By Dale Angel
A pickup and three car loads of kids finds me winding around and around Buckhorn’s curves trying to reach the summit before someone throws up. Looking in the back seat of my carload all I could see were black teeth, all were eating Oreo cookies that contributed to the car sickness. Soon as I made it to the top, I pulled off for the ones who needed to stop.
We pack in about a half mile to a lake. All seem to be in a good frame of mind, except for those who fight. The older ones take off at a run, not wanting to be found in the company of the younger kids. This is bear country, and I’m uneasy, but the noise should protect us. I’m lost with my bunch, there are so many trails. I’m also a little mad, but I repent when I find the older ones ahead had left M&M’s along the path to guide us. Were those M&M’s in the poison oak on purpose?
We unpacked and began to set up camp. The older ones went across the creek. Their camp looked like pros. They even had a little table. It was to play poker on by camp fire. I was impressed! I didn’t know they knew how to play poker. I didn’t.
As it started to get dark, their beds they had bravely spread out in the meadow…they had second thoughts about. Each began to move closer to the others. By the time the moon moved behind the clouds I counted seventeen sleeping bags next to one another, a community bed.
About midnight a roll of thunder shook the earth and flashes of lightening so close it jarred us awake. We could smell the ozone. It began to sprinkle; everyone came to life. Kids took two saplings and fastened a blanket between them and piled everything on it, with two at each end carrying a pole. Oh Lord! The forest people will come for me. It says on this permit no cutting down trees. As this was going on, I put the skillet on the dying fire. The Hershey bars, peanut brittle, left over sacks of candy melted. Kids emptied their pockets of more chocolate, nuts and some licorice it was added to the bubbling stuff.
Handing everyone a spoon we started down off the mountain. The hot skillet was wrapped in someone’s underwear to keep from burning my hands. The raindrops were getting serious. I walked among them offering hot candy, each scooped up spoons full. The older ones took care of the younger ones without grumbling. They sang ‘This Land is My Land’ with their mouths full of hot stuff…candy or whatever it was.
It was cold as we sat wet the rest of the night huddled in cars. A few sat under a plastic tarp in the back of the pick-up.
What a nice surprise I left for someone!
I forgot my wine cooling in the creek. Maybe the man who hikes in a dress will find it.
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