u can click the photos to make em bigger.
It took us a little over an hour to reach the lake, running into the crew once more as they practiced misery-whip safety over one of the hundreds of fallen trees on the trail. It added some extra adventure hopping and playing limbo every few minutes. The trail meandered through burn, which is pretty typical for this area, and there were tons of these awesome, huge white flowers. Probably weeds, but thought they were beautiful. For some reason this song came to my head as we were hiking through them. The flowers were like loyal white knights guarding the forest. All the kings horses, all the kings men.
After an instant layer of bug spray, coated with a layer of sunscreen, we blew up the floatie and took turns letting the wind take us to the center of the lake. I kinda hogged the innertube most of the day, it was so nice, I kept blaming the wind and the current for being too strong for me to paddle back to shore.
I would holler, "Hey, Dunk! You wanna try for awhile?" and he would say "Naaaw!" as he swatted mosquitos. When I finally floated closer to our picnic spot, I noticed the real reason he had lost interest in swimming. He's been nerding, I mean NERDING out on birds ever since he took this birding class at COCC, it makes me laugh so much. He was trying to identify the swallow he saw fly over earlier. I kept thinking how much I love that mega-dork while he hunched over on a log, reading about birds when he could be swimming with me and my blue bikini. Finally, we found a way to share the innertube, which was frightening, each kinda half-cocooning on this one measly donut. We made it about 100 ft out in the lake while I paddled and he kicked, until we saw "dark shadows" aka lake monsters lurking below which led to a story from Duncan about a snake he saw ON the water earlier. We got our cold water fix, we were done.
Then we packed up and headed down the trail, because we wanted to be back in time to help our new friends Kyle and Emily make 50 pounds of home-made sausage. This was important to us, as this was alot of sausage to make for an order they received and we wanted to help. We had two options on the way home, to take the trail we came, or to take a separate trail that was only one extra mile. The new trail was called Canyon Creek Meadows trail and looped back around to the trailhead, and we guessed would give us a mountain view of Three Fingered Jack, and we decided to take it. We figured we'd make it back with plenty of time.
This trail, oh my sweet baby cheez'its. It was soooo beautiful! It gradually climbed up and up alongside the clearest, bluest creek I've seen in some time.
As we trekked along, we landed in the most spectacular field of wildflowers at the junction. We were high on the mountain air and scenery, and TF Jack was starting to show-off more and more.
We were nearly to the base of it, and we were intrigued by the continuing trail that would clearly take us closer. The mountain was so majestic, I just wanted to touch it with my bare hands.
After some funny wipe-outs as we crossed snow drifts in tennis shoes, we made it up as far we could go to the edge of the snow line. We sat on a rocky outcrop and I closed my eyes and filled my lungs with the shivery air, the wind cooling my sunburn and skeeter bites. We were out of water, but just kinda sat their and invited the minor discomfort to make us feel more rugged, dangerous. There was snow all around and we were 5 miles in, and we followed a creek up, but whatever we were bad-ass. Water, pssh.
But then on the way down we got really thirsty, so Duncan suggested to run ahead and filter some water. His filter is slower than playing tag on the moon, so I told him I would catch up. I've got a bum knee with my old age, and I had blisters. Plus I wrassled with a tree branch and it won, whipper-snapped me right in the thigh! Plus I was thirsty. I had multiple justified reasons to take my time. This was a video I took before he headed down the hill, and I love thinking that maybe he was thinking about what was going to happen soon and I had no idea!
As I made it to the junction, there Duncan was sitting by the creek. He had already filled our water bottles, and was sitting there sweetly. The sun was just going down, creating little heavenly rays on all the wildflowers, glistening the stream. "Wooooow!" I said, as I happily sandwiched my complaint of blisters between expressions of awe. This was seriously the most beautiful trail I've been on in sometime, and I was just flying high off of it. So happy and distracted by the waves of colorful flowers, green grass, hobbly trees, I snapped a quick photo of him, and the flowers.
And then he snapped a photo of me, snapping a photo of him. What a happy special seashell I am.
Then Duncan stood up, walked over to me, held my face in his hands, and said, "Talia, will you marry me?"
And I could see me in this eyes. I had never seen them so bright and so blue. They were so bright, I said yes, and I melted. Duncan had to scoop me up, and then I melted again. And then we hugged, for a really long time. And then we stood there in the field of wildflowers, prayed together for awhile in the golden evening sun.
We didn't make it back in time to make sausage, and our friends understood. I kept looking at him ahead of me as we walked out of the wilderness and followed him home. That's the guy I'm going to marry, and he wants to care for me. We are going to laugh so much! Maybe we'll travel places and get lost in all the best ways ever! Thank you Lord for this beautiful friend o' mine and this little memory for my heart.