What’s Wrong With People?


The Adventurer, Vernon Wade

Vernon was born in the Pacific Northwest and still lives in the shadow of Mt. Hood, near the small town where he grew up. Vernon has spent decades wandering the hills, hunting mushrooms, camping and riding motorcycles into the remotest nooks and crannies to be found in the region.

What is wrong with people? Saturday, my friends and I pulled a truckload of trash out of the woods. This particular pile showed up near a favorite camping spot over a year ago and has been bugging me ever since. Jason was at the illegal dump site when we arrived. He got a fire going so we could start burning some of the trash.

I used the fire to start some charcoal and poured a couple of bottles of wine, some brandy, and some spices into a cast iron cauldron.

Drinking mulled wine while we picked up garbage and burned discarded cabinets seemed to be the perfect way to spend an autumn afternoon.


Jason figured it was about six ladles to a cup, and twelve ladles to make you sit your ass down Jason figured it was about six ladles to a cup, and twelve ladles to make you sit your ass down.

There were about a dozen large garbage bags stuffed with bear grass on top of an old micro wave and some other broken appliances, miscellaneous garbage, and a bunch cabinets. We dumped the bear grass out of the sacks and scattered it under the trees. The furniture we threw on the fire and we dragged the assorted garbage over to my truck. 











I got some spaghetti cooking while we were finishing cleaning up the garbage.  



We’d worked up an appetite, and tucked into our meal with enthusiasm. When we were stuffed with food and had finished off the wine, we sat around in a a stupor, thoroughly mulled.

Birch boletes and Italian sausage in marinara sauce topped with grated pecorino cheese.

Once the torpor had worn off, we struggled to our feet and took a short wander through the woods, in hope of finding some mushrooms. The chanterelles and lobsters were all rotten but we found a few nice matsutake and some hedgehogs, and we collected chicken of the woods from this log. We made our way back to the dump site, packed our things, and doused our fires. It was getting dark when we pulled out. We had put in a day’s work and it felt good.

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