Sunday

Price Lake


Price Lake has been part of my life for a very long time and yesterday I thought a walk-around was more than due.  The temperatures were in high sixties with large white clouds floating slow and lazy in a blue blue sky.  The sun sparked and jumped off the water in a way that called for a serious re-consideration of the dichotomy of fire and water.  Oh they mix.  And how beautifully.

Even though it was late in the afternoon when I started I thought there would be plenty of time for the two and a half mile hike.  After all the trail is well-established and the terrain mostly level.  Well, level is as level does.  I had forgotten the great forest of rhododendrons surrounding the lake and the obstacle course created by their root system.  Flat doesn't necessarily mean level.

And boggy.  The water level has been rising creating new marshy areas.  All very interesting and somewhat unexpected.  At some point I wandered into mud and downed trees, putting my new shoes at serious risk as I clambered on through.  I couldn't really see the other side but I felt sure the trail would resume once I crossed over.   It didn't.

The trail simply disappeared.  Since I was not inclined to re-trace my steps I decided to find and follow the shoreline and in that way eventually return to the trail.  This tactic found me moving though an area every bit as marshy as what I had just crossed. Now I thought the best way to find my way back would be by moving through the undergrowth.  Not much of a challenge with the trail surely close.  But the undergrowth was thick and the branches of the rhododendron low.   Soon I found myself circling.

And laughing at myself and my supposedly well-established sense of direction.  Laugh I might but I was well aware that the sun was quickly making its daily way down to the horizon.  And I was quite sure I did not want to spent the night in the woods.  Not that night anyway.

About this time I heard voices on what I thought could only be the trail so I put my pride aside and called out.  They answered yes they were on the trail and did I want them to blow their whistle?  I followed the sound easily enough and within minutes was back on course.  And at trail's end just as the sun was merging with the lake's edge on the far horizon.

My journey around the lake was familiar, too small and too insignificant to be considered an adventure.  Or so I had thought when I began.  But adventure it was, filled with the things that make it so:  a bit of danger, a sense of uncertainty.  A challenge.

Like all good adventures this one ended well with me in my bed, warm and snug, knowing I could have spent the night sleepless on a cold, wet ground at the edge of Price Lake.

The small and insignificant.  The familiar.  What possible adventures they hold.  And how easy to deny their possibilities in pursuit of something grand when all that was needed was to simply move off the trail.  To choose neither the less nor well traveled road.   To choose no road at all, knowing, as Frost also knew in his great poem that  "...way leads on to way".