Daily Archives: 06/08/2006

Summertime In Missouri

Trackler Mountain, Mark Twain National Forest - Madison County, MO

Some members of my family went on a float trip over Memorial Day weekend; it’s a Missouri summertime tradition to go floating on Ozark rivers and streams. Memorial Day is one of the peak times to go floating and my eldest brother said the river was full of drunk yahoos. They floated the Courtois (pronounced COE-TAH-WAY) into the Huzzah and finally the Meramac. He said the Courtois was very closed in amongst the trees and with plenty of good fishing. I can’t really remember. I floated the Courtois once in graduate school, and that was a few years ago now. Once they hit the Huzzah, they were amidst the holiday drunkards on inner tubes. And when they got on the Meramac, power boats joined in the fray, which must have been a total buzzkill.

His description of this float, along with an earlier one he did on the Jacks Fork got me to daydreaming about a nice float trip. It’s been a few years. Last one I did was in 2000 on the Current for a three days. I really enjoyed that trip and I’m having a hard time not thinking about floating or backpacking around the Ozarks this summer. Seems like a far better way to spend my time than sitting in a cubicle babysitting computers. I’d especially like to spend some time hiking the Ozark Trail, wandering along the hills doing some long distance backpacking for a week or two. The Ozarks are a great place to hike, camp, float or fish. And there’s all sorts of wildlife in the mountains, including bears and  even the occassional mountain lion. I’m not kidding. It’s where my mind is definitely at right now.

Tinian Time Travel Tour

Found this great little travel essay on Tinian and the Marianas at the JG Ballard (author of Empire of the Sun) blog. Simon Sellars was through the region last fall, writing a travelogue for Lonely Planet and he captures a real sense of the ghosts that linger throughout Micronesia. The real gem he links to is the link to photos taken by a seabee on Tinian during the war, showing life on what was the world’s largest airport during the early 1940’s.

The Kircher Code

I forgot to mention this interesting article last night in connection with the Da Vinci Code. Instead of Leonardo, why not pause to give Athanasius Kircher a moment’s notice. Kircher was Jesuit priest and genuine Renaissance man who taught mathematics at the Collegio Romano in the 17th century. He also ran the museum at the Vatican. A case could be made that we owe Kircher a far greater debt than Da Vinci. While Leonardo encrypted all his thoughts in private notebooks, Kircher was a prolific publisher. He was the prototype of the modern university professor, though with a polymath’s myriad fascinations. Archaeology, alchemy, biology, mathematics, history, languages, and cryptography, Kircher was truly ecumenical in his tastes and interests.