Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 04/02/19: Hayden Lake Hike, About Driving, Eyesight Improved

1. I packed my camera, water bottle, hiking guidebook, and headed out this afternoon for the English Point Yellow Loop Trail, near Hayden Lake. I decided to walk the longer Yellow Loop just to see how I would do. As I thought might be the case, I had a very slow hike -- glad I was solo and not holding anyone up.  While clearly marked, the trail was, in quite a few places, muddy and chewed up by horses having walked it recently, occasionally making it wise to take little detours and the muddy spots I walked through made the walk more difficult on my legs.

I will probably wait until we've had a string of warmer days to return to this trail so the snow and ice will be completely melted and the mud dried. I'm not in great hiking shape (just yet) and this was a good trail for my current level of conditioning. The trail featured one uphill section that was a little steep and it took quite a bit out of me, but, along the trail, quite a few trees had been cut down, leaving stumps that I gratefully used as resting spots.

Today, this trail featured nothing in bloom. I wonder if later on in the spring or early summer I might find more color here. Hayden Lake came into view on one section of the trail, but the view was obscured by trees. However, I wondered if I left the trail and went down to the road below if I might find some better views of the lake.

For the day, over 9000 steps and over 4 miles of walking.

2. I've caught myself falling back into a mindset that I inherited from my parents. It's absurd, but it goes something like this: once you leave Kellogg, everything is thousands of miles away and driving to these places is a big deal. Growing up, this mindset applied to places as close to us as Wallace and Pottsville and definitely included Coeur d'Alene and Spokane and, of course, Orofino.

Since returning to Kellogg, this way of thinking has slowly germinated inside me, especially now that I am living alone. When Debbie was here, I enjoyed the drives we made to Coeur d'Alene so much that I didn't think about it being "so far away", but for some reason this has changed over the last several months.

Months ago, for example, as I was deciding what to do about worship, what with the Episcopal Church being closed in the Silver Valley, I fell into the "do I want to drive all the way to Cd'A?" trap and stayed home for too many weeks and months.

What's helped me snap out of this? Thinking back to when we lived in Maryland. When Betsy was filling in as rector at Dunn Loring, VA, I thought nothing of driving 40 minutes to worship there. Likewise, I went on hikes in Washington, D. C., huge parks in Montgomery and Prince George's County, in a state park near Baltimore, and to Sandy Point State Park on Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis. Many of these drives were equivalent to driving to CdA from Kellogg and I didn't think of them as long drives. I didn't wonder, "do I want to drive all the way to Rock Creek Park or Sligo Creek Trail?" Forty, fifty, even sixty minute drives to places in D. C. or to the suburban parks felt routine to me.

So, today, I actually imagined that I was driving from Greenbelt, MD to one of the places in Maryland/DC where I loved to walk or hike and take pictures.

Just like when I went on outings back east and needed help from the Google maps voice, I needed help today because I wanted to get to the English Point Trail by going through the town of Hayden Lake, driving through the country club, and going on a more complicated and more unfamiliar route. Listening to the Google voice of artificial intelligence guide me actually took me back to driving in unfamiliar areas in Maryland/DC and I enjoyed remembering the feelings of accomplishment I experienced on those half day (or so) outings.

So, I've got this guidebook of hikes. I'm talking myself out of listening to the voices of my parents, still alive in this house, that thought of drives to places like Hayden Lake or Riverside State Park (where we never went) and other places as trips to the end of the earth.

Today was a good start.

3. After my hike, I stopped at Costco to fill up with gas and buy some frozen chicken thighs and went to Pilgrim's to buy some tofu and a few other things.

On my drive home, it was getting darker. Even in twilight, before I had cataract surgery, I had trouble seeing and it got worse as it became darker.

I thoroughly enjoyed how well I could see this evening. Before surgery, the darker it got, the more I experienced tunnel vision. That didn't happen as darkness began to set in on my drive home. I could see farther away and the periphery of my vision was greater. It's a tremendous relief.

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