Sometimes you miss the best scenery watchin’ where you’re going—Frank
Riding a horse on the trail is near like bein’ a truck driver on the road—a bird’s eye view down into places most folks think ought to be private. I told LT this piece when I dropped by his place—I think he actually peed himself. I won’t do that again. Bein’ careful who you talk to is important, and he may just remind me about this the rest of my life—plus everyone else. He knows how I was raised in the strict confines of religion—and so do I—most of the time.
I’ve hiked nearly the entire Pacific Crest Trail within the Washington border and a thousand other miles between, and never saw what I’ve seen riding half that time on a horse. Walkin’ you spend a lot of time checkin’ the trail and watchin’ your footing to keep you upright—like one time I was on an eight day backpack from Darrington to Stevens Pass. I’d been into it about sixty miles or so when I stepped off the edge and rolled down about fifty feet. I crawled out of it ok, but one second of distraction at the wrong time can be a catastrophe in the back county. Riding a horse alleviates a lot of that—it also makes me about nine feet tall which allows me to see, and seein’ too much in the pejorative sense can make you go blind, according to my mother.
A lifetime of parental warnings does not necessarily protect you from anything, sometimes goin’ blind can be a real eye opener—Frank
My first time seein’ nature happenin’ in the human sense was from the trail, and it looked like more of a scuffle than I had imagined it would. A hiker would’ve never seen it bein’ too short, and that particular part of the trail was a little bit technical, so watchin’ your footing was important—I caught a glimpse of a red blanket down my the stream, so I backed up my horse just a touch to see what was going on, peering over the brush I aimed to solve this curious eye catching red amidst the greenery. Nature was taking its’ course in the wild—two buck naked souls in a passionate tussle. I sat back in my saddle for a spell and watched. I decided I’d better move along…but then I watched some more. I thought for a minute there something was wrong ’cause she was hittin’ him on the back and makin’ a lot of painful noise, but after they were done doin’ what they were doin’ she gave him a big hug.
It wasn’t at all what I expected, but I did find myself pressing my toes hard into the stirrups. Maybe I was gettin’ my footing there a little bit too. The year before I was in Jamaica and we went to a nude beach—optional, but the only people that had no clothes on were the ones that should’ve. This wasn’t like that at all. I thought about it quite a bit over the next few days, then I thought about it again…and then some more—hell I was seventeen, what was I supposed to do?
Some people aren’t so subtle or sneaky about their nudity. I was headed down to Deroux from Gallagher Head Lake and there was a female hiker coming alone up the trail—topless. She stepped up on the high side to let me pass, said hello, and I said hello back—but what I was thinkin’ was a whole lot different. Keepin’ eye contact is not as easy as they say it is, and back to nature was takin’ on a whole new view for my wanderin’ ways—and eyes.
Changing your thinkin’ is hard…especially when you don’t want to—Frank
I reminded myself of Saint Augustines prayer when he was a young man. “Lead us not into temptation Lord, give me chastity,” he prayed, “but not yet”. I did a lot of thinkin’—and even more thinkin’ after this happened.
Bein’ on my way to base camp one day I came up to Lake Ann and stumbled into another situation once again, but things aren’t always the way I’d been raised. I was heading up from Van Epps, and from that direction the lake is just appears in front of you with no warning—a bit of a nice surprise. Coming in from the top you get a bird’s eye view and you can see what’s ahead of you, but not this way.
It doesn’t matter where you are, only the direction your headed—Frank
I wasn’t payin’ close attention and rode right up to the lake to see two guys standing there on the boulder naked, holding hands looking at the water. They heard me, and when they saw me they just looked over their shoulders and said hello, then the taller one jumped down and walked over to me to ask a couple questions. We talked a little about the area, then I let them know that the ridge on the trail to the west had the best view of Mount Rainier anywhere—it’s amazingly close as the crow flies, and breathtaking to see, to say the least. My household growing up was a modest bunch, so after contact of this nature I had some thinking to do, and somehow nudity didn’t equal shame anymore. When I told the story to LT he said I looked like I’d seen a ghost. And that ain’ all I’d seen, that’s for sure, but un-seein’ is a whole other story. That makes two things I know.
If you look around and cut through all the deception, things are rarely what you’ve been told—Frank
I guess if you spend enough time anywhere you’ll find oddities and different ways of life. Funny it was the open wilderness where I slowly started to see life from another point of view, although a bit of it was a little too “up close” at the time.
Things aren’t always what they seem, even after they seem like it—Frank