We hiked Havasupai at eleven years old
Do the hand jive and not read,
Paul Booth And I
I figure that I am not worthy of polishing the shoes this man walked in. And it is true I only saw him polish such for Sunday school. Paul was different. And he made me different. I figure we knew each other from kindergarten. We did not so much like each other but respected each other. He seemed to think that getting along with folk was better than fighting them. For me it was the opposite. I loved to fight.
So when we really got to know one another it was is scouting. Not really so much in the norm but later on in a different world we called “Order of The Arrow”. We did weird stuff like not sleeping in tents and only having a single wool blanket. We slipped around outside of the campfire and counted coo on those that wandered. If that sounds weird hang on for it gets better.
They drove out ten miles to a rim of a canyon called Sycamore. And there they kicked us out with no food. We were told they would be back at the same spot in 4 days. First thing we did was eat the snickers bars we hid. Then we took off our shoes. I know that is kind of strange but we did not want anyone following us. Like I said we were out there.
We found a way down the canyon wall and started to giggle. “really you dump us off in paradise and expect us to go all survival on you”. The first dinner was frog and watercrest. And we slept in a great cave with bats and mice. Oh baby the next lunch was already on the table. We sang “Go Tell Aunt Rody and Blue Suede Shoes and dropped of full and happy. Happy is a gut filled and an expectation that we will have more fun tomorrow.
We calculated that if we drank a bunch or water and mixed in some water greens that we did not need crap. Four days without food is a no brainer.
Take a very long stick. One that you do not need for your bow. We called it a long bow. Walk up stream pounding the stick on the water top. The fish will hide under the rock shelves. Dive in and catch them by the gills. We were putting fish guts a hundred feet away and catching possum – yuk food. But it was the cycle of life.
I reckon that to Paul I was his Lefty. He was an honest man.I have never so been
I Got No Soul, Maybe They Buried With Paul.
We Did OK But Maybe Not Good enough
Paul and I knew very well that we could do just fine without really eating for four days. But we hiked up the canyon to where the water barely flowed. Paul nearly stepped right on Timber rattler. It don’t taste like chicken it tasted more like salmon I reckon. We started the fire to cook him with that weird idea of spinning a stick. Paul thought it more authentic, even when I busted out with matches. These were the best of times and absolutely not the worst of times. Then we settled in.
A check dam seemed like a good idea so we spent a day building one for our little guppy friends. We laid under some big old Sycamore and soaked our feet in the running water. Was the finest girl Mimi or no gal at all? No resolution there just reeds in our mouth as floss and sun peeking through branches.
As a tip, do not eat bat. It is really nasty no matter how much dandelion and watercress you put on it.
So who the heck cares about Sycamore. We rode the chair up to around 12 thousand feet and hiked another 500 ft. This stunk. We were to make an igloo. And we were to survive 4 days in it. This was tough. So we sawed ice and built a home. Still just a blanket a piece. We scraped liken for tea. We peed in cups and drank it. Fire was made from flint stone. A hard act of pounding and sparks on dry wood. But our point was that anyone can survive with nothing for 4 days. Alright I admit we did a little dancing outside our igloo to spoons and some gospel songs. And I admit we cuddled to be warm.
Could it be that Paul was my best friend? I have no clue. Paul and I were like Lefty and Pancho and hell if I knows who was whose. Maybe I was more of a bandit. Maybe Paul died to let me live. Please do not let me slip away on Paul’s behalf.
How do we hold another accountable? What gives me the right to say “hey Paul let us do another survival hike?”
At least condemn me Paul. Lead me to the hell I have as a survivor. Reach up and kick my ass like you did in West Fork Canyon. Let me feel your wrath one more time.
I Got Nothing But My Failure. Paul was an angel..
I Got No Clue
Sorry I am wasted. I just do not know up from up of downl I just know that I love a man who loved me. He held my hand And I am no way worthy.
Paul was and is just Paul. Dr. Booth is a good man. My mamma told me to respect him. He is Paul’s dad. Let me Paul help take another angel home.
Suffering was something Paul and I did. That is crazy. But we looked at each other and challenged ourselves. Not a macho thing and not an “I am better” thing. Simply a challenge we inherited from awesome parents and mentors Like Dr. Brown and now Dr. David. From fine men like Mr. Steffensen and ladies with infinite names and more infinite love.
Sycamore had bears at that time. I think not anymore but maybe. It was Paul’s stupid idea to sneak up on one. We washed everything the best we could so we stunk of creek and creek dirt and moss. We smeared ourselves with this nasty black muck. And we got up the creek a distance. And then we put our nasty ass blankets over us and crawled for about 70 yards as I understood it. I do reckon that we got within about 10 feet of that nasty omnivore. Then we shouted at it and ran like hell up our predetermined route.
Paul also got me to jump off a perfectly fine 60 foot cliff into a creek. He also got me to eat bugs like cockroaches.
Now in this day I hope I do offend anyone. Paul and I loved rituals and just a lame appreciation of our elders and their traditions. Not really altar boys but close to it. We were color guards for our city of Flagstaff, we were tough as nails and played guards for football. We hit harder than the huge boys we faced. Do not look here for a good and happy story. Paul and I pledged in the discus and wrestling to kick ass. Why the heck were we both 4 lettermen in high school? We dove in before we checked the water.
And there we are, Paul busted his neck by diving in without checking the water in a backwater called slide rock. I should have been drunk and dived that day. But Paul would have pushed me back and gone first. I got no right to be alive. I have a destiny to die young. And yet I am older now than I was before.
We had twelve candles. It was our “scout’s” honor. That boy broke down and cried that day to exhort others not to act carelessly. He snuffed out our candles and explained he broke the oath. Doc Booth and I and my mom wept. He changed my life. I hope this story in some way changes yours.