Just a few weeks ago, I was planning to camp for the weekend near Mt. Baker with a couple of friends. I headed north-east a few hours ahead of them to locate a pre-determined site and set up camp. After driving for about an hour, I finally entered Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest on Mountain Loop Road just outside of Darrington, WA and, following the GPS coordinates my friend had given me, headed toward the site. Abbie, my faithful pooch and I, found the site located right next to a river not quite raging, but flowing swiftly enough, and it was occupied. So we traveled a little farther down the road to find a big open space. The river was down below now, but the heavy woods made the site inviting.
Abbie and I set up our tent, gathered wood for a fire and set about making a cup of tea for me and dinner for her. The hours passed with no sign of my friends. Couldn’t they find me? Did something happen? I had left markers for them so I could be located, but still….where were they? And what was I going to do? Was I going to stay for the night and look for them in the morning? Was I going to break camp and search for them now? Go back to the main road? In the dark? On these narrow, sometimes cliff edge roads? I wasn’t too keen. And it was getting darker by the minute. I had brought enough supplies like water and food considering I was not in a campground, but tucked deep into the forest in a secluded spot. And no cell service.
So I decided to stay. Tend the fire til the wood was gone, then off to the tent for me and Abbie. And that’s what we did. I packed up all the food and put it back in the Jeep (bears and cougars you know) then zipped us up in the tent. It was about 9:30. Not ten minutes later we finally hear the soft beep! beep! of a car horn that announced my friends had found me.
For weeks after that trip, I’d been wondering if I could stay on my own. You know, just me and Abbie, in a remote place, at the foot of the mountains, with no cell service, and at least 20 miles in either direction of unpaved, narrow, mountain road the only way out. So I said to myself “let’s find out”.
We found a beautiful spot alongside the Saulk River for a couple days of rest, re-grounding. Me, I escape to nature when life becomes overwhelming. And overwhelmed was an understatement. Jobs, money, moving from the apartment….my brain couldn’t process all I had to do yet, all that had yet to be accomplished, and savings running dangerously low. I needed to re-group and re-focus.
Best thing for sure: feeling more comfortable and like myself in those woods, at the foot of those mountains, listening to the rolling river, than I have in a very long time. Welcome home.