Once more into the Thicket



I am a planner: food prep, the right gear, and long range forecast in relation to altitude,  distances,  and accessibility to water are in my opinion what keeps me from having to use the rescue me” button of shame on my Spot beacon. For all my planning and preparation I often overlook the important details.  Thus I was wearing a pair of boots  I couldn’t remember buying.  As I mocked Ben for wearing  old basketball shoes. Little did I know upon my feet were a pair of meat grinders ready to enact karma from the ankle down.

P1030194 Night hiking a  Texas Big Thicket trail is something like the Blair Witch Project with a dash of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and a pinch of a Goosebumps campfire story  . There is a spooky manner to the way darkness falls upon densely grown woodlands. However, there is also a beauty in the shadows and the songs of the insects and coyote. The forest floor is a carpet of long leaf pine needles,  which rebounds with every step as your headlamp reflects from a thousand spider eyes like small diamonds.

The next morning we blew through fields and streams, marsh, and delta. Ben is 10 years younger, and refused to fall behind the old man. I don’t want to admit I’m old, so neither of us wanted to admit we were tired, or that our feet were bleeding. A little before dusk we approached perhaps the creepiest old backwoods cemetery;  filled with children’s graves, marbles in the head stones, and old metal toys on the plots.  A scene in which one expects an inbreed mutant/man with a hatchet to come running at you through the darkness.   I once camped beside an ancient cemetery in  Transylvania near the castle of Vlad the Impaler, the person to which Dracula is based, but I was not camping next to this creepy place.Ben thought me a bit chicken for insisting upon the last few miles to distance ourselves from the cemetery. I prefer to imagine that my precaution saved our lives from a chainsaw wielding psychopath IMGP0702 Through the dim light of a campfire my eyes focused upon the dark Thicket, and as Ben spoke, I saw our discussion illustrated before me.  This dense wood filled with spiders, bats, snakes, and mosquitoes would to most  mountain hikers be hell on earth. However,  to me it’s beautiful; perspective is a choice. We cannot control the majority of  variables in our lives, but we can often control how we react and respond to those variables. Most life events  in this perspective, are our creation, it will unfold as we act, or do nothing. We rarely get to choose the “variables” /colors and medium, but we almost always can choose what image we will paint. P1030200 The next morning Ben and I busted miles bugged off the trail and with our large packs and excessive body odor walked into Dairy Queen. I couldn’t wait for a few foot long hotdogs. That is until Ben, with a smirk upon his face, said; “how many feet of wiener have you eaten on this trip”? We had cooked hotdogs the first night, and I had a few foot long hot dogs at Sonic on the way too the trail head. I asked for a burger.  Our server forgot to place our orders, when our food was finally ready she dropped it, as I became angry I thought back to the night before. What happened next was my making, and making a jerk out of myself makes me no more than a jerk. I limped by swollen bleeding feet back to the table.

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