RECENTLY ON TOL:
- A tumblr site dedicated to the people and places that make up Oregon and Southwest Washington.
on Vortex I
Part 2 of 2
I damned near bought the farm when I went into the Clackamas high on acid the day it turned hot. The water was little more than ankle deep, but the current pulled me off my feet and I went through a set of rapids barefoot with just a pair of jeans on. People on the bank shouted instructions to just relax, face up-river and the like. I finally crawled out of the river it seemed like a mile or more downstream; I was quite exhausted. It was almost dusk and it took me until two in the morning to find my way back to my campsite.
After dark on the way back, I remember climbing a ridge and seeing what looked like teepees and campfires for as far as the eye could see; the feeling was of stumbling upon an Indian encampment hundreds of years ago. I stopped several times to ask for directions and would inevitably smoke more dope or whatever so that my progress was impeded; two steps forward, one step back.
Each day the crowd swelled and I had this great sensation of watching a community organize itself right before my eyes. Signs went up, pathways were established, people would do trash duty and the like. The State of Oregon not only had food kitchens set up, but they would drop off pressed sawdust bricks (not pot - I would have known) for fires so that no one had to disturb the forest.
There was surprisingly little if any organized music, just a lot of individuals playing guitar, drums or the occasional flute. There were no political gatherings or rants either as far as I could tell. Just a lot of mostly stoned younger people spontaneously hooking up for sex, drugs and a simple, almost innocent outdoor experience. That's how I remember it anyway.
We had to get back to the East Coast and so we left the day the festival was supposed to start. The crowd had grown to perhaps 40,000. From what Love said about the weather, it seems that turned out to be a great idea.
Just a word about the locals - naturally they were concerned about property damage, but I found them accepting, even curious. And I had never seen nor tasted fruits and vegetables as marvelous as those in town and in the camp.
posted 3 years, 4 months ago
view in context