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Because David and Moi were determined to wade in the ‘Roo at dusk and because aimlessly wandering around the wooded area between the lake and the campground in the midst of a clear and calm late-summer evening was event enough, and because Greg took his time scavenging for quasi-legal firewood, dinner got off to a late and somewhat disorganized start. Nevertheless, as the day faded and the stars came out, amid the occasional creak and slam of a pit toilet door at the restroom just down the way, the squeak and splash of the nearest spigot run through it’s evening ablution paces, the odd kid-shriek in response to a dropped and/or flaming marshmallow, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama turned down real low and real nice—Campsite #14 you know who you are, holla!—and the high-pitched vacuum whine of what musta been one hell of a Luxury Inflatable Mattress inflating somewhere off in the not-distant-enough distance, we made a fire and commenced operation Everything Must Go—EMG. Tonight was the last night of our four day cooler-sharing Mythical State of Jefferson trip together so it made sense to eat everything possible if it was possible, which it turns out it was, mostly.


The focus or “crux” of EMG was a very large quantity of hormone-free sausages which we grilled over the course of a three hour conversation—in part, one has to assume, because Greg, Moi and David had been steadily eating psilocybin mushrooms since breakfast—about the differences between the Lemurians, descendants from the lost land of Lemuria who use their ability to produce powerful, inaudible harmonics to dig tunnels through Mt. Shasta, and the Yoctavians who produce powerful harmonics with bells and instruments.


In regards to the sausages heretofore doggy-paddling around the bottom of a not-so-cold cooler for the last 36 hours, there were, depending on how you looked at it: 5 packages, or 20 individual sausages, or 5 sausages per person, or 1.25 packages of sausages per person. Anyway, we grilled and consumed the sausages package-batch-style so that each of us was able to sample one of each style and type; Chicken Apple, Cajun Style Andouille Lean Pork, Mango Smoked Chicken and Chorizo Smoked Chicken. We also needed to consume a brand new jar of apricot jam (which some of us used as sausage condiment), five slices of artisanal sourdough bread, one warm can of RC Cola and 27 (Domestic!) beers. And one 70% Green and Blacks chocolate bar which bar had, in the heat of the last three days, transitioned from solid to liquid and back to solid several times over, and which bar we bought/brought to give to the residents of Big Bear Ranch, a commune founded in 1968 “by a group of people who wanted to go back to the land,” but we didn’t because we gave them nails and bags of flour instead. And a brand new Family or Party-sized bag of Mexican Restaurant-Style Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips, and the rest of the mushrooms.


We should have cleaned up our campsite in particular the picnic table area (PTA) still covered in food waste and post Campfire Party flotsam and jetsam—you know, put the trash in a designated trash bag, burn everything else in what’s left of the fire, load and close-up the cooler, etc—but we were tired or high or drunk, or tired-and-high-and-drunk, and besides the only actual food left was a handful of yellow crunchy dust in the bottom of giant chip bag which was then currently lying on the table between a half-empty can of RC Cola and a Gränsfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet. And double-besides the deer, which deer had been coming into our area and lurking and cruising and vibing on us, and coming sometimes to within like five feet of us, didn’t look Magical or Terroristic.


The night was warm-enough and bug-free so we decided to cowboy camp (i.e. deciding to forgo our shelters and sleep en plein air, underneath the stars.) There were two flat spots in our campground; Moi and I slept next to each other in one (FS-1), David and Greg slept next to each other in the other (FS-2). FS-1 and FS-2 were separated by a six or seven foot patch of grass and rocks and lumpy dirt. As coordinates plotted on a map or on the back of napkin in the form of a “napkin drawing;” FS-1, FS-2 and the PTA formed a rough isosceles triangle. The distance between FS-1 and the PTA was less than five feet. The distance between FS-2 and the PTA was no more than eight feet. Visibility between FS-1, FS-2 and the PTA was 100+%. And it should be noted: even after our fire was all the way out it wasn’t completely dark. It was a clear night and the sky was full of an estimated 8,456 stars.


Daniel Wakefield Pasley


The first time I woke up it must have been around 1:30 AM. I’m not sure why I woke up but I did, I must have heard some rustling you know. Anyway, when I shot-up it must have heard me because when I first saw the deer it was kinda stopped, like mid-stride with one hoof in the air just kinda hanging there all “hand in the cookie jar” style, and it was staring right at me. So I sat real still, just kinda propped-up on my elbows you know, to see if it would get comfortable and like forget about me and go back to doing it’s thing, which it did. I watched it for like 30 seconds, it did a few laps around the picnic table then it got bored or something and wandered off back into the woods on it’s own accord, casual-style. Neither Moi who was lying next to me in FS-1 or Greg and David in FS-2 woke up during the whole thing, so I drank some water and went back to sleep.


The Second Time I woke up it was like an hour later, so like 2:30 AM, and Moi was doing that forced hushed whisper-shout thing that people do when they’re trying to keep their shit together and/or they’re trying to be quiet and stealth and but they really really really really need to get your attention, like immediately. Anyway, so he’s like daniel-daniel-daniel-D A N I E L-ing me and kinda like hitting me in the chest at the same time. It reminded me a lot of the time in 1994 during the Northridge Earthquake when I lived in Los Angeles near Pico and La Cienega, basically in Culver City not far from where The Ten collapsed, and I woke up because my girlfriend at the time was hitting me in the face and shouting my name, only that time when I woke up I saw all the transformers in the radio station parking lot behind our apartment blowing up and there were crazy lights and sparks and shit, and this time when I woke up I saw what I thought was either an antelope or miniature centaur in the PTA.

“I knew it wasn’t a deer because it had a square head and deer don’t have square heads.”

And antelopes, because of the way their horns work, look from the side at least a little like they have squareish heads. But the light was surreal or fantastical enough, and the profile of this animal was bizarre enough, that I started to consider whether or not we had some kind mythical woodland creature on our hands, you know like an actual literal centaur or maybe a Harry Potter-type deal. Anyway, while Moi and I were sitting there staring and squinting and gawking in quiet disbelief at this TBD creature in the PTA, the TBD was shaking it’s head like crazy, like a cat with tape on it’s paws or a like a stag in rut season doing the She’s Mine dance. Whatever it was doing it was kind of freaking me out. And now Greg, who’d been up and watching this for who knows how long, starts shouting “What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck is that!?!?!?!?” At this point the TBD stopped whatever it was doing, which whatever it was doing involved some kind of wrapper because you could hear the sound of plastic crinkling—basically the whole scene had this raccoon or varmint mischief quality to it—anyway it (the TBD) stopped whatever it was doing kinda dramatic-like and bolted, it exited the PTA, ran down the campsite driveway and peaced-out, or so we thought. So now Moi and I are just staring at each other making the WTF-face, you know when you just kinda silently mouth w h a t  t h e  f u c k together, meanwhile Greg was trying to wake up David who wouldn’t wake up because he was apparently not that impressed by the whole, “there is a TBD in camp” thing. A few seconds pass and nothing happens so we all just kinda lay back down, and but the moment I close my eyes I hear this crashing sound coming from the trees toward the end of our driveway. Moi must have heard it too because we’re both somewhere between lying down and sitting up when we see the TBD crashing through the brush and trees just beyond the edge of FS-1 and running right for us. We sorta just froze and time really does slow down and nearly stop, and in the same moment the whole scene was instantly upgraded to HD and Dolby and 1080p and Bluetooth. Anyway, TBD was still coming right for us Full Speed Ahead Bison stampede-style and there was nothing we could do about it except watch, which watch we did.

“I watched it leap into the air and soar in a perfect arc over Moi, and over me, and across the sky, backlit by a waning gibbous moon, in slow motion, forelegs thrust, hind legs stretched out, a cloud of steam trailing from it’s flared nostrils, dirt floating through the air like pixie dust in a zero-gravity environment like space or a Fairy Tale.”

And when TBD reached its apex, which incidentally was about 2 feet directly over my head, I suddenly knew the way people suddenly know shit when they’re touched by God or dead people or like when they have one of those epiphanies that involves multiple parallel universes or like when they can suddenly see, like really see, that time is not linear and all that will happen has already happened. Anyway when TBD reached it’s apex I saw it, like I really saw it clear as day: TBD was an otherwise very normal mule deer wearing an empty Party-sized Mexican Restaurant-Style Yellow Corn Tortilla Chip bag on its head. TBD was GMD (Guantanamo Mule Deer). GMD hit the ground running in the direction of FS-2, jumped over Greg, who quietly watched, and David, who was still sleeping, ran into a tree at full speed, bounced off, ran into another tree, bounced off that tree, made it to the road, ran across the road and disappeared down an embankment. And that, I thought, was that.


Greg Johnson

The first time it happened I woke up because I heard Daniel cackling really loudly, like he was laughing so hard I was worried that he was going to wake up the whole campground. So I sat up to see what was what and right as I did, I saw this animal jumping over Daniel and landing just past where he was sleeping. Whatever it was didn’t stop running it just kept coming, like towards where David and I were sleeping, at the last second, like right before it was about to run us over or jump over us or whatever, it changed directions and ran right past our feet, it kept going for like another 5 feet until it literally ran headfirst into a tree. Like at full speed.


“David was still lying down and pretending to be asleep, you know head down eyes closed-style, I guess because he thought we were all just being assholes and laughing really loudly for no reason, which was only partially true.”

At first I thought it was an angry or rabid animal because, you know, it was running around like crazy, but then I figured out it was a deer and I also figured out that it was wearing a chip bag ski mask-style, you know minus the eye holes (obvs!), though it took me a minute because a chip bag is not your typical Mule Deer attire. Anyway, after the deer hit that first tree it stopped for a second to shake it off before bolting again. The problem was though it kept running into things, you know, it was like  pin-balling it’s way through the woods. It would go four feet, hit a tree and bounce to the left, then it would go four or five more feet, hit a different tree and bounce to the right. It did that for like thirty seconds until finally it went over the road and we couldn’t see it anymore. And I pretty much thought that was that. I felt bad, I really wanted to get up and help it but I wasn’t sure how to do that and by then it was gone anyway. So we all just went back to sleep, you know after laughing a lot.


The second time I woke up it was because I heard this rustling noise, you know like a low-grade ruckus.The deer was back but it wasn’t moving very fast at this point, I think it was probably sick of running into trees at high speed, it was just kinda stopped and standing there, all sad, like, I think it was embarrassed and ashamed, like maybe it was fun or weird for the deer at first but now it was clearly over it; how long can you run around careening off trees before it starts to hurt, you know? Anyway, while it was standing there I really wanted to help it but again I was laughing too hard and I would have had to get out of my sleeping bag, and dude, how do you get a chip bag off of a Mule Deer’s head?


David Marchi


The first time I woke up I was angry because everyone was laughing and it was late and I thought we were going to get kicked out of the campsite for laughing because someone farted or something. I guess that was the time that deer jumped over Moi and Daniel and almost ran Greg and I over, but I only learned about that the next morning because I refused to look up, I was all “Fuck those dudes. Clowns.”


The second time I woke up the deer was just standing there next to our picnic table with a tortilla chip bag on it’s head, I recognized the bag right away because I bought those chips, those were my chips. I remember I kept repeating over and over again like a mantra: “What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck.” And then it just wandered off. It looked really dejected and I felt really bad for it, like I felt like we were in some way responsible for this deer’s perdicament.


I woke up one more time, this time there was no deer and everyone was still asleep, I think I was just laughing, like in my sleep. We never saw that deer again. When I got  home a few days later I poked around the internet to see if anyone else had seen a deer wearing a bag on its head that night, or whether it was like reported missing or something, but nothing, it just vanished.


“I can honestly say nobody saw this coming.”

-Moi Medina


The lake sits at 6500 ft., therefore the water is invigorating, i.e., penetratingly cold.
Life is Good™.
Wildlife in the area may include: deer, bears, birds, chipmunks, as well as an occasional bobcat or mountain lion.
A 7" Largemouth bass.
From left to right; Todd, Courtney and Gabe the inflatable alligator.
Trails from the lake area intersect with the Pacific Crest Trail.
The lake is approximately 25 acres in size and 100 feet deep at its deepest.
While in the pursuit of provisions and local swimming hole intel/knowledge deep in the Mythical State of Jefferson, we (Greg Johnson, David Marchi, Moi Medina and Daniel Wakefield Pasley) visited the Callahan Emporium, a bar & quasi-grocery occupying a building originally built-in 1858 to house, incidentally/apparently, the first Wells Fargo in the area. There we met Fran, the establishment’s owner/operator. After a few drinks and some lite chit-chat we started asking her about local Swimming Holes, a somewhat touchy subject in a water-rich rural area famous for it’s recent anti-federalist separatism tendencies, Gold Rush past (and present), and illegal/hidden/dangerous marijuana operations. The locals are suspicious to the point of xenophobia. However Fran, who was as nice and welcoming as homemade pie, openly confirmed that Kangaroo Lake (our immediate next stop) was, in fact, an excellent Swimming Hole: “That’s where you hop back to heaven.” She introduced us to her her dog who she keeps in an office in the back, showed us a large gold nugget that was legally and locally prospected out of one of the area’s many amazing rivers and we discussed a genuine Miner’s Canary Cage she kept hanging on the paw of a mounted to the wall behind the counter of her bar.
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