I should not be blogging this early in the trip. It hasn’t been 24hrs since I’ve left my family but I hitched a ride 22 miles to the Bemidji library because it’s raining, therefore I can’t paddle, and I refuse to hang with the wolves all day. Yes, wolves. It’s no secret I rely on my heart to decipher different feelings but mid-paddle yesterday I couldn’t even rely on that. Because my stomach ate it. Yesterday is hard to talk about. Only because deep down I know I have a similar day ahead. I should have brought a shot gun. Like some witchy notion I’m always telling you guys I get, a friend texted he’d like to teach me to shoot a small gun when I hit the Twin Cities even before I told him about the wolves. Hopefully, I’ll grow out of my fear and I won’t want to learn by then. This is all good, you know. I glorify things in my mind and it’s about time I find out what’s really out there. It’s just not good fun, I guess. I gripped my mace in one hand and my fillet knife in the other, Boe (my stuffed dog) under my right armpit, and stared straight up into the sky for 8hrs just as I predicted I would. I listened to the alpha male gather his pack (because apparently the afternoon meeting wasn’t enough) and the grunts of the bear on the other side of the river.
It started pouring this morning so I moved under the logs. I hadn’t set my tent up last night. In fact, there wasn’t time to set anything up. I had only 15 minutes before dark, so I slapped my hammock to a tree, wrapped myself in the bug net that is actually supposed to surround the hammock, and eventually made good friends with the mosquitoes buzzing in my ear. They really were a saving grace. Mosquitoes, of all things. Their sounds blocked out the other forest noises that were un-dramatically debilitating me. Boe, if you are wondering, was useless. My own fault, he’s too old for these things and didn’t even want to come in the first place. I made him though.
After I made the decision to walk to the closest town, a friendly woman brought me to her house. You see? I always scream ‘I need help’ without uttering a sound. I wasn’t crying either. That’s the only success of the day. I haven’t cried. She let me call my mom which I insisted was because I wouldn’t have service for a few days and didn’t want her to worry but we all know better. Heather (the woman) and her husband confirmed that there are a pack of wolves in the neighborhood and “not to scare you, but mountain lions too.” I laughed, thinking he was kidding. He was not.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to ask Heather if I can camp in her yard tonight. She is close to the landing. Otherwise, Tina has a friend here who is quite an expert with the outdoors. Maybe he’ll have some advice. And sometime after 2pm the owners of a local coffee shop offered to drive me “home” where I left everything but my ID and moeny unattended. Don’t shake your head, I already know. I just hope all this stranger generosity doesn’t have a limit on it.
There’s more. Rather, more happened but my heart is still slowing down and unclenching which hopefully is simply the getting stronger process. I don’t like it but I bet it will be worth it. Here’s to growing up!

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