July 13, 2005

Definition of Terms

Okay. We’ve been in a different world for well over a month, now, and a whole new vernacular has been acquired. What follows is a handy definition of terms, to help you understand the cryptic language of your Minnesota Northwoods trail guide.

Menogyn Deodorant: Fresh air and clean water.

Menogyn Intercom: A large group of people shouting your name.

Inappro: Short for ‘inappropriate’. Uttered whenever the conversation stumbles upon grounds that are not appropriate for a wilderness youth camp.

On Trail: To be ‘on trail’ is to be in the wilderness. The term is used no matter if it’s a backpacking, canoeing or rock climbing trip.

In Camp: To be in camp. This one gets confusing, as ‘in camp’ can mean ‘at Camp Menogyn’ or ‘at your campsite in the wilderness’. Thus, we sometimes say ‘off trail’ or ‘in camp on trail’ or something else that is equally awkward.

Lumi: A canoe made out of aluminum. On the water these craft resemble floating solar cookers, both in form and function. If you are paddling a lumi, we recommend using sunscreen with an SPF of at least five billion, or else you’ll burn the hell out of your legs.

Woodie: A canoe of wood canvas construction. A woodie is an absolute pleasure to paddle, but weighs 95 pounds and thus is a bit of a bear to portage.

Portage: To carry everything you have, including duluth packs, canoes and paddles, through a mosquito-infested swamp.

Paddle: What you do when you’re not portaging.

DC: Director’s Cabin. The DC is where all our trail guides convene after coming off-trail, and swap horror stories from their trip over cans of root beer.

TC: Trail Center. A restraunt down the the road from camp, where you can get fresh rhubarb malts. They also own the domain name for dorkclothing.com, so if you need any clothing with the word DORK written across it in huge letters, the TC can totally hook you up.

G-Town: Our name for Grand Marais, an overblown, overpriced tourist town on the shores of Lake Superior. G-Town used to be a really cool place, I promise, but it seems to have lost a lot of its charm and glamour over the years. Nevertheless, this outpost of civilization is the only town we have, and we love it for that very reason.

The Muni: Grand Marais’ city-owned municipal liquor store.

The Beach: A special spot on Lake Superior where we convene on our night off.

The Bilge Water: More commonly known as the Blue Water Cafe, this is a sub-par restaraunt in G-Town where we often grab breakfast after a night at the beach. According to DVB, the camp cook from last year, their coffee is the cheapest kind you can order from Sysco.

SOB: The South of the Border Cafe. A great place to grab a cheaper, nastier breakfast.

The Homeless Shelter: Also known as the train station, the large grassy lawn in front of the Grand Marais Public Library. This is where we typically spend our entire day off, with all our people and gear sprawled out all over the place.

T-Bay: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. The nearest theater is in Thunder Bay, so on a day off we will often drive to Canada just to see a movie. It was in this very fashion that DVB and I caught Star Wars III. T-Bay is also the closest place where I can get a signal on my cell phone.