The kayak exploded open like a pinata, spilling a hundred pieces of gear instead of candy. A lot of chaos comes in and out of two long hatches. My equipment covered half the Pavleck’s garage. I dropped ten days of food next to it and began to pack.
I used a tent pole to ram a wetsuit and jars of peanut butter into the nose of the boat like I was loading a cannon. Maps wrapped in plastic and bags of granola filled the other tip. My hammock, sleeping bag, and pad went next, packed tight into the nose along with my water filter, stove, and fuel.
My computer went in the back, wrapped in two dry bags and plastic. Then came my tent, first aid kit, clothes, fishing tackle, a roll of duct tape, rope, and jars of salted peanuts. On top, I shoved in my backpack and rain gear.
I slid packages of mac and cheese and instant mashed potatoes into the gaps between dry bags until I’d stuffed both hatches like a thanksgiving turkey. I pulled neoprene covers over the openings, closed the plastic lids, and snapped the hatches shut.
My extra paddle and fishing pole bungied to the back along with the frame of my portage cart. I jammed the wheels behind my seat and my sandals under it. My wallet, camera, gps, maps, phone, headlamp, and journal slid into the deck bag in front of the cockpit. On top of it, I folded my windpaddle and tied on my bilge pump.
It almost looks clean with the hatches shut and everything strapped down, but I know it’s still more brute force than art. It fits because it has to.
The last piece is the little stuffed alligator the Greenbush custodian’s wife gave me. I figure he knows how to get to Florida so I strap him to the top of the deck bag and the boat is ready to go.
Everything I need in 17 feet.
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