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Wendigo Mountain

August 5th, 2008

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Drinky
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Clint Harris

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August 5th, 2008

To quote Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon movies, "I'm getting too old for this shit."

What was supposed to be a expedition sized campout (sans kids) with a whole bunch of folks turned out to be just my wife and me miles from anyone.  Everyone cancelled at the last minute, but still determined to go, we loaded up last-minute, took 2 hours to get underway (we forgot to bring in the cat, and had to turn around an hour into the trip to go back home. The whole trip was like this.  Forgetting things, frequent stops and pitfalls, until we finally went up the Poudre canyon, noticing along the way that 104 F temps in the Front Range had driven everyone else into the mountains as well.  "CAMPGROUND FULL" was the sign we saw the whole trip.  Campsite after campsite.  We continued higher, hoping we would find something.  Eventually, we were 40 miles from my parents house, in North Park. About 60 miles further than we thought we would be going.  At that point we knew camping sites which didn't require you to pay and were never inhabited.  We dropped in on my folks, borrowed one of their 4WD vehicles and headed for the high country.

We camped out at around 10k feet above sea level.  When I was younger, living at 8k, it was no big deal.  Now, I live at 4k.  It's a big deal. 

Throughout the night we were serenaded by a pack of coyotes, early in the morning, we heard a moose stomping around nearby, and on our short hike, we saw very fresh bear tracks.  It was great to get back to seeing that sort of stuff again.  It's a little scary (the moose is the worst of it--even trumps bear) but these sorts of things leave you alone unless you surprise them. I'm just glad there were no mountain lions to be seen.  But there are wolves back in the area.

The whole experience would have been better except for our air mattress deflating in the middle of the night.  When I started camping back in my early teens, I learned that a part of camping is finding your rock.  It's the one that you find in your back on your first campout, then it follows you wherever you go.  This trip, we had our creature comforts, propane stove, kerosene lamp, air mattress.  FFFSSSSSSSSssssss....hello rock.  It's been awhile.  The rock was happy again, lodged into my left kidney.  It's been about eight years since I've felt that rock.  It was not missed.  And yes, it is the same rock.  Once you have found it, it will follow you wherever you may go.  This includes the floors of people's houses, hotels, etc.

So, after about three hours of sleep in fifteen minute increments, we came back down the mountain, oddly rejuvenated by the altitude and the fact that we hadn't burned down the forest.  No small wonder.  The beetle-kill was horrifying.  In some places, the pines look like New England foliage in October, mountainsides of red.  Red being a bad color for lodgepole pines. It's pretty until you realize the whole forest is dead and liable to go up like a pile of tinder.

Things I will tell other intrepid travelers that might help in your adventures. 
--Hot tea is something truly amazing to have on a campout.  A real boon. (this was the first time I've done it, and it won't be the last)
--Dish washing can be done while camping.  It's not so bad.  Really. (It helps to have soap.)
--People are far scarier than wildlife.
--Air mattresses fail. And fail big
--First Come First Serve apparently means nothing when it comes to campgrounds
--Just because you buy outdoorsy food that you can make in a neat little bag, supposedly made by actual chefs to ensure flavor, etc. It doesn't mean it is actually EDIBLE.  "Mountain House" Blueberry Cheesecake was $6 completely wasted.  I would sooner choke down an MRE. Nasty.
--Nothing beats scrambled eggs and cubed ham for breakie.

Anyway, we are back. It was nice to go camping again. Hopefully we get to do it again soon.  Maybe this time with the kiddos, though I worry if they aren't still too young.  Lots of "don't touch the fire" and "don't wander off without me" situations are promised.  As is "PAY ATTENTION!"

They probably won't be ready for the top of the mountain just yet.  Maybe next year.     

Another funny addendum.  We left my wife's bag and wallet (including cash, ID, checkbook, etc.) at my parents house and didn't realize it until we were an hour out of town.  We had to turn back and tacked on another three hours to our return trip.  Three hours of sleep takes its toll on the mind.  I'm still recovering from the lack of sleep.  Like I said, I'm probably getting too old for this.
So, if you've read my bio, among my list of accomplishments is being a paranormal investigator.   Yep, that's right, I'm one of those.  The few, the happy few, who sit around in dark rooms with carpentry tools asking questions to thin air, hoping to get some sort of answer from the great beyond.  It's a lot of fun, actually, and once in awhile, you actually get something.  It's a lot like fishing, except at the end of it, you are going home when fishermen are waking up.  Long nights, absolutely no pay, and more often than not, the crestfallen looks of clients who hear the news that they aren't being haunted.  But sometimes they are.  Either way, we are there to check things out first instead of just blowing them off and calling them crazy.  That look of relief that someone wants to help them is worth the 4a.m. drives home or the numbness you get in your butt from sitting on a cold floor half the night.

My wife is a leader of the group.  She got interviewed for an internet radio show the other day too.  Here's a link.  She waxes philosophical from all subjects from the Montauk Monster to the Stanley Hotel.  This post is not about her.  This post is about a bad decision she made.  She rented "Death of a Ghost Hunter."  The supposed "true" accounts of a paranormal investigator who was killed while investigating a house in Phoenix where a triple murder took place.

Hold on, folks, I might not even have the stomach to recount most of this movie. 

First off, the grisly crime is shown in full detail, from the nutso mother (who, picky me, wondered how a 22 year old starlet could be the mother of a 9 year old boy and 8 year old girl, but anyway) who blasts her brains out in a chair with a big shiny pistol after putting an infant into a tub of running water. The suicide was oddly eroticized, with the pornographic zeal in which she plants her lips on the muzzle of the gun.  The internet has allowed us to see this sort of reflex many times, and this should have been foreshadowing as to where they found their pool of "actors."  Needless to say, the baby in the bathwater totally telegraphed the end of the movie.

The next bit was a voiceover of the woman who was hired to do the investigation.  It begins with Blair Witch-esque video diary type blurbs of her trip from Portland to Phoenix.  She talks about the field, about her beliefs, and meets the guy who owns the house.  He totally looks like the guy from the Portishead "Humming" video.  He gives us the initial setup.  Creepy house.  Whacked out maid that won't go in anymore.  Yabba dabba doo.  Of course, he's hiding something. 

The rest of the crew shows up.  The kookie promiscuous chick, the nerdy other investigator, and some Carrie knockoff who keeps going on about God and the other girls "dirty pillows."  Okay, she didn't actually say it, but you know she was thinking it.  Now, the method behind ghost hunting was pretty much dead on.  Set up equipment, sit around and wait.  Maybe crack some jokes. 

Opposing personalities start butting heads.  Nobody likes religious girl because she's uptight and holier than thou, but I suspect something else, and yet, again, there is the odd porno element.  This girl delivers her lines as convincingly as some bimbo in a catholic school girl outfit that answers the door and says, "Hey!  Did anybody order a pizza?"  Bow-chicka-chicka....  "Yeah, it's hot with extra cheese."

She is not credited with porn on her IMDB site, but that does not discount the internet.  Her lines are that...er, wooden.  It was also obvious that she has the verbal accuity of a middle-school thespian, but adroitly shucks her clothes off to get into a bathtub when her Aunt Flo makes an unexpected visit.  First off, it's rude to use the client's bathtub when in their home, and second, did they really think gratuitous nudity in the same scene as heavy period flow would be AT ALL sexy?  Really? Again, I'm sure there is a fetish site for this. 

The movie continues.  The nerdy guy and slutty girl share a doobie.  The ghosts mess with them.  All hell breaks loose.  Makes for a pretty creepy scene.  Not bad.  Of couse they had weird pseudo-religious freaky-sex shit helmet involved.  Not to mention it's really damn obvious odd religious girl is the baby in the tub from the first scene.  Especially when the homeowner calls and says she's not supposed to be there, and he's never heard of her.  Of course, she comes back and somehow knows (though she was a day old when she was in the house--being the child of the cult leader guy and a wayward teen he had locked away in his sex dungeon, er, sex-attic) how to use the freaky box-helmet thing, the stereoscope-weird-dead/freaky-cult-leader's-Jesus-sex-helmet, and rubs one out while the rest of the team unravels the mystery.  Then she kills them all one by one. Then herself, echoing the original crime. Complete with the eroticized wrapping of the lips around the shiny phallus of the .44 magnum.

Ghost hunter lady gets to watch the history of the freaky murders first hand (cause now she's dead) and gets to hang out for all eternity in a bluish-black and white world with this family of people who have been dead for 20 years.  She leaves some message to the world of the living since she sees that her equipment is still running.  Of course she's stuck in the same house where some asshole cult leader raped teenagers, made his wife and family think he was "there own. personal. Jesus" (shoutout to Depeche Mode), and later got snuffed by his wife when she had enough.  So, aside from a pair of kids, you also have some Jim Jones type, his murderous wife, a tormented (and later dismembered) teenager and her murderous freaky religious grown-up suicidal daughter sharing the house with you for all of eternity.  Sounds like a pretty raw deal.

The end.

I could get into better detail on this, but I really can't.  It was sophomoric, poorly acted, and pretty much typical. The methods of how an investigation is conducted were on the money, however, the rest was silly and needlessly gratuitous.  The best parts were when freaky religious girl stands over slutty-girl's suitcase and gives the whole thing a golden shower.  Only to be discovered by slutty girl when religious girl has been dismissed from the investigation.  Suitcase full of pee = comic genius.  Like I said, there are many moments in this movie when you forget you are watching a horror movie and think somehow you've landed on the Spice Channel.  At least until someone gets a knife stuck in their neck.  Then it's pretty cut and dried.

Anyway, the movie gets a B for effort, and a D-minus for scouring the lower rungs of amateur porn sites for actors. And the story is pretty much bullshit.  See, the reason I don't professionally write reviews now?  Could you imagine this in a newspaper?  "What kind of crack was this fucker smoking?!?  No stars for this prick!  No thumbs either.  I'll give it the finger instead."

Now, that you've read this review, you probably know how I felt when the movie ended.  Relieved that the hurting had finally stopped.  Well, folks, the review is over.  You can kiss the ground and give thanks! :)

By the way, here's a trailer.  It's amazing what you can find on YouTube.
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