To get back to roots. Back to the woods and the mountains, great roaring streams--not roaring, really more like crashing, falling, cascading--yes, the Cascades were calling and we answered. It was time to get back. I pulled down the boxes, great green boxes (forest green and deep glossy green, respectively--probably lead based and toxic) sturdy with long piano hinges that allow the sides to swing down, revealing drawers and cubbies waiting to be stocked with the accouterments of adventure. I imagine my old gramps with a frown on his face carefully making the cuts, nailing the pieces, attaching those perfectly greased piano hinges. Applying the varnish to the inside--a clear coat that has by now become a deep caramel so soft and glassy I want to touch it constantly.
We readied the gear and stocked the boxes, packed the car to the gills--don't forget the fishing poles, camp chairs--and it went relatively well. By well, I mean quickly. The house was a mess leading up to this easy packing job as we staged everything during the week and somehow my dear wife didn't go mad but kept adding and adjusting and checking off boxes from her list, (which I appreciated immensely) all I had to do was pack the car.
We fired it up the next morning, a bright morning as they often are in July, and pulled out of the driveway around ten, grabbed a coffee--it was okay, Espresso Emilia in my Aeropress brews and chills much better than the coffee we got this particular morning; something upon which we both agreed. But coffee is coffee and there aren't complaints because it still wakes you up and gets your heart pounding making it so much easier to apply the gas and speed down the highway, five or ten (maybe more) faster than posted without even noticing you're passing everybody in sight.
The Cascades were meant for driving. There is no doubt in my mind that our benevolent creator molded and sculpted these beautiful mountains with jagged peaks and tree lined slopes, high meadows, low river valleys, hills with curves perfectly suited to long, serpentine highways snaking up and down and over and through--carved out by the hands of W.P.A. men first, then relaid by the D.O.T. last. All that's left of those first men--men with great dirty hands, probably cracked hands they once lifted to their faces to wipe the sweat from their brow, leaving ruddy streaks in their wake, men wearing old beat up hard hats with miners' lamps, probably great big boots also and certainly blue jeans (maybe wool bibs, now that I think of it), all that's left to remember these men are stones with plaques and larger wooden signs painted brown with carved letters painted white, sometimes yellow. We speed past them not even thinking about them, though we admire the finely stacked stone walls that still remain and it's a damn shame when you think about it.
But we don't often (think about it) because we're too busy driving--taking those curves at a caffeinated 69 miles per hour (45 recommended) and charging up road to the top of the pass, flying over the crest and coasting down the other side. We're in a hurry to get where we're going and who can blame us, really? We're bound for Mount Rainier.