The crack of a rock against my windshield jolted me out of my autopilot daze as a truck spend past me going 70mph on this undivided back road. Damn it. This was a serious bullseye and I really had to stop and assess my situation. Was it even worth going further? A stones throw from the Canadian Border, I was in northern Idaho headed to a lake I had heard was not to miss.
What originally was imagined to be a romantic escape into the old growth forest seemed more like a disastrous journey into the dark reaches of the wilderness. Smoke from recent forest fires mixed with dark rain clouds, blocking out all but the faintest rays of sun. Sporadically, Those clouds would start to leak rain without notice, only to stop again suddenly.
A wave of disappointment pushed through me and I turned around, deciding that I just wanted to go back to the supercharger and get something to eat. What was I thinking?! I couldn’t turn back now! I was over halfway there and letting an obstacle set me back was not in my nature.
I pushed north with a renewed sense of dedication as the road switched from asphalt to washboard gravel. Giant pines towered over the road, getting more and more dense the further I pushed, lending to a sense of claustrophobia and after what seemed like a lifetime (but was really only another hour) I came to the end of the road and was greeted by nothing besides a boat ramp and a single trail.
It seemed as if the world opened up in front of me though. A perfectly glass lake with the heavy clouds reflecting off of it begged me to stroll up and down the beach. An ambience of tranquility took over the entire scene and a shit eating grin began to creep across my face. I chuckled at the thought that I almost turned around an hour ago. I didn’t have much time to explore. The smoke and the weather had joined forces to bring darkness a bit early this evening. The suns last gasps were quickly fading. Ahead of me, I noticed a trail into the forest and decided it was worth setting down.
As I hiked through the dense foliage, I was greeted by lime green mosses accompanied by yellow and orange leaves, the signs of fall apparent everywhere I looked. The smell of pine filled my nostrils and massive root systems from fallen trees lined the paths. Out in the rural forests, not much light can pierce through the dense cover of limbs and darkness was quickly tightening its grasp.
I pushed forward, not knowing if I was even headed in the right direction. The trail forked off in several places, the only guide being small pieces of laminated paper pointing in single directions labeled simply as “trail” to differentiate the man made from the animal made. I came across several of these laminates ripped up and tossed aside and my as my mind wandered, the thought of who the culprit was plagued me. Was today the day I would finally come face to face with a bear? Concern of this sort would have no benefit so continued forward.
Coming to the waters edge, I stop to stare out over the picturesque landscape. It’s moments like this when I realize how loud the world actually is. Water lapping against the beach. Bugs constantly buzzing a way. The trickle of streams that converge in waterfalls in the distance. If we stop to take a second to listen, the world is always alive around us. How much information are we constantly filtering out to the point where it doesn’t even seem to exist? How much would we appreciate the details if we took the time to acknowledge them?
I realized I had been endlessly staring at the details of life hidden in some lime green moss growing on a rotting tree, lost in the countless shades of green that covered the bark like a soft blanket. Suddenly, I was lost in thought again, consumed with the idea that due to evolution I was related to these mosses. In the infinite expanses of time/space, we were once the same thing.
There was no sunset this night, only a graduate decline into darkness. The thick fog from the smoke blocked out any show of colors. Before I knew it, I was worried about my ability to be able to find my way back to the car. Be Prepared; the mantra of the Boy Scouts that I once followed so well rang out in my mind. How funny that my life has almost turned into a game of how not to be prepared. I too often find myself living on the edge and reminded that one slip out in the middle of nowhere will surly lead to my demise some day. What a macabre thought, yet so apt for the atmosphere this day brought.
Closest Supercharger Coeur d’Alene 91 mi
3458 N Fruitland Ln, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815
314 Indian Creek Park Rd, Coolin, ID 83821