We just took our first camping trip of the year, a two-nighter to the Old Cascades. Windfall had the road to our destination—Windy Pass—blocked, so I got out my new Gerber backpacking saw and my old Boy Scout handaxe, and went at it. After clearing a few blockages, we began to suspect that the problem wasn’t so minor as we had hoped. We unfolded our bikes and set out to see how far the windfall continued. After a half-mile, we gave up.
We camped in the road, right at the spot where we had stopped our clearing efforts, and tried another road the next day. It too was blocked, so we tried a third. It had a few blockages, but nothing we couldn’t handle. After finding a congenial campsite on an abandoned logging spur, we set-off up a jeep road on our bikes, but ran into snow at 3,500 feet. We can bike over firm snow, but this was so mushy that we found it hard to even push our bikes through. Soon the snow grew deeper, and the areas with snow became more numerous than the areas without snow, but we persisted for two miles.
The third day, we descended to 2,500 feet, and found a biking route that was idyllic. Warm but not too warm; sunny, but with just the right amount of shade; a singing brook every quarter mile; myriad wildflowers; tender new leaves; and, of course, the company of my young bride. I never had a better day. The only downside was that I drug the blade of my saw across the back of my fingers and hit an artery. I was dreadfully embarrassed, the more so because I had drug the same saw across the same hand the day before but with less effect. The bleeder made me pretty much worthless for purposes other than holding my tightly bound hand in the air, but I had been in the process of cutting the last downed tree that lay between us and home anyway. Peggy will now be doing dishes for a few days.
I often think of living in the woods, not in a house, but in my van. I would camp at the end of abandoned logging roads, and hide their entrances with brush. When I tired of one spot, I would move to another. I know this is a fantasy that probably looks better in my imagination than in reality, but it’s an old fantasy, and one that I might try someday.
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