Friday, July 12, 2013
The Perfect Spot
When I was young and on this sort of trip, I was always thinking of places to get to. Now I just find myself looking for places to be.
Early this morning something woke me up. I listened for a minute, but nothing happened, and I was soon back to dreamland. Later, on my post-breakfast walk, I found I had a new neighbor. It looked like a tent down there. And then I thought it might be a boulder.
Okay. It was a tent. I knew this spot was too good to last. I will say the guy took the site as far from me as possible. That's my kind of neighbour.
Another unfortunate event, unconnected except karmically, was that my morning request for new email was enigmatically denied. These guys need to work on their messages. Call in Hallmark. The upshot is that it seems my 3 bars of 3G is wavering over into 1. I don't know why. The only thing that has changed other than acquiring a neighbor is that it clouded up some and started to softly rain.
Dang. I was going to work on the generator this morning. Sure I was.
Instead I drove over to Cottonwood Lake, in and out of rain, and up into the mountains above. The route is 3 miles of gravel road crowded thickly with towering aspens. I remember driving it once long ago in the fall, when the leaves were letting go, and it was like driving through a blizzard of golden butterflies. Today was more sedate, and the trees kept their quivering parts to themselves.
Quite a few fishermen were parked right around the shore of the lake. The FS campground had one or two acceptable sites. I went higher, and within a mile or two began to see camping spots that made me wish I'd brought a tent along. I think many an RVer would profit from carrying a tent along. It broadens your horizons.
Most of these campsites were entirely reachable by any little car, if you are willing to go slow and be careful. But the trees were barked and denuded about 8 or 10 feet up where people tried to pull trailers through them. A few scars were lower. I guess some people have more courage than they have car. I began providing mental band-aids where necessary, but soon ran out.
There were lots of tents, though. From kiddy pop-ups to heavy square canvas army types secured to pounded stakes that looked like lengths of rebar. Those guys must be planning to stay a while.
I continued on up. The object of going higher is to leave traffic behind, but there will always be some, if only the noisy ATV trikes roaring by. A person equipped to park the car and walk away a couple hundred feet to set up a tent behind a screen of trees has a considerable advantage in finding The Perfect Spot.
What makes The Perfect Spot? Well, there may not really be such a thing. It's certainly a moving target. But it might be possible to put together a list of vectors to lead you on.
1. Within 20 miles or so of a grocery store and a supply of municipally treated fresh water.
2. Far enough from the road that got you there for some hope of concealment.
3. Aesthetic water, either a burbling stream or a lake. Beneficent fishermen willing to share their catch are a plus.
4. An inspiring view of some sort. To my thinking there are two kinds, either a shady closed in bit of forest with the possibility of critters wandering through, up to - but not including - a mama bear with cubs, or else a wide open meadow with a clear view of mountains in the day and stars at night. No pillar of fire, thank you Moses. No burning bush. Not this year. Wildflowers in season, perhaps. Either of the two sorts will do, though I notice that when I get too much of one I tend to pine for the other exclusively.
5. As much quiet and solitude as practical. Exceptions happily made for the fishermen noted above. Another exception might be a good 3G Verizon signal, but now we're getting crazy. I prefer a site where, one way or another, I don't need to worry about lowering the blinds at night. And where there is no possibility of being discovered while allegedly walking straight out the door 20 feet or so in the evening and peeing on a tree.
It's an old Boy Scout thing. You probably wouldn't understand.
It was along about here in my ruminations that I found it. Right there. The Perfect Spot.
Screened from the road. Check. Burbling stream. Check. Solitude galore. Check. Birds and other bumbling critters that don't want to be seen. Check. Less than 20 miles to Civ. Check. High enough that the air is noticeably thin. Gasp. Check. No Verizon signal whatsoever. Um.
I did remember to bring a chair along in the back of the truck, so I could sit here in comfort for an hour or so, soaking up the essence of the thing. A place to just be. I remained long enough even to scribble most of this little memorial to The Spot That Got Away. I'm not going to tell you exactly where it is. I might want to come back.
But, but, but.... The Perfect Spot? The sad fact is, whatever you are looking at, perfection fades.
Or is it just me?
Posted by Bob Giddings at 4:29 PM