Fun Monday #23, Summer Memory 1969
Today's is being hosted by Jenni at Prairie Air. (Boy, could I rhyme a fun Limerick with that.) Her instructions:
Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
Share one or more of your favorite summertime memories with us. It can be a childhood memory or more recent. The memory can be a vague conglomeration of how you spent summers past (catching fireflies, playing outside till dark, watermelon seed wars) or it can be a detailed memory of a specific event. You may write a poem or short story or just tell it like it was. The main idea is to communicate the essence of summer and what symbolizes the season in words and/or pictures.
My contribution once more strays slightly from the rules. The following is a most unfavored summertime memory - but I hope it will be a favorite for you. Join the other participants and their memories by clicking here.
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Mom spent her first 19 years as an itinerant worker. Dad was a self-described hobo for almost as many when they met. When they said “I DO” I believe they were promising each other to love, honor, obey and to never cook over another campfire, pack another tent, or sleep on the ground again. We, therefore, were not a camping family.
Fast forward to the summer of 1969. I, their youngest child, accepted an invitation to visit my older sister Sandra who lived in Bozeman
My brother in law Brent loved to back pack. Sis was learning. I was eager for a promised weekend exploration with them and some of their friends into the
The plans altered when Brent was called in to work. Their friends said I was welcome to accompany them.
Sandra showed me how to pack the essentials such as extra socks. I had new sneakers but no hiking boots.
“Food is more important than mascara,” Sandra insisted, and I petulantly removed hairspray, rollers, and lipstick. (Teenagers!)
When we finally hit the trail I was with four strangers: their friend, his two (younger than me) teenage daughters, and his pre-teen son.
It was a beautiful Montana Sky and a trail that climbed straight up towards it. By the time we hit five miles I was pee- oh -oh- pee - eee – dee, POOPED.
The rest of them stopped and stared when I removed my pack and dropped to the ground to examine my blisters.
“I think I need to go back,” I panted.
That would have been a great time to have a cell phone, but they weren’t invented yet.
“If you go back to the car,” the man told me, “you might have to wait there for two days.”
So, he picked up my back pack and carried it on top of his for the rest of the climb. By the time we reached the chosen camp spot I was feeling terribly guilty and quite a bother.
After setting up my sleeping space and being a drag on their efficient dinner routine, I was relieved that the sunset allowed me to skulk and slither into my bag. There I shivered all night from the high elevation cold, lay on seventy-jillion sharp rocks, and resisted the urge to go relieve myself because I was scared spitless.
The four of them greeted the morning with the same competent and eager attention they had displayed the previous day. In short order they were ready for the day hike on their agenda. (I kept my thoughts to myself –hadn’t we hiked enough already?)
The back packs were staying and I thought I could handle a hike just fine. An hour in, the trail narrowed and curved up a steep cliff.
“Are we going to cross that?” I questioned with disbelief.
One of the girls waved her hand at me as though she was dismissing my fears and replied, “We’ve done it bunches of times!”
The little boy smirked.
I followed them slowly, one foot in front of the other, trying not to look at the 300 foot drop off. Then the path literally disappeared and I watched them find foot holds on rocks and dig their fingers into solid ones above their heads pressing their bodies flat against the sharp slope.
“Hey you guys,” I called , and heard my voice echo on a canyon wall. “I can’t do this, I’m going back to the campsite.”
After assuring them I could find my way back, I slid on my behind sideways until I was away from the ledge.
I made a few wrong turns and read “lost hiker” headlines in my worried thoughts.
The campsite finally came into view on the wrong side of the canyon. Rather than retrace my steps I chose to trudge through some nasty looking brush and trees growing atop another steep drop off.
I was halfway across when the tangled alpine trees and brush began thrashing violently. The sudden pounding of my frightened heart drowned out the rustling of an approaching beast. This was Grizzly country so I prepared to throw my body off the cliff into the frigid water below. When it broke through into the clearing, a beautiful 8-point buck looked at me with disdain, turned gracefully and disappeared over a ridge.
I poured to the ground in a puddle of relief. Picking myself up to finish the trek, I vowed to never leave the campsite again.
They hiked again the next day, but I remained with the rocks by the lake shore. Any memories of the hike back to the car and drive home are a blur.
I never backpacked again.