I feel pretty confident that this month, the one that we're only 13 days into, is going to be my most adventure-filled October to date. Coast trips, trail voyages and, yet to be had, an adventure back east with Pony #1. (THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for making this happen for us!! Gratitude in heaps and mounds!)
The first weekend of the month found us plotting to cover as much outdoor ground as possible before the wet weather settles in. Every ounce of sunshine, at this point in the year, is borrowed time. We don't want to miss it.
My brother came to visit for the weekend. Complete with burning-man-leftover braids and all. I suspect that a big part of his motivation to drive three hours north to be with us was that there are three pair of hands that are skilled braid taker-outers. It took a while (the understatement of the year.)
We went to the Redwoods and camped among the sweet scented giants. Pony #2 built cairns on the Smith River bank and we took group selfies in the dark.
Theman, my brother, and I walked through the sparsly populated campground at night where I whisper-cooed about how pretty all the glowing tents were. The boys obliged my romanticism. I imagined couples, head to head and tucked into sleeping bags, reading books by headlamp or plotting the next day on a paper map they kept folded in a pocket.
The next morning we drove to the tide pools and found a heap of interesting things even though the tide was in and the season wasn't ideal for tide pool exploring.
Eventually we ended up on the sandy beach where the dogs could run and the rest of us could bask in the glorious sunshine while the ponies played in the water. Somehow, in spite of my aversion to doing things that would eventually lead to goosebumps burned by saltwater, my brother and I ended up way out in the fridig water - fully clothed - with the ponies and the other daughter + boyfriend. We were literally in over our heads, riding the waves, choking on the intense saltiness of the water, and having a glorious time. Brother thanked me for helping him feel young and told me that tropic waters are way more fun and that sometime we should go to a place where the water is warm. My frozen toes wanted to take him up on the invitation right then and there.
The next day he and I went on a sister-brother date to buy him some new electronic gadgets and we ate the biggest, most delicious sushi I've ever had. Roll slices the size of your palm. The very thought of fish eggs or raw anything from the sea makes me want to gag but I crave a good California roll as much as my brother craves the fishies. My roll, topped with Panko, was to die for!!
He stayed one more day and plotted his three month winter journey in Thailand and Bali and that area of Asia with two friends of his. He'll be leaving the first of December and, no doubt, will experience wonders he's never imagined. He said he'll scope it out so that someday our little family can join him. Again, with the dangling carrots of adventure...
I love visits with him, learning more and more about what makes him tick, what makes him feel alive. There are benefits to "broken home" sibling relationships - the discovery sometimes comes a little later and never stops. I feel more appreaciation for the journey of connection. There's no room really, to assume that you know all there is to know about the person you grew up with because there are so many gaps where we weren't living in the same house. I find it an inadvertant gift of the circumstances.
This past weekend was a different kind of adventure. Theman and I stuffed our packed and headed for the mountains. There's an area I've been dying to check out rich with many lakes and beauty. Apparently summer time brings backpacker swarms taking over the best camping sites and mosquito armies determined to chase off any human for miles around. We waited for the cooler weather to make our maiden voyage into this territory and experienced a serene, totally private wonderland of nature. Not that I'm opposed to meeting like-minded souls along the trail. We can learn a lot from fellow voyagers.
The tunnel of Shasta Red Fir (what a gorgeous variety of everygreen!!) guided us down to the lakes where we camped at Horseshoe Lake (a little father than planned). The sunset was stunning, the fire good and hot, and food tasted better than at home.
This dog...the best trail dog ever. So eager, so loyal, so willing to hunkerdown in a makeshift doggie sleeping bag and stay tucked at my feet all night long. Sometimes also so annoying with the alwayswantingtoplaywithastick.
The first few hours of the night were spent trying to stay warm. Can I just say that the next nobel prize should be awarded to whoever had the idea of zipping two sleeping bags together? Would that be a stretch? We found our warmth and slept hard. (note to self: include the dog IN the sleeping bags next time. She and I would both be happier, I'm sure.) Morning came and our cozy tent hid the fact that it was a frozen wonderland outside. Not to worry, I had twenty seven eleven layers on and we built a big, hot fire fast. As soon as the sun came out it all melted and we hit the trail again, happy little campers with only sorta cold toes.
See how CLOSE we are to the PCT? Such a tease...
I see this mountain from the west side everytime I go shopping for groceries. Never do I see it this close and from this angle. Beautiful. Pony #2 hiked to the summit this summer while at girl's camp. A brutal 10+ mile round trip hike. She's amazing.
One of these days we'll probably have had our fill of carrying our world on our backs into the wilderness. For now, we're savoring every minute.
I sit here at my computer with stiff and sore legs that serve as a tart reminder of the beauty of the past two days and the 8 intense miles of trail we walked. Theman called me at lunch and when I asked him if he had anything going on after work or if he was just coming home he said "Coming home. There's no place else I'd rather be."