Brokeback mountain Part 1: The toy town of Juliette

The normally “hetero-normative” Weazel recently took a walk on the wild side to Brokeback mountain. At the time of the unfortunate incident an old friend and I were searching for Beelzebub’s bodacious bunghole; but fear not, I have not experienced a late life epiphany in regard to my sexual preferences. I did, however, manage to break my back. More on that later.

Due to the limited attention span of so many readers this narrative will be broken into three separate posts. In Part 1 we will visit the toy town of Juliette and lambaste the Forest Service. In Part 2 we will travel to central Tennessee to visit Lost creek and other wonders. In Part 3 we will search for Beelzebub’s bodacious bunghole, and there learn why Brokeback mountain is such an appropriate name for this series.

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It is my usual habit to beguile readers with beautiful images and breathless prose, then only later to interject politically incorrect comments, but the combination of mild pain and forced inactivity due to injury has made me rather grumpy, so allow me to begin with a rant pertaining to the proliferation of pejorative neologisms such as “hetero-normative” to describe the worldview of someone who is normal rather than that of a pervert whose preferences fall somewhere between those of a priest and a puppy penetrator.

The word hetero-normative does not refer to a person’s sexual orientation, i.e heterosexuality, but rather to such a person’s presumption that their worldview is normal. It does not follow that what is normal is necessarily good, but as a realist I contend that alternative sexual preferences, however popular, are biological dead ends, and are therefore abnormal. Fifty shades of gray? Why not five hundred?

Don’t get me wrong. I have many friends whose sexual preferences differ from mine, and all of them are fine human beings. I couldn’t care less what other people do with their genitalia provided that the persons in question do not attempt to usurp my exclusive relationship with my beloved Dr. Ann, or produce an unwanted child.

I consider the bringing of an unwanted child into an overcrowded world to be the ultimate immoral act, worse in some cases than murder itself, for murder is a crime against an individual; whereas, contributing to overpopulation is a crime against all of humanity and the earth itself.

There is nothing inherently immoral about sexual deviancy, nor do people have any conscious control over their desires. If a pig is the object of your affections then not even a fat girl will do. I recommend that while porking Priscilla you just roll your eyes and squeal softly.

Though it is not immoral to screw a pig, it is perverse. The fact that sex is fun does not change the underlying reality that it is all about reproduction, not entertainment. The entertainment value is merely a means to an end. It is perverse because no matter how hard you try the pig will never get pregnant.

Many people think that sex and gender are synonymous, and that expressions thereof fall along a continuum, none of which is true.

Gender is a linguistic term which has nothing to do with biology. It is a word that has been conscripted by the so called “identity movement”. These are the same “woke” folks who believe that all of us are exactly the same yet totally different, and that anyone can become whatever he, she, or it wants to be regardless of reality. Worse pernicious nonsense has yet to be invented even in the ivy covered halls of Harvard.

Sex on the other hand is perfectly real. Despite twerks and quirks to the contrary, such as the peculiarities of bryophytes, sex changing fish, queer garter snakes and confused penguins, sex is effectively binary in most species and is mandatory for human reproduction.

It is possible that in the future some evil scientist will create human parthenogenesis, or perhaps enable the implantation of a spoogical containing a fertilized ovum into the vascularized colon of a receptive male, but until then buggers will boink without fruition.

Human behavior is deeply rooted in our evolutionary past, so most people have a hard wired revulsion toward any deviance from the previously successful “hetero-normative” worldview and practices of our ancestors. The phrases “Old habits die hard”, and “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” apply here.

The worst aspect of the use of obfuscatory language by leftists is that it enables the rise of populism. Progressives who wish to continue the work of human advancement are foolish to suppose that they can step on the toes of our most deeply seated presumptions. To do so is to invite disastrous reactionary retribution. We see that happening with the rise of Trump.

So, if Bubba finds out you have been buggering his boy, and teaching him phrases like Hetero-normative” and “cis-gendered” then you deserve to get shot. Aside from that, everybody knows that only a pointy headed intellectual would use words like obfuscatory, ovum, vascularized, or bryophyte! So enough already!

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Back at the ranch the Weazel was busy preparing for a trip to Tennessee. I was a bit concerned about leaving Weazelworld unguarded so I did a bit of mowing to make the place look lived in. In doing so I discovered that my yard was well guarded.

A large male water moccasin, also known as a cottonmouth, Agkistrodon piscivorus

This was the second time I have found this fine fat fellow in my front yard. Both times he thrashed about to let me know he was there, then slowly crawled a short distance away to coil up and contemplate being King of the Swamp.

I knew he was a male because he was so big, bigger than my arm! Males are generally larger than females in species which engage in ritual combat. In species in which the males do not fight, such as watersnakes, the females are usually larger.

Among sexually dimorphic species (including us) snakes are better ‘gentlemen’ than people, for I have never known male snakes to injure each other during ritual combat.

One might hope that humans would employ ritual displays to resolve the usual problems of sex and territoriality, as do birds, snakes, fish, bugs, and damned near every other sort of successful organism foolish enough to engage in combat. That used to be the case.

Wait a minute, isn’t that Mel Gibson?

Any savage worth his warpaint would prefer to put on a great display rather than to die for no reason. Go to the frontier, yell imprecations, chuck a few spears, help your buddy limp back from the  front lines, then go home to give the Misses a proper screwing. (It is a well known fact that male aggression stimulates sexual urges in both male and female humans.)

Caption from the August 27, 1945, issue of LIFE. “In the middle of New York’s Times Square a white-clad girl clutches her purse and skirt as an uninhibited sailor plants his lips squarely on hers.”

Deaths were fairly rare when ritual display was the order of the day, but if you actually managed to injure or kill one of your opponents the ladies would line up and you’d be eligible for a new tattoo! (Hence the evolutionary advantages.) It was a sustainable system until technology enabled remote killing. How could we be so stupid as to screw up a good thing like that? Nevertheless, we did!

But humans can think, so what about minimizing bloodshed with a code of honor, such as when knights in shining armor protected the weak and professed chivalric love? Turns out that was just a story from one of those romantic novels that drove Don Quixote insane. In reality they were all rapists and murderers.

Meanwhile, all is peaceful back at the pond. Mr. Moccasin is much too big to be challenged, and if it came to a fight the lesser male would not be harmed, merely dominated. He would be sent away to eat a few more frogs, then return to joust another day.

Would that we could behave in such a restrained and dignified manner as the noble moccasin!

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Thus assured that Weazelworld would be safe in my absence, I headed north to central Georgia.

My first camp was in the little visited Oconee National Forest in the piedmont region not far north of Macon. The Oconee NF is an administrative district of the better known Chattahoochee National Forest in north Georgia. It is named for the Oconee river which joins the Ocmulgee to form the mighty Altamaha river which drains the entire center of the state.

The administrative districts of the Chattahoochee Oconee National Forest

Given its central location, and relative proximity to the megalopolis of Atlanta, one might suppose the Oconee to be overrun with eco-yuppies, or at least hunters, but hardly anyone ever goes there. It is simply too ordinary a place to draw attention. There are no craggy mountains or old growth forests, and the rivers run brown with mud. The entire place was cleared and heavily populated until Sherman undertook his infamous March to the Sea, then the depression finished off the last of the homesteaders. Now the place is a sea of hills, trees, and nothing else.

In theory, one should be able to camp almost anywhere within a National Forest, but that doesn’t sit well with the Possum cops who run the Forest Service. Unregulated camping means problems, and problems mean work, so no amount of Google searching will reveal the now secret locations of the many campsites within the Oconee. For that you need an old printed map, and I’ve got thousands of old maps!

I selected a remote campsite not far from the non existent town of Gladesville. It was a bit difficult to find, for many of the old roads have been closed and the route numbers have been changed to confuse the innocent. I cannot help but see the sinister side of this.

Limiting easy access helps the forest to recover from past abuses, but to what end? It is true that Forest Service management practices have improved somewhat from the bad old days when Smokey the Bear put out every fire, and “get out the cut” was the agency mantra.

Nowadays, the Forest Service invites everyone to visit the “Land of many uses”, but makes it increasingly difficult to do so. What if birdwatchers or other troublemakers were to notice the clearcuts just beyond the “beauty belt” adjacent to the highway? The demand for pulp to produce junk mail is down, but the demand for biomass is up, so the threat remains.

I arrived at twilight and was dismayed to see that the ground was covered with what looked like pebbles. Nobody wants to camp on pebbles! But then I looked more closely and was astounded to see that the pebbles were actually shell casings from every possible caliber of bullet, thousands of them. It looked like the aftermath of a war! Most astonishingly, the drunken Rednecks who had fired off the fusillade apparently thought it would be fun to drive misfired bullets into a stump with a hammer. What could possibly go wrong?

But there was no gunfire that night, and nary a soul, only the mournful song of countless Whip-poor-wills, the most I have heard in years. I found this puzzling for Whip-poor-wills are predominantly northern birds; whereas, Chuck-wills-widows, a closely related species, used to be common throughout the south.

I have observed a precipitous decline in the number of Chuck-wills-widows here in Florida. Are the Whip-poor-wills taking over? I also noticed that many of the Whip-poor-wills were slurring their songs like a carpetbagger pretending to say “y’all”. When will they learn to speak proper Southern? We don’t need no damned Yankee birds whipping our poor Wills, we can do that ourselves, so I say send ’em back north and build a wall!

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Speaking of absurd anachronisms, the toy town of Juliette was located nearby, so the  following day I went there for lunch.

Juliette is my favorite town in Georgia, mostly because it isn’t really a town at all, just a one block long movie set. The actual town is a ghost town full of ruins.

The Weazel loves ruins! There is nothing I like better than to see the great works of man being reduced to dust by entropy, so for me the abandoned mills of Juliette are a perfect playground! Allow me to add that the Ocmulgee is full of fish and a great place to kayak.

Perhaps you have seen the 1991 movie, “Fried green tomatoes at the Whistlestop cafe“? It is all about a lesbionic southern Granny who whacks her lover’s abusive Hubby over the head with a frying pan, then barbecues him and feeds him to the patrons of the Whistlestop cafe. The investigating cops proclaim the barbecue “the world’s best!”. The novel takes place in Alabama, but the movie was produced in Juliette, hence the rehabilitation of the general store into the Whistlestop cafe, and the unbearable cuteness of the boutiqued main street.

Twenty eight years later the Whistlestop cafe is still so popular that I had to wait for an hour to get seated. Needless to say I ordered barbecue and fried green tomatoes. It really is the world’s best!

Juliette is located near Macon just above the fall line of the Ocmulgee river. The phrase fall line refers to a place where rivers become unnavigable, and the hard rocks of the piedmont give way to the sediments of the coastal plain.

Most major cities in the eastern United States are located somewhere along the fall line because it was the first place a settler could build a proper water powered mill. So, in theory, Juliette, or perhaps Macon, should be the capital of Georgia, but Atlanta got the railroad so Juliette faded into obscurity.

The tiny town snoozed for about 100 years until the existing concrete dam was built in 1921. Then came a railroad spur, and a bridge across the Ocmulgee that joined what had previously been separate communities. These improvements stimulated the construction of large mills on either side of the river. The mill in Juliette grew to become the world’s largest water powered grist mill, then shut down in 1957.

Very little information is available about the history of Juliette, so it is not clear which of the two mills was the grist mill, but I believe it is the one on the west side which is still standing.

Photo courtesy Ripe-tomato.org

When I first visited Juliette the mill shown above was being used as a Harley chop shop, but now it appears to be a failed eco-tourism venture. There are nice cabins along the river, but these too seem to be abandoned.

The old dam and textile mill in East Juliette are much more interesting because nothing whatsoever has been done to restore them. Despite countless floods the dam still holds! Here you see the turbine house, which long ago stopped producing electricity.

The east Juliette dam across the Ocmulgee. Image courtesy urbanbaboon.blogspot.com

Here is a view from the above structure looking west toward Juliette.

This is the place to fish!

Countless teenaged rednecks come here to party, and no doubt occasionally kill themselves, for there are dangers aplenty! No one was around while I was there, but nearby gunfire echoed up and down the river. The local hoodlums had improved the place by tearing down a fence which gave me access to previously unexplored ruins beyond.

All that is left of the old East Juliette textile mill

The place must have been enormous, but all that is left are a few brick walls and the silo seen in the distance. The vegetation is so thick that it is almost impossible to penetrate. There were inexplicable pieces of machinery scattered about.

What were these massive parts? And how did they come to be sitting alone on a concrete slab?

The few buildings still standing served as a canvas for the local artists and poets.

Does this mean that he loves haters? Or does it mean that he both loves and hates her?

Some arduous bushwhacking led me to the great silo, or whatever the heck it was? It couldn’t possibly have held water. If it was grain how did they fill and empty it? There was a small door at the bottom, and the vertical pipe seen here, but no other infrastructure. Will some geometrician please explain to me how a rectangular window can cast an elliptical sunbeam?

Looking straight up more than 100 feet in the great silo

Nearby was a sinister cistern of unknown depth.

A great place to throw a dead body!

I was still puzzled as to the purpose of the ruins, what had been made or done here? That was when I found the manager’s house lost in the woods. Inside I discovered a massive steel safe worthy of a frontier bank.

Give me all your money!

Try to imagine the disappointment. Billy Bob and his bandit buddies discover the safe in an abandoned building. What’s inside? Gold no doubt! Or at the very least payroll cash! So they work late at night to open the safe, finally employing cutting torches. Their hearts are filled with hope, soon the riches will be ours! At last the door creaks open to reveal ledgers and thousands of cotton seed receipts, but nothing more.

As mentioned, Juliette is located along the fall line, so I headed a short distance east to Little falling creek, an obscure stream that cuts across a granitic outcrop.

Little falling creek in the Oconee NF

I wandered downstream to a rich alluvial flat with tall trees. There, beneath the bark of a fallen giant, I found a DeKay’s snake, the species that first led the Weazel down the path to herpetological perdition.

Storeria dekayi

The DeKay’s snake is America’s only urban snake. I found my first one beneath an old boot on the grounds of my elementary school in a Washington DC suburb. 65 years later I am still looking for snakes.

A short distance away was my little friend’s nemesis the scorpion!

The Southern devil scorpion Vaejovis carolinianus

What a world of drama there is beneath the bark!

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My next camp was further north in the Chattahoochee National Forest along Mill creek near the Cohutta wilderness. While in the wilderness I hiked several parts of the lower Conasauga river trail, and the head of the Jack’s river trail.

The Conasauga is a small river which arises in northwestern Georgia, flows briefly into Tennessee, and then into Alabama. It is only 93 miles long, yet this short stretch hosts greater aquatic biodiversity than the sum of life in most rivers throughout the entire western United States. My photographs are woefully inadequate, so here is one by my good friend Alan Cressler.

Courtesy Alan Cressler

The lower Conasauga river trail was in very bad shape, and in some places it had completely disappeared. There were numerous river crossings, but it was pure pleasure to wade the icy waters in the steaming heat. Along the way I ran into an enormous bear, then moments later a bobcat. There were numerous birds, and some fish, but the salamander count was sadly down.

Along the Jack’s river trail it was heartbreaking to see the skeletons of the giant  hemlocks, some standing, some fallen. Until recently these were the largest trees in the Cohutta wilderness, but their like will never be seen again.

The forest was not in good shape. Past mismanagement, uncontrolled fires, and insect infestations have left the place a mess, but as designated wilderness the Forest Service must leave it alone, a laissez-faire policy of which I reluctantly approve.

There are other policies which are less reasonable. The Forest Service has an understandable problem with homeless campers who just will not leave; nevertheless, I do not approve of bullies in uniform who enforce the rules just because they can.

While camped at Hickey gap I befriended a retired CNN technician who was not a bum. He had made the conscious decision to spend his declining years seeing America. He  could have afforded to live in a small apartment somewhere, but considered that a fate worse than death. His camp was neat and tidy, his dog quiet, and he spent his time cleaning up the entire campground.

One morning the old man and I were talking when a cop showed up. This wasn’t a possum cop, but rather a real policeman with a gun who had been summoned to do the Forest Service dirty work. He thanked the fellow for cleaning up the camp, then gave him an $850 ticket for overstaying his welcome (more than two weeks within an administrative district). It turned out that several weeks before someone had seen him at a completely different campsite far away. He had no idea that it was part of the same jurisdictional unit. He was just trying to follow the rules by moving to a different place.

The cop would not listen to reason. He said, “I’ll put in a good word to the Judge when your case comes up about six months from now. If you want to contest the ticket be there and pay the fine or an arrest warrant will be issued.” I could hardly believe my ears, the cop expected a homeless person to be at an unknown time and place six months later, or else! Thoughtless bullying of this sort is why police are so often referred to as swine.

The bottom line is that the Forest Service doesn’t have enough money to manage ecosystems, but it has more than enough money to run campers out of forests that are owned by all Americans.

So, after troubling the Forest Service superintendent to no effect, I broke camp and headed north into central Tennessee.

Stay tuned for Brokeback mountain Part 2: Lost creek and other wonders!

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6 thoughts on “Brokeback mountain Part 1: The toy town of Juliette”

  1. Can the Park Service verify that the retiree was within the jurisdiction the entire time? He needs a friendly pro bono attorney. Alas, I am a biologist and mayor, but not an attorney.

  2. Ah, Sleaze. First, so sorry about your broken back! I hope you’re soon on the mend.
    I enjoyed your writing – full of humor, alliterations, and opinions. My thought: loved going along with you in the forest, discovering decayed buildings and woods. Glad I was in my house, safe, dry, with my coffee. Keep adventuring, my friend.

  3. I moved to my house in St Augustine 10-12 yrs ago. At that time there were hundreds? more or less of chuck wills widows to be heard in the spring. I always called them poor wills. Now I am lucky to hear 2 or 3. What used to be old tree farms are now housing developments.

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