Last Saturday. Me. Daniel. Olallie State Park.
I’ve told you before about my late bloom in nature-loving. It sometimes feels as though the wild- the forest and all that is earth-toned- is brand new to me. Hiking included. Before my first few treks on a trail, I’d only had experience with camping. A few times with family, but mostly with Girl Scouts. How was that, you ask? Picture a happy camper. Now rain on her. Collapse her tent. Put a spider in her sleeping bag. She’s getting sour. Then tell her that we’ve run out of marshmallows. Party’s over.
I remember the times my mom came with me as a chaperone. Think Zsa Zsa Gabor in Green Acres. Cute, curious, and cautious. Minus the Hungarian accent. And just as out of her element as I was. Somewhere between the moths the size of Texas, the nights without so much as a fan, the ultra-friendly mosquitoes, and the curse of small bladders, mom and I need to get the hell out of Dodge.
You see, mom doesn’t like dirt. Not dirt or germs or ticks or bed bugs or…the ball pit at McDonald’s Play Place. Sure, go ‘head and play. If you want lice.
And then there are bugs. Terrifying. But being the fierce woman that she is, mom would sooner be damned than let one single, solitary, spider within ten feet of me or my brother. Growing up, when one of us screamed “BUUUG!!!,” mom would run like mad to our rescue, grit her teeth in a way that I’ve only seen Dobermans do, and in a feigned calm whisper I’d hear, “Youuuuu, you’re not going to get my kids you son of a gun! Oh Jeeesus! Aaahhhhh!!!” A scene most accurately depicted in The Exorcist.
No one tell her that there are something like two hundred million insects per person on Earth.
It’s a miracle we’ve made it this far.
Hiking, though. That’s a different story.
I love it. Love the sticks, love the leaves, love the tree trunks that look huggable. The crackle, the crisp, the textures. And I especially like pretending I’m in FernGully.
Recommended hiking eats: