So me and Holly backpacked to Ollalie Lake and Pratt Lake and all around.
And my elderly bladder got me up from my Thermarest so I could stand under the night sky o stars o stars o stars.
We heard an owl after dark. We saw a river otter in the lake and rolling around on a log. We ate dehydrated eggs for dinner. And some carrots. In the morning, I held pumpkin seeds in my palm and a jay sat on my finger and had breakfast. Her legs were shiny and black, like her beak.
Coming back, I tripped over a root and landed on my left side, wham! I raised a lump on my left shin the size of a grapefruit. When you have 40 pounds on your back and you're going over, there's no help for it, you go over like a tree in a wind storm. I lay there for a while, feeling sorry for myself. Nobody is gonna come along and offer to carry my pack and airlift me out. Nope. I got up and kept going. And it's one of those times when crying doesn't work either. I did cry about my mother for a while. I blew my nose on my sleeve. And every switchback was possibly the last one and we would be at the car and we could sit down and take off the hated hiking boots and go to Triple X Root Beer joint in Issaquah for fries.
You can tell who the day trippers are. They smell nice. They're wearing brightly colored shorts and sneakers. They may be carrying a bottle of water. Or not. The true backpackers are nasty. They're dirt streaked and have bandanas tied to their tangled hair. O, and injuries. And bug bites. They have survived and can now go somewhere for junk food. Deservedly.
I still have the smell of dry forest path in my nose. It's a combination of pine needles, dust and sweet high air. And the vine maples are beginning to turn red and gold. It was worth it. Always.