Long Trip Day 3
Well, It’s not a stretch to say my morning was pretty suckish. It was a chilly one, but the worst part was having to eat OATMEAL for breakfast. Oatmeal was never my thing, but if I ever have to eat it again anything that reaches my stomach will probably be coming right back out again. At home I’d just skip Breakfast if oatmeal was on the table. Here, we have to eat everything. Leave no trace. Eat it, eat it, eat it!
I hate that stuff.
I guess I could have eaten it dry, heaped with raisons and sugar and cinnamon, but since everyone else was doing it I just HAD to pour on the hot water. I wasn’t thinking. I turned the perfectly edible dry oatmeal into a mushy, slimy unappetizing glob that tortured my senses. I cannot describe it in any more detail, only that it looked, tasted, and felt terrible. I was actually crying as I slowly shoveled in a spoon tip of Oatmeal at a time. Finally the counselors took heed of my distress and I plaintively asked, “Is there anything I can do with this stuff besides eat it?”
“Eat it, eat it, eat it!”
That gave me my answer. After a couple more minutes of silent torture Steph took pity and took my bowl from me. “Look, you’re holding up the group and you’re making everybody wait for you. I’ll eat this- go pack up.” I trudged-humiliated-away, and did not need the annoying “YUM!” that came from behind me. The morning was not off to a good start.
Soon we set off, climbing Owl’s Head Mountain. A normal hike, whatever ‘normal’ is. We checked out Owl’s Head Lookout-otherwise known as the peak; which wasn’t as breathtaking and impressive as Hurricane’s but still pretty cool- and I was glad for a rest and a snack. Looking out we could see Hurricane Mountain, blue in the distance, distinguished from the rest by a little toothpick of a fire tower at the summit.
I felt accomplished, seeing we’d come so far. We’d left terrain behind us. We were now deep into the experiencing. Yet, we still had Giant Mountain to climb. It was a monster in our path. Even just the name sounded ominous. How big and bad could a Giant Mountain be? We were about the find out. We filled up on dried fruit and CRAP (Chocolate, Raisons and Peanuts) and continued on our journey.
Around lunch time the worst possible thing happened; It started to rain! At first the air got cool and I could feel a refreshing mist on my face. Then it began drizzling. And then whether we were ready or not, a pelting downpour. Pitta-patta-pitta-patta was all we heard for a long time. I became numb to the sound. I was soaked through; water was dribbling into my eyes. At one point I stopped caring and just plodded a long, looking at my feet, with only one goal: Keep walking, and get to Giant Shelter. Well that’s two goal, anyway. Then in the midst of my concentration Steph and Mazey stopped. We were in the open bed of a dried up brook, and they stopped and said that we were going to have lunch. I couldn’t believe it. We all just stared. Here we were, in the soaking, freezing rain, making progress, and they wanted us to eat lunch? The annoying thing is, when the kids are hungry and want to eat the Counselors make us tough it out, and now at the worst possible time they say, “Hey, everyone, let’s all rest here and eat lunch! Yeah, you all have to eat now, no exceptions.”
Well, there was nothing we could do. Lunch was rice cakes with peanut butter and/or Jelly. That sounded great to me. Except…. It was raining like heck and we were gonna have to eat soggy rice cakes now. I also couldn’t move. Really. Now that we’d stopped moving I started getting cold. My arms we plastered to my body- I couldn’t move. I was frozen. But inch by inch I forced myself to stop huddling, and managed to get a pancho on me. Then I shuffled over to the rice cakes and prepared myself one, finally. Hunched under my pancho, I gnawed on my moist rice cake, then took another. I wasn’t very hungry but it was good to eat. At long last, we packed up and, shivering, plowed onward. I was alright at first, blinking against the rain, picking the local fast food as I passed (there were raspberries!), trying, at least, to think positive thoughts… but then I gave in to tears because, well, I was cold and wet, the trail was filled with roots and hills and I kept stumbling, and my pancho was at a weird angle, getting in front of my right eye, and I wanted to be there already! Ruby tried to cheer me up with a made-up story about some orphaned boy, and I was grateful. And so it was just the most beautiful sight when Giant Shelter came into view around the bend. With a mighty burst of joy I collapsed on the wood floor, finally out of the rain’s reach. We were all still freezing, though. After getting up some energy, everyone peeled off their soaked clothes, dug frantically in their packs for something warm, put it on, and then at long last we snuggled up in our sleeping bags with audible sighs of relief. I zipped my sleeping back with Ruby’s, and we burrowed way down in our soft den. After a bit I started to feel my toes again, and I smiled.