Soggy when Wet


Don’t wait for the downpour to don rain gear.

Out in the mountains, I would see storm cells approaching. Learned to take my time to prepare, to take a break on the fringe of a rumbling cell; eating, sitting, stalling, waiting, and anticipating. Some electric journaling pages resulted. Half thoughts jotted and smeared by early drops. As the rain started I’d pack up and run like a maniac. I like the drive, I like splashing in the little trail rivers. I like when nothing can get any wetter b/c, as Janis taught us, “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”

Meanwhile, back in Civilization, no less than 3 major fronts mounted just around the ridge, pouncing the very DAY I came back. To be fair, If I paid as much attention to patterns in here as I do out there, mayhaps I would have learned, and seen these coming. But I don’t; so I didn’t.

For example, just because your car has always wafted smoke from under the hood does not mean to always ignore smoke wafting out from under the hood. Sheesh. Craig at AutoVisions is probably the only mechanic in the state who would accept a car from an owner who said, “I’m just going to leave her with you and walk to the other side of the State for a month.”

Nonetheless, I had over 40 voicemails to slog through. Untold emails to ignore and delete, a few to read. Facebook seemed very hurt that I was not checking it regularly. Talk about a high maintenance relationship! Oh yeah, and a job. I tried to ease myself into it, came in for a half day on Thursday and walked in to a staff potluck. Score.

“But you’re not a worker bee. You’re a renegade killer bee.”

Friday was a “full day of work”. The transition was not smooth. I spent an inordinate amount of time applying Dust Off spray to my keyboard. I then explored various other applications, some less successful than others.

On Saturday, I got up, determined to practice normal. Sleep in, eat a bowl of Trix, watch cartoons. Lasted about 30 minutes before haphazardly packing my bag and looking to get out. Anywhere. Literally. I just had to get out. So, with no maps, I decided to stick to familiar turf and dove back into the Gore from the Mesa Cortina TH and headed up for Willow Lakes, where a year ago, the weathers had beaten me back.

I quickly read through a clear and straight up review of the hike to Salmon & Willow Lakes and was at the TH by 12:30.

For the first 8 1/2 miles of this 9 mile (1-way) hike, one gets to enjoy a steady climb and Beetle Kill the local Colorado Red Pine in all its splendour. Every variety of Red Pine is present; dead and standing, dead and leaning, dead and chopped down. Trees in piles, trees in stacks, trees in a massive pick-up-sticks messes. I mean, thank goodness the trail was awkwardly rocky to keep me focused or I may have become too mesmerized by the natural beauty around me.

An angry, booming storm hung in the peaks just to the east. He growled incessantly but refused to put out. So I climbed on, Pavlovian style stopping for rests at the same places as last year. More than anything, I was just happy to be back on the trail. Mostly my body, I think; she knew what to do with herself again.

Dropping camp in the ominous still of evening. The whipping winds, heralding an onslaught had torn by, now we held our breath. But not for long. About 30 seconds after my tent was set up, the afternoon deluge came down. I dove happily inside and felt like just about the coolest cat in town, who’s not in town.

The clouds relented for a bit, allowing me to crawl out and sit in the fresh, earthen smell, watching fish have a huge fiesta down in the lake. It looked like the waters were turning for how many of them leaped about! Slapping each other in the face with fins, fully air bound fish. I was about 3 shakes from jumping in and joining them!

In truth, I had fled into the mountains seeking counsel. And I found it:

I slept soundly. Spent a happy 20 minutes attempting to take pictures of my shadow doing yoga. Tried to play tag with a pica. Worked on meditation; easily slipping into silence, but hard to hold it.

That’s the trick, isn’t it; learning how to hold the silence.

5 thoughts on “Soggy when Wet

  1. Jeannine says:

    I don’t know how you outdoor kids go from the trail, Philmont or where ever you are to the indoor life! My boys get home from Philmont on the 19th of Aug. and start school the 20th! I have been having a hard time adjusting to this Oklahoma heat after being at Philmont. I am a softie, I like a real bed now that I am a little older. But I do love to get outdoors! I think we need to come to Colorado sometime, I want to see some of these places you talk about!

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