It's been four years since I've seen so much as an insignificant mountain creek. Been overburdened with comfort, now frantic with nature withdrawals, having to settle for photos found on Google Images: emerald pine trees, blue jays on limbs, moonlight cutting through forests, lakes the color of Windex-ed glass. It's much like drinking water that's been doused with Crystal Light... you may feel yourself becoming hydrated, when it reality it's only satiating your thirst temporarily. So you can imagine my joy when my best friend called me up to break the news.
"Monica, Brandon, Joel and I are gonna go backpacking. Care to join?"
of a cell hitting the floor -
Like a bunch of sardines packed in a can on wheels, we headed out to beautiful Cascade: the place where the Idahoan mountains aren't just paintings from afar, but close enough to taste. We weave our way through the spider-like dirt trails, as we each take turns changing songs on Joel's iPod. It's my go and I'm searching through the John Denver list, mourning the fact that there's over a hundred songs by him, and not one of them is Colorado Rocky Mountain High (the one song I could say fit my feelings to a tee). The menagerie of everyone's taste in music made for an interesting trip no doubt - even if Jonathan picked the worst possible jams simply for annoyances sake.
My first peculiar observation:
Humans have been making calendars for thousands of years (the first being more akin to cave drawings and stone tablets than paper). But as long as all that has been going on, the mountains don't care that August is expected to be sultry as November is expected to be chilly. Cause June took her first baby steps with a stubborn December mindset - a meandering way to say it was cold enough to freeze your nads off. The mounds of five feet snow made it all the more comical the fact I was wearing plaid shorts. Mother Nature wasn't going to be kind, I could tell.
struggling to stand -
our packs full of crockery
It was breezy at first. We would practically glide down the mountain side, using our backpacks as a counter balance. The snowy counterpart to kangaroos, we were. The glistening flakes were thick enough to snowboard down - granted I never touched a snowboard, let alone ridden one. But after seeing this it gives me ideas...
Monica smiled for the camera, as I fumbled for my iPhone, a smile that didn't even require the forcible Say Cheese! nonsense. It wasn't waiting for the camera flash, but the other way around. Now you might be calling that rather pathetic, but I brought my iPhone along simply for the function of capturing memories. Angry Birds just don't compare to the real ones, sweet with lilting songs.
My second peculiar observation:
Google Images is an absolute horrid plagiarist; some beauty just can't be encapsulated despite all our advances in high-def technology.
The downward slope finally leveled out a bit, if only for a few minutes. Truth be told the path never stopped declining - some routes were simply more apparent than others. Our group of five walked single file through the trees, all basing our faith that Joel (a person who has been to the site once when the trail WASN'T covered in snow) would lead us in the right direction. And here's another interesting fact; this was no official trail, but a hike through the purest of adventures, unpredictable and unreliable.
crushing pine needles
with un-gloved fingers -
roaring rivers beneath the snow
The first time my whole leg collapsed into the fragile surface of the snow made me realize just how far above the dirt I was walking. I'd ask Brandon for assistance with a beet red blush on my cheeks - I blamed it on my fair skin falling victim to the sunny day. From then out I tiptoed with exaggerated caution, my heavy pack helping me just as much as it was hindering me. For even a foot drop had to be taken with a grain of salt. Everyone had to adjust to the added weight (except for Monica, with her light load of a sleeping bag, nothing else). I'd very ungracefully glide through twigs and pesky low branches, oblivious of my bare legs. In all honesty the cold didn't get to me, just the scratches of neighboring trees is where my concerns lied. At anytime I could have stopped the whole gang, beaming, "Wait a spell and let me put on some pants for crying out loud". Course that never happened, my clothes were in the bottom of my pack, and I was no where near desperate enough for monkeying around with that sorry mess.
slanting down the cliff edge -
Joel, with his redneck stubble, beams up at me, "Every hiking trip needs a little bit of adventure, don't rush it by any means!". That's the last thing on my mind - the first is whether or not that rock I'm about to put my weight on is as stable as she looks. It's a very roundabout route, and as questionable as it is, it's safer by a long shot than the first path we took - call it a 103 degree wall.
NOTE: Still working on writing out the rest of my trip to Cascade. It was my first backpacking trip and even though we only stayed one night, the trip is full of wonderful memories.