So, since I am high on the subject of nature, a post from the past. In the early seventies, in my college, sophmore summer, I lived with my parents. My gal pals and I smoked hash outdoors that entire summer. We were no more nature nuts than any other person our age, but we did live in the country and outdoors was where you hung out. That, plus this hash was so aromatic, a distinguishable and lingering perfume, that smoking indoors was out of the question. It was plentiful and good and I have no idea how we paid for it. Did I work that summer? I don’t remember—I just remember smoking that hash. And while we smoked in many unimaginable and unfamiliar places, there were 2 smoking sites that stand out, and one pot pouch that traveled with us everywhere.
The pouch was one of those small, plastic circle, souvenir coin purses, this one proudly sporting the name, Myrtle Beach (SC, to those unfamiliar with the South). It was attached to me like an iPhone. One girl would always ask another if we “had” Myrtle Beach, and never just Myrtle, always Myrtle Beach. We frequently smoked in a canoe on the Deleware/Raritan Canal, 2 miles from my parents home. It was a beautiful, moody and neglected canal, thick with insects and branches both dead and alive. It was hardly a destination (even though it boasted a George-Washington-paddled-here history) but luckily for us, there were 2 canoe rental businesses—probably stoner owners, summer slackers who just liked sitting by a murky canal. There were no photos to post, no insta-anything, no accounting of our time or actions. It was perfect teenage freedom.
But it was Sunfish Pond on the Appalachian Trial at the Delaware Water Gap that was my favorite, nature stoner spot. It was a day trip or overnight camp, an hour to get there and probably a 2 hour hike to the glacial lake, and we actually did camp there often, with skill and sass and Myrtle Beach and a mature reverence for the beauty around us that belied our youth. The lake was not as majestic as the art I selected above, but pristine and sun-kissed sparkly, and a complete surprise to the first timer hiker—a turn in the trail and boom, there she was. There were a lot more people around the lake than we would ever see on the canal and smoking could have presented a problem, but not for those who understood the wow of this hash and possessed the best, pot pouch ever. We swam across the 44 acre lake, with a raised arm and Myrtle Beach riding high and dry above the water, carefully passed from girl to girl so that 2 could swim while one carried our stash. We sat on rocks far from fellow hikers, with just enough breath left to inhale. Ah, nature stoner freedom.
It was a wonderful summer, a summer with no agenda other then getting high—outdoors. How perfectly amazing that I grew up in a time and place, amazing that there was a time and a place, where no one worried about girls without cell phones in the woods.
ps – Two afterthoughts: I also swam and ice skated on the Delaware/Raritan canal, and in my hometown, there is a small park on the canal named in memory of my father. And, I have heard (and seen—disgusting photos that I had to turn away from) that the rocks on the shoreline of Sunfish Pond are now covered with sunning snakes—absolutely not so when we were there. Snakes do seem to keep surfacing with me.
art: nancy newman