Leaving Portland 


John and I have a loose plan to drive south on the Pacific Coast Highway with intentions of hiking somewhere, wherever, with Death Valley as a destination. 

I met John a couple years ago through the hiking community, and somehow we became friends despite our differences; he’s quiet and calm, I’m not. He’s a freak hiker, and I’m just freaky. He’s a half beer kind of guy and I’m a six pack kind of gal. And so you might be wondering, how the hell is this going to play out? 

We leave rainy gray green Portland in the evening, the cloudy sky broods and churns, and off in the distance Mount Hood lights up in a pink and blue alpen glow brilliance. 

It is exhilarating to be on the road again after six months of hard labor. I feel like I was shot out of a canon, one moment my head’s in the dirt for nine hours a day, the next, I’m zipping down a highway not knowing where I’m going to sleep. 

Tonight it’s a logging road and whaddyaknow, logging trucks rumble by at 2 am, so we gotta move. Next it’s a dimly lit parking lot beneath tall wind swept trees, next to the groaning frothy gray Pacific Ocean, wind so strong it cleans out your eye sockets. We fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves, and a light rain, John in the driver’s seat, me in the passenger’s, we can sleep anywhere. 

I sleep surprisingly well, open the car door, and take a big gulp of ocean air. A brief sun ray reflects off a post rain drip and lights up the surrounding forest of ferns, hanging tree moss, beautiful tangled and soggy,   reclaiming deadwood, molding, dying and growing all together now great green forest. 

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