It had been a few days since I had walked any considerable distance. At least with my pack on. I had zipped around Portland mostly unencumbered. With my bags safely stowed away at the hostel, I screwed around town, racked up high scores on pinball machines and fantasized about being the worlds greatest male Tarot card reader.
Then the next day it was all about train rides and staying out of the rain.
And now that I was finally back in action, I was getting frustrated, almost immediately, that the days I took to rest did almost nothing to relieve the pain in my feet and calves.
I do not know when I became such a monumental wuss. Library softened me like a delicious pastrified Hansel and Gretel I guess. I know that Hansel tricks the witch in the popular version of the story; but in the moron version, where the two kids eat everything in sight and the witch porks out on baby German schnizles all winter long, well that is how I feel after 11 years of working in a public library. Soft. Doughy. Atrophied muscles. Ready to stuff any old part of a life sized chocolatey gingerbread house into my face without a second thought.
I had planned to go about fifteen miles to a "town", according to Google Maps, called Bridal Veil just after Multanomah Falls where a bed and breakfast with a vacancy hopefully awaited me. The foot pain mentioned above began before I got out of Gresham. The pain added with the rain, that was dropping just enough to piss me off, would have had me in a state of misery were it not for my mood being lightened by a group of high schoolers, or college age kids, who were walking down the street ahead of me.
One of them was clowning and goofing as he walked. He had perfected a kind of Jim Carrey/Jerry Lewis half-staggering, half-falling, jelly legged/flailing armed strut. The kind where it looks like his is always about to fall on his face. His friends were cracking up and so was I.
I like that I am not so old that I can not appreciate the humor of teenagers. Although I can no loner tell the difference between college kids and high school kids, I still have some connection to the good parts of that age. Whenever I see kids being themselves and not posing, or trying to act too cool for culinary school, it is always a good sign.
I followed Tony Stark street out of town and along a high cliff looking over a river. I crossed a bridge and finally, after about three hours had reached the road I had planned on traveling along for most of the day.
As soon as I reached the byway I found Dabney Park and I stopped there for half of my sandwich. As I ate the worlds slowest grey squirrel crept up to me like a zombie, looking for a handout.
It was creepy. I had never seen a squirrel move like this. He did not have ADD-jitters or hyper spasmadic disorders like every other squirrel I have ever seen. A combination of fear and free meal expectations energized in the body of rodent with the heart rate of a hummingbird. This squirrel however, moved with a deliberate slowness. Like Snoop Dogg approaching the stage to accept an MTV best rap video award. Awwwwwwww-yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah.
He moved to within three feet and stopped, looking up at me with vacant, black baby button eyes. He held his paws in an awkward way. Not like a chipmunck with both paws grasping an invisible picnic basket under his chin; he posed, braced for action like a cage fighter. One paw higher than the other, away from the body, both off center. Freaky Nosferatu half inch long claws, casting shadows in the grass. Freddy Kruger claws. Wolverine claws. This animal could star as a heel in a live action remake of Watership Down for sure.
I tossed a piece of sandwich bread over his head just to get him away from me.
He stared at me for what seemed like a minute, refusing to budge. Eventually,when he realized that I was not going to throw him a piece closer to where he currently stood, he turned around and walked over to the bread and crammed it into his cheeks.
He returned, this time hoping up onto the picnic table, coming to within a foot and a half I tried to scare him away but he only backed off a little ways when I tried to shoo him off. I decided that I would wait to eat the other half of my sandwich in peace, packed up my stuff and d got the hell away from that sinister rodent before he started to haunt my nightmares.
I used the park restroom, climbed back up to the main road through a tangle of blackberries, without getting stuck once and tried to enjoy the view of the Old Scenic Byway from the shoulder that does not exist.
To be continued...
July 13, 2014
5 years ago