Mendocino Nat’l Forest: Self Reflection

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A cold night.

It was another rainy night until it snowed and the temperature dropped to 34º. The snow was very light (minute flakes) and was completely gone by morning.

But, the humidity brought a dense fog and I could hardly see my coffee in front of my face! It’s clearing now as I sit overlooking “cellular signal valley” but, the journey here was wrought with that fog obscuring the twisting mountain road I must navigate to reach my digital perch.

I’ve driven this section of cliff-hugging blacktop more than a dozen times now so, I’m now familiar with its twists, turns, potholes and fallen rocks laying along its edges.

Speaking of edges (more like edgy), one wrong move and I would plunge down a thousand feet or so—me and 87 pounds of steel bed frame blendered inside the Sienna! Let’s not think about that any more!

Things I’m thankful for.

Well, seven blankets have to top the list. I haven’t needed the zero-degree sleeping bag just yet, although the forecast calls for a low of 13º tomorrow night! 

A very close second has to be my little Coleman stove with its self-contained, hairspray-sized butane can (what would I do without it?).

I’ve also discovered that my new, waterproof boots (Walmart, $40) are a hell of a lot warmer than my running shoes, despite the fact I bought ones with leather uppers specifically for warmth!

My own toilet paper! Government toilet paper that comes stocked in the loo with no flush capabilities is not only too thin with a shiny finish, it’s damp and difficult to keep together. Finally, for this writing (I’m sure there will be many more when I think about it), voltage conversion!

Thank you, Mr. Tesla.

Every time I run my minivan, the converter turns on and charges my laptop, shaver and portable battery jumper. Although I’ve never had to use the jumper, it’s nice to know it’s there—and if I forget to plug in my cell phone sitting on the dashboard, I can always charge it while I’m sleeping without killing the jumper itself.

Neighbors for a short time!

What a surprise! Two fellow campers—both of them male—arrived late yesterday afternoon and picked a campsite (number 3, I think) down the hill from me (I’m in #7). After cooking up some dinner, there was a very loud argument about their plans and off they went, never to return! But, with all of that yelling in my pastoral setting, I was happy to see them drive off.

Way back when…

The sun is beginning to shine on my laptop screen as I ponder the travelers of history. Imagine how early explorers of this expansive western United States were awed by the very same mountain ranges and vistas that have captured my appreciation!

They would travel without artificial heat and the protection from the wind that my little Sienna minivan provides—and they wouldn’t have a little Coleman stove! Surely, they were heartier individuals than I have ever been. I respect their adventurous spirit and their diligence, nonetheless.

Maybe they were lucky enough to have horses!

At my camping ground, each campsite has a hitching post for trusty steeds. Number seven even has a little corral and a horse-drinking, bathtub-sized, water trough.

Oh, I would—if it were warmer (those baby wipes I use to keep clean are always too cold!).

The Forest Ranger

Another Ranger drove through the campsite late yesterday, albeit a different Ranger than the one I met the day before (this one didn’t stop to talk). I know it’s not a very large sample but, it appears they patrol the Dixie Glade camp once a day, every afternoon.

And still, there are no payment envelopes!

Happy trails my friends!

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