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The Minds of the City People
Ron West's Queer Chicken Dinner, pages 96-8


Kerouac states about Henderson: “I saw what a whore she was” after Henderson had sorted a place for them to stay and he’d fucked her for two nights and began fighting with her, probably because he treats women like dirt. When she had taken up the company of some other people and that is too much for him to handle, he slams her. Kerouac closes chapter 10 spewing a few of pages of amphetamine psychosis-guilt-laden-gibberish about his mother ashamed of him in imaginary former lives and how miserable and hungry he is.

We all had noticed, at different times, on different journeys, that you could not get high on marijuana when on sustained hikes in the wilderness. Smoking good weed was like smoking nothing at all. There was no point to getting stoned. Hiking above Big Salmon Lake, via Smokey Creek trail across the Swan Divide, a route to take us out at Lake Holland, with 100 plus miles of trail behind us, we’d met a camped party, hosted by professional wilderness outfitters.

It blew the minds of the city people when we’d described our route and calculated the intervening distance on a meandering ten days hike that had seen us looking to the east from the top of the Chinese Wall (Continental Divide) near Larch Hill Pass, exploring the White River country, and then the upper reaches of the South Fork of the Flathead from White River Park to Big Prairie up the one side and down the other, past Holbrooke to Little Salmon Park, and then with a short loop back, now headed out above the Big Salmon. They were a hunting party, we’d given them several trout we’d caught a bit earlier, they were super pleased with that gesture of simple country hospitality and friendliness, and they’d given us each a beer. Then we’d pushed on, we’d be out later that day.

‘Two Buffalo Bulls had walked to a crest and saw a herd of cows in the valley below. The young bull pranced in a circle and proposed: “Let’s run down there and breed a bunch of those cows!” The old bull had replied: No, let’s WALK down there and breed them all..”’

We crossed the Swan divide and walking down we came to Upper Holland Lake, where two hundred girl scouts were camped out. The scout master ladies we met were curious, duly impressed with our hiking ‘across the Bob’ feat and probably horny. They invited us to camp out with them that night. The four of us country boys looked at each other, saw opportunity for BIG trouble, I’m guessing the film ‘Three in the Attic’ had crossed every one of our minds. We politely declined, explaining we had a schedule to keep, there were friends would be picking us up for the ride back to the car we’d left at journey’s beginning (not true.) At Holland Lake Lodge we bought Snickers and Almond Joy candy bars. Weed would get us high again.

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