;)

Yeah, the growing on somebody else's property makes it seem so much more justifiable...lol...

I reported my badger sighting last year, but I never followed up on it. They'revery rare apparently here in Ohio, but Indiana just took them off their endangered species list.

Cowgirl said...

Badgers are only protected here in Illinois (as far as I know). Our "renter" here on the farm is ok, as long as he leaves my chickens alone. LOL

We also have barn owls, which are endangered, and I see a peregine falcon (threatened) every once in awhile. At my parent's house, one particular barn owl likes to swoop down at you when you walk too close to his tree at night. Seriously. It looks like a fucking ghost because of the white face and white underneath of the wing span coming at you.

A few Bald Eagles (federally threatened) live around here, which are stunning. Mom had one she rehabbed a bit after some asshole idiot shot it. It now lives at a place that uses him for education, because he only has one wing. So sad.

I also see alligator snapping turtles (threatened) all of the time, but I HATE them because they prey on the ducklings and goslings.

I am such a hick. *sigh* But I don't care. Can't help my mom was a wildlife rehabber and nature freak.

I understand the tracking thing. I love tracking, and am not fond of hunting. But I do like to shoot at targets and I can keep myself occupied for hours trap shooting.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Cowgirl:
Nothing wrong with being a bit of a hick, chica. I channel my inner-coonass at least once a day. Plus, there's gotta be at least one librarian who pronounces "ya'll" correctly ;)