I promised a post on Amanda’s birthday, and since it was nearly a month ago (it seems impossible), I think it’s high time I wrote one! My days have been totally devoid of creative inspiration, and I’ve been busy baking bread, experimenting with slideshow movies, and researching cameras, so you’ll have to excuse the time lapse between my previous post and this one.
Our family celebrates birthdays by letting the special person choose a special activity and plan the meals. So when Amanda’s birthday rolled around this year, she chose to go hiking. Yes, I know, who knew she enjoyed getting tired and sweaty so much? We’ve been to many of the state parks in our immediate area, and Amanda wanted to try someplace new. So we chose a park with a trail that joins with the Appalachian trail to make a 6 mile loop. It’s a bit of a drive to get there and since Mom wasn’t going to hike with us (smart move, Mama!), we decided to drive over in the comfort of our motorhome. Then Mom could stay there for the approximately 3 hours we would be sweating it out on the trail.
For one reason or another, we got away from the house late. When we got to the park office, the ranger on duty said that a storm had popped up on radar and would be over us any minute, so he wouldn’t recommend hiking because it could be dangerous if there was lightening – if we did go, “it would be at our own risk.” That was sounding pretty scary, so we decided to wait it out a bit and see what happened. It rained some, but in about 1/2 an hour, there still wasn’t really anything going on and the sky seemed to be clearing. I bet you can guess what we did… yes indeed, we held our heads high and marched off into those woods!
Oh dear! I seem to have gotten ahead of myself a bit! After that little rain shower, Mom took Storm (our over-sized Sheltie) outside for a bit of a walk, and came back telling us that she had got bit many times and warning us it would be very buggy. So, much to my chagrin, we put some bug stuff on – though not the really strong kind.
Back to marching off into the woods. There WERE a lot of bugs, but we could deal with a few mosquito bites. We had only been walking for about 5 minutes when it started to rain, and then all of the sudden it poured. It was one of those quick, hard-hitting summer storms: torrential sheets of cold water, dark ominous clouds all around, noise so loud you can barely hear each other; then light rain for a moment or two, the sky brightens, and it stops. Except for the collective drops of water falling from rooftops and trees, it’s absolutely silent. Within minutes, the sun is shining and you can feel the steam rising from the soaked ground beneath you, and (if you were out in the rain as we were) from the clothes on you.
I don’t mind being wet. As a matter of fact, it’s kind of a nice change from being dry. But the humidity from the rain and sun put us in a terrible situation, one that had Lady L and I in tears. After the rain there were more than a lot of mosquitoes. There were swarms of them. You couldn’t slap fast enough to keep them off of you, and if you stopped moving they set in so thick you could panic… which is what Lady L and I did, thus producing the tears.
I kept assuring Amanda that we COULD turn back if she wanted. But it wasn’t bothering her too much and she thought if we kept going it would get better and we would be fine. Well, we got to a rise and we had to stop so I could re-tie my shoe and talk to mom on the phone (Daddy’s keys had misplaced themselves). Both Amanda and Daddy looked down at their feet about that moment, and when they saw more bugs buzzing about than they could count, they realized how ludicrous pressing on would be, so we turned back. Lady L and I practically ran back, flailing our arms about to keep as many bugs off as possible and letting our boot laces drag in the mud instead of giving the bugs a chance to bite by stopping to tie them.
When we got back to the motorhome and flung ourselves inside whipping the door shut behind us, I’m sure we looked a sight! Mom didn’t even crack a smile or snicker, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if she did. She just got busy settling us down and getting us dry. I have yet to solve the mystery of how mothers keep from laughing at the hilarious situations their children get into! Anyway, my skirt was encrusted with the mud my boot laces were throwing around, and my shirt MUST have had squished mosquitoes on it! Amanda and Daddy got back a few minutes later, and we all laughed good and hard about the whole thing after we were free and clear of it all!
And to top it all off, we were about 15 minutes from home when a fat black bear crossed the road in front of us and ambled off behind someone’s house. It was only the second time we had seen a wild bear, so it was pretty neat, though somewhat scary to actually see one so close to a populated place. Black bears are actually becoming a big threat in our area, and there are sightings of them in town every so often.
Thinking over what I just wrote, I realize that God WAS looking out for us, even though it seems like everything went wrong. If the ranger hadn’t been so cautionary, we probably would have started out on the trail a little sooner, and by the time the rain had hit and the bugs got bad, we would have been much further away from the motorhome, and probably would have been forced to finish the trail. It really could have been a lot worse!
But to sum it up, Amanda’s birthday this year was unforgettable, and will live on in our memories… or infamy, whichever suits.
Waiting in my Father’s will,