30 September 2012

birthday party no. 1, 2012

It's my birthday tomorrow, and I am going with the all party, all the time philosophy. Everyone deserves a birthday week, at least, if not a month. 

I planned a hike on Saturday, a little far away. It was a comedy of errors, in a sense - we didn't have a Northwest Forest Pass, the Forest Service office where we meant to buy a NW Forest Pass was closed on Saturdays*, the road to the trail we intended to take was closed and very sternly marked against trespassers, there was a crowd of hunters at the beginning of the backup plan trail ("Should we worry about getting shot?" I asked. "No, we're the only people up here," they said, and indeed: we did not get shot). But it was beautiful and perfect anyway, because everyone along was laid back and cool with the changes.

The world looked different from one highway south of where we usually hike. The familiar mountains were far off in the distance or hidden completely, but new ones rose around us. 

We ate lunch on a rocky outcropping with the heat of the sun on our heads, looking out at wilderness area. The temperature was ideal for hiking: warm enough to be satisfying, cool enough to keep from sweating. We sat next to a little pond while R. took a swim. "It's quite nice, actually!" he called from the middle of the pond. (Mountain lake in late September: you will not catch me even making the attempt. Everything in me revolts at such cold.)

After hiking, we made our way to the prettiest hot springs I know. I went there two years ago with N. and S., when I lived in Gone West, and I've been on a quest to get back ever since. We had to scramble up a dusty slope to get there, but the little natural pools are on a bluff over the river, and they are indeed lovely. There were fewer nude people this time, which meant that we didn't feel awkward in our suits. (If everyone else is naked, it actually does feel odd to have a swimsuit on, like you are ashamed of something.)

We lingered too long in the warm water, with a break for slices of cake and camping cups filled with sparkling juice. 

The light turned golden on the drive west through the mountains, and it was long dark by the time we got home.


* We got a NW Forest Pass at a sporting goods store only a block from the closed Forest Service office, but when we got to the trailhead for the hot springs, we found out that yesterday was fee-free for National Public Lands Day. Yay for public lands and free things! Even if you've already paid. (The pass is good for a year.)

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