My family left for the ocean a week ago yesterday, on Sunday. I packed my car full of my college stuff and we drove down in two vehicles. I was there for four days, for the kite festival in Long Beach. It was nice, as always. The weather was gray and misty, but I think I love it better that way. I took my kite and flew down on the beaches with the tidewater lapping around my ankles, and was happy. I also bought myself a new kite bag to hold all my kites together in one unit. It’s a blue Prism bag, very cool-looking, and I love it. It was expensive, but I’d wanted one for a long time, and Ocean Kites gave me a discount because they wanted to be rid of it, and because I used to work there.
My Uncle Noel and Aunt Margie drove to visit us from Missouri and arrived at the ocean Wednesday evening. They’ll go back up to Seattle and visit the family for a week, after the festival. They haven’t been to our house in 25 years. I drove out last Thursday, from the ocean, and left at 9:00 AM for McCall, Idaho. It took me about 10 hours (plus I lost an hour on the way, from the time zone change), but I made it. My Mapquest directions served reasonably well, with only one turning error. I’d driven the route before, when I left Taylor Ranch to go home. Interestingly, I thought I’d come out through Horseshoe Bend and go up through Cascade, but I actually came out in New Meadows instead, which was fine. I stayed in the Super 8 that night and slept badly*. I was also dehydrated, so I filled my ice bucket and drank the meltwater when I woke up every hour, which felt good.
On Friday morning, I woke up early and drove to the Payette National Forest station and the Krassel office, and checked in with Sam, so someone on the radio would know that I was out in the forest. I then drove 26 miles south to Cascade, about 20 miles east on a little 2-lane road almost to Warm Lake, way out in the Payette, and then 22 miles north on a windy, one-lane road along the South Fork of the Salmon River, to the Jakie Creek/Cougar Creek trailhead. I parked the car and hiked up to Miner’s Peak lookout, to see Tyler.
The hike was very difficult. The trail would be extremely hard to follow (and it’s infamous for losing hikers) if Tyler hadn’t flagged the dickens out of it, so that was okay. But it’s just the incline. It’s about 4 or 5 miles of upwards trudging, not helped by the fact that I’d been at sea level the day before and wasn’t yet accustomed to the altitude. It was also frustrating to not be able to see the lookout until I was actually right upon it, so for much of the hike I thought I was much further ahead than I was.
I spent two nights up there, having given Tyler the surprise of his life. He’s had very few visitors and certainly wasn’t expecting me. But it was wonderful. I’d brought him fresh produce (including strawberries, and I was worried I might have had bears on my trail), and he cooked meals for me the whole time I was there. He showed me the ropes of his lookout, I listened in on all of his radio conversations and grinned at the familiar names, we read to each other, talked, and enjoyed the scenery and the wildlife. He’s in a beautiful spot on a ridgeline knob, much like an alpine garden, right around treeline. We hiked around a bit, and sat up through a spectacular and frightning lightning storm on Saturday night.
I hiked down yesterday morning, and Tyler came with me for a little of the way. He was sad, but I was okay. I blew down the mountain at record speed (maybe an hour and a half, as opposed to the five it took me to hike up), sustained a good blister in one toe from the skin folding, and drove the long drive out, back to McCall to check in, and then back up north through a driving rain to Moscow, trying to make time but also trying to drive carefully (my bike was on top of the car) and not hydroplane. I stopped in Winchester on the way and had a lovely visit with Kim, whom I miss, and she showed me around her place.
I got back to Moscow near dark. I called my parents to let them know I was all right, had dinner with Doc and Carrie (polenta lasagna, which is layers of warm polenta in a bowl with layers of mushrooms and cheese…good storm food), and unloaded the car. I had thought I’d get a lot of unpacking done, but I mostly got my computer set up and read a lot of email and LJ stuff.
I feel a little sad, I think because the summer is over and because the upstairs feels empty, with Tyler gone and me hardly moved back in (although I don’t have too much to do). This is the first time in my college years that I’ve lived in a space without someone my own age. Just me, the Bitterwolfs, and the dogs.
I can boast the second best schedule I’ve ever had this semester. Everything is very close and tight, with no open spaces, and I start around 11:30 and end around 2:30 every day, with the exception of an evening film class on Wednesday. I’ll post more about the classes later.
*I’ve been having terrible insomnia for the past month. I’d lay down utterly exhausted, and then slowly, slowly, grow more and more awake until by 2 or 3 in the morning, I’d be wide awake and ready to run. I had many nights that I just didn’t sleep at all, and I was frustrated, angry, and irritable. Also, really tired. In a flash, it finally came to me what it must be; my Prilosec medication, for my vocal cords. I’ve been having insomnia ever since I started taking it, I have slept well some nights, but I’ve also forgotten the pill some nights, and I get sleepy in the evenings, but have to take the pill right before bed, which is when I start to wake up. I’ve skipped the pill the last 2 days and slept like a rock. It’s not on the list of side effects, but all the evidence fits.