It's 4th period, 12:30PM and I should already be on my way out. 12:40PM finally brings things to an end. I escape quickly out the doors to courageously pay my gas bill. Why didn't I just pay that earlier than today? What miniscule waste of time I could have shaved off. After the mysterious sandwich and overproduced Filipino fruit I got in the car to begin my trek.
Time was of the essence. The days are longer but that doesn't mean I can leisurely stroll through the wilds. I had purpose. But it was impossible to know what lie behind several clefts of mountain other than a waterfall in the deep background. It was impossible to know what obstacles were waiting for me. The only thing I knew was that boulder hopping and steep ravines were the names of the game. As I descended to my starting point there was the terrible feeling of knowing I would have to come all the way back from wherever I ended up. Sometimes the reverse of the trip is more depressing than anything else. This is is especially true when you find yourself in the middle of sugi trees with a million places to go. You might not even end up anywhere. Then you have to trudge back through all the obstacles that you happily passed but were waiting patiently for your return.
I climbed, crawled, and jumped over rocks from one to the next. I grabbed trees hoping they wouldn't commit suicide. I traversed steep valley walls when the boulders rose up on the shoulders of the stream. The sweat came through my mangled hair and under shirt. Every rock was another problem to solve. It would have been easy if the stream played nice. I was from one side to the other and off into the forests trying to find the best way. Would I remember the way back? The return trip would be a test of memory and landmarks. It's amazing how much you can remember even when you are unconsciously doing something.
A long way from my start and the first sign of others who had walked these parts showed up. A lonely bridge slowly going to rot. Who is to say the last time someone tread upon it. It called out to me, "Hey come to the other side of me, this path will easily take you back." I'm sure it was corroborating with the stream below to play a nasty trick. I know how nature plays. You enter its domain and it tries to cut you down.
I declined and pushed on. The valley sharply rose. There was no way but to head into the forests again. How high would this go and were was that waterfall? A pass along some narrow ledges and holding woody trees saved me numerous times. What would mom say if she saw me now? I already know though.
Higher and higher this strip of hill climbed. Where was it going and what would I find? I wanted to quit. I always want to quit because I want the easy way. I gave myself a lashing. It's not always the end goal that you explore for. Sometimes you end up with nothing for all your travail. It was worth a look to see where this crude path went. There was signs someone had walked here before. Wires wrapped on logs and faint paths of probably nothing more than animals. It was a harrowing climb all the way up there. Find the trees and you will be fine was my thought as sandy rocks broke away from my hand. Lean on the trees lest you want to fall down 200 feet.
The air slowly changed. It smelled of strong fresh water. The sounds grew louder. After that slightly dangerous climb anything was fine. Through ferns and shrubby trees I could see a water falling down steps of rock. A rusted can of coffee reminded me that someone else had been here but surely it had to have been only one. I worked closer for a better view. It was slippery on a downward slope and the I ping ponged off each tree. I was notching my feet at the root of trunks to keep myself from sliding. I was almost to the edge of a canyon wall.
Then my heart skipped.
One tree decided it was time to say good bye. The roots pulled away from the moist soil and left me grasping for a safety line. I caught another branch as quickly as I could. It's scary and not a lie to say when that happens I feel alive. Just don't let it happen again I reminded myself in the time.
I can probably count on my hand the number of people who have seen you. For now just mine.
Over an hour passed to get back. Then I was depressed.
But after this was rest.