August 7, 2013
Day 5: Don't Forget
Yesterday we found a patch of wild strawberries as we were walking so we stopped to harvest some and then packed them safely away to save for breakfast. Well, this morning we got to enjoy our oatmeal topped with the plump delights. Oh, so delicious... especially after yesterday's egg gruel!
You did laundry at a nearby stream before we headed out for the day. I had to take a picture to document the monumental occasion! The laundry soap was lavender scented and you smelled delightful afterwards, much improved.
Since day 1 we've seen a ton of mushrooms! The first time I saw them I was like, "Look at those cute mushrooms! Oh, there's more. 10, no 15 mushrooms. Oh, my goodness!" I then decided to count how many I could find because a)I had never seen such cute little things and, b)there's not much else to do while walking mile after mile for days. It wasn't long before I had counted more than 500 mushrooms. There was no going back though, I had to see this thing through to the last day. I'm now on my 2, 562nd mushroom. I thought you might like to know. I've counted at least 7 different varieties. Just thought you might want to know that as well.
Public Service Announcement: the cute red ones are poisonous.
One word to sum up our mid-day break: bliss. The weather, food, company, scenery and activities were perfect. I'll never forget, this magic moment. It will truly, "last forever till the end of time." I want to wrap it up and put it in a jar so that on days when I'm feeling discouraged or overwhelmed I can take it down off the shelf, open the lid, and breathe in the perfection.
Not long after our perfect morning ended, the trail started to get sketchy. We were entering fire country. With no trail to guide us we had to rely on the map and GPS.
You pointed out this view to me as we were walking. I love the stark contrast of the burnt trees against the blue sky and the green hope springing up from the ground:
Every direction we looked, we saw the devastation of wild fires. We soon came to a part of the forest where older fires had been and the new growth was much taller and wild. I had to stay close to you because I could barely see through the dense aspens. We had a little tune we would whistle when we lost each other. Every time it happened I panicked, even though we were only separated for a short time.
Mile after mile we tried to make our way. Because we were walking through so many trees, weeds, bushes and shrubs we were constantly getting scratched. At one point I looked at my arms and legs and noticed they were really red and splotchy. Well, since my allergic outbreak a few years ago that landed me in the ER, I've since learned what I'm allergic to: weeds. Are you kidding me? Weeds?! Weeds are everywhere and apparently I'm highly allergic. You told me to quickly go to the stream and wash my arms and legs and then you medicated me heavily. I had to then put on pants to protect my legs. It was terribly hot because there was no shade to offer relief. The map was no longer a reliable source of direction because the fires had re-directed rivers and terrain. We had stop to rest a lot more than usual to assess blisters, refuel, rehydrate, remedicate me, and to consult the GPS.
It was exhausting both mentally and physically.
It wasn't until we reached the top of the mountain that we were finally able to find a spot to stop and camp for the night. Prior to that, there were too many overturned dead trees and new aspens in the way. Our campsite was surrounded by blackened trees and it was ugly and sparse right where we were, but as I looked out across the valley towards the light of the setting sun I could see the progress we had made and I was grateful. It made me really appreciate the days when we had a trail to follow and the way was relatively easy.
Note to self: Don't forget. When life is ugly and dark, remember there is light in the distance, you just have to turn your face towards it.