Intense blue sky sandwiched between the pink sunrise and tangerine sunset. This was the unusual setting for mountain camping in the PNW during October.
The Octobers of western Washington State are usually memorable because of pounding rain. This one time, we put up the awning for shade instead of a place to escape the rain.
Dressing in “layers” was essential. Mornings were crisp but by late afternoon I was looking for sunscreen. Then, just in time for dinner, the chill was back. That is what a good autumn in the Cascades in known for… that, and hues of gold and scarlet leaves.
No fires allowed. Not even briquettes. Camping on Wheeler is an expensive privilege. This is a tree farm, the owners income depends on guests not putting the forest at risk. Instead of evenings around the campfire, they were spent by the big back window of the trailer playing Skip Bo, watching the thin orange line that divides the heaven and earth at sunset, grow until, distracted by looking for Mars among the stars, the dividing line disappears into the deep blue of twilight. It never gets old. We had our dogs with us. It is not unusual for them to need to go out in the night for a moment, not something I love leaving a warm bed for, but the reward on Wheeler were the stars! If he wasn’t so stingy, I could have reached out and borrowed Orion’s Belt. Breath taking!
From the landing we chose on the rugged shoulder of Wheeler, we were without internet or cell service. We are not set up with solar and we do not have a generator. Even though we have a cozy trailer, we still went old school. By old school, I mean we camped the way we did when Ray and I were children on adventures with our parents. Without technology we entertained ourselves with walks, card games and books. I don’t remember getting bored. Just the opposite. Technology is amazing, I enjoy it, but screens are time-suckers. I have let them steel away the time I might otherwise have for books. For a few days, Wheeler gave me back that time. A copy of “Christy” was tucked into a basket of items from my desk and I ate it up with hungry eyes.
Honest! I totally meant to immerse myself into study of the Word while the guys were out stalking deer. I love my husband, there isn’t anything I would rather do then spend all day with him, but when he has something else to do, and I am (by choice) left home alone, I find those rare times to get lost in my own head, running down whatever rabbit trail catches my imagination. This is how I expected to spend my free time at deer camp. But I was captured by Christy. I’m not even a little bit sorry about it. A secret place to go between the covers of a book that did not interfere with cooking, hiking or speaking simple bits of conversation with people I love. Books are not like technology. They don’t suck away time, they fill it. They wait patiently while my day progresses. I am not always patient, what happens next draws me back! They make my mind come alive rather then making me feel like one of the walking dead.
Back home again, dreaming, planning, preparing for the next time away. We are planning a different sort of hunting trip in the coming days, low on lavender, we will be heading to crowded Whidbey Island within a few days just to visit Lavender Wind Farm for soap, seasonings and a taste of lavender essence in ice-cream. Lavender is a scent that brings us back to summer. While reminiscing on the lovely days of Wheeler Mountain, I’m listening to the rain that has returned to Everett. Wool socks and sweaters shield me from the chill. I find myself spending too much time shopping for gear, a habit I have when I cannot use the gear I have. It’s time to go again.
Debs… stuck in the suburbs until we can fly away to the wild again.