Saturday, November 12, 2011

Adventures on Larch Mountain

Music boomed from the backseat speakers as we bounced and swerved our way out of the city. Ignoring internal safety promptings, I perched myself on the middle hump between the seats so I could be closer to Steve. In three hours, my shift would start so a drive to the country seemed like a fitting way to spend our together-time.

Dark clouds were gathering and icy rain was spitting on the windshield but we wouldn't let the typical late-November weather discourage us. We were both native Oregonians. Cold rain was in our blood.  

As we climbed, the road narrowed and there were fewer and fewer oncoming cars. Oak trees and pastureland gently morphed into towering Douglas Firs skirted by native sword ferns. I scoured the sidelines for wildlife but the land seemed barren and desolate. The higher we climbed the darker it felt, save for the few large areas where an early snow was apparently thick enough to persist. 

A large metal gate signified that we'd reached the end of the main road. Just to its left, smooth-as-glass snow covered the ruts of a gravel road that led down into deeper woods. 

Momentary discouragement was quickly snuffed out by Steve's thirst for adventure. "There's a road," he said. "We'll just take it." Then, in hopes of getting me fully on board, "Come on, it'll be fun." 

His fearless prodding was met with my anxious protestations. "Let's not! It looks kind of scary. We don't know where it goes." 

"Yeah. So let's find out."  

It took maybe a mile to figure out that this road was going nowhere. Maybe Steve was getting bored. Or maybe my anxiety was finally getting on his nerves. Whatever the case, as soon as the vegetation widened, Steve turned the car around to head back.

We didn't get very far before the tires began spinning. We'd completely lost traction. 

"Hmm, it's icy," Steve said, while putting it in reverse. 

My anxieties grew with each attempt to gain footing and climb the hill that seemed to elude our attempts. We'd gain traction, go five or so feet, then start sliding again. As time wore on, our efforts seemed futile and my anxiety, always a loyal companion, had reached panic mode. 

"Let's walk back up to the main road. Hopefully someone will drive by and stop to help us." 

We hadn't walked very far when something on the side of the road caught my eye. 

"Look!" I said pointing to thick chain links, partially buried under browning white. At that point in my life, rusty things didn't have they allure they possess now. The only reason I mentioned them at all was because it seemed odd that here sat a partially submerged product of man in the midst of God's country. 

Steve, however instantly went from quiet worry to animated hope as he bent down, grabbed the exposed chain, pulled and shook the snow and icy bits off what appeared to be tire chains. Two of them. Sitting here on the side of the road like they were just waiting to be discovered and employed. Like some divine hand placed them here. For us.  

"These are exactly what we need to get out of here." 

It took some doing, but we made it up the icy hill and onto the wet pavement, back to the obligations of city life. Since that incident many years ago, Steve is a little more interested in what I think on a matter. If not, all I have to do is mention, "Larch Mountain..."  

To see my post on The Moment I Knew World Wide Blog Tour, please click on the tab located at the top of the page. As always, thank you for visiting. Your comments make my day. 


  1. As we learn to follow our intuition, we know the truth. Of course following adventure is not always commensurate with following our I think tend to listen less to that gut instinct sometimes...good he listens to you now...I love when we can have these little lessons to remind them to listen!!

  2. This little adventure is unique. Ah, remember Larch Mountain!

  3. Living as I do not too far from Larch Mountain, I was very interested in your essay and the memories it brought back of similar times in my life. Funny how we grow a bit wiser as we grow older, and even funnier how key words really get their attention after a time too!

  4. Lovely post, Grace! I sympathise with the urge to take the road less-travelled - but I always check to see if I've got my tyre chains first. (Or in my case, jump leads and a can of petrol.)

  5. Hi Grace, when you commented on my blog I didn't realize you also had an essay in Reflections From Women. Great story and I was feeling the trepidation right along with you. Good luck with your blog. It's beautiful already!

  6. Hi Grace, I enjoyed your story :) I like how this blog is coming along! Best, always, Jenni

  7. What a great post! I enjoyed it very much!! A very cool memory to share!

  8. What a great tool: 'remember Larch Mountain.' Well-told, Grace.

    And I love the miracle of the tire chains. So nice to be looked after :)

  9. Ah men would be wise to listen to women more often, we do know sometimes. Grace you always keep me reading, leaning forward in my seat hurrying to the end.

  10. I can imagine going deeper and then getting stuck in the deep woods.
    Good thing you decided to turn back.
    And thank God there was no rain.

  11. Oh my -- this made me cold and anxious! So glad you were able to get back out!

  12. Hi Grace,
    You are having Way too much fun(!). I loved reading this.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  13. Ha Ha - I love the "moral" of the story. :o)


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