Sunday 10 June 2012: Adventures were had
Martha Beck, in a recent book, describes adventure as "anything you do to actively invite into your life a problem or puzzle you could just as easily avoid." Laurie and I discussed this on our way to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge today. I argued that it doesn't have to be a problem, couldn't it just be something new? and she countered that doing something new almost always involves puzzling something out or figuring out a problem.
I concede. She was right. Today we had adventures and our adventures definitely involved puzzles and problems.
Our first clue should have been the barriers in front of the pedestrian bridge that led to what we thought was the trail we wanted - supposedly a fully accessible trail through the wetlands. I was barely able to squeeze the scooter through the posts, but it made it through - and then we were on a very steep incline where I - and I kid you not! - popped a wheelie! Not intentionally! The scooter went a few feet and then died - the incline was just too much, but we were determined! A very helpful woman named Cathy helped us wrangle the scooter up the hill and stood by as I very slowly drove it down the other side. We grumbled and made terse comments about how this place needed to learn about accessibility and boy, was I going to write some emails and make some calls when we got home.
We met a very surprised volunteer named Katie - she was surprised that we had gotten down to that area and helped us puzzle out how to get back without tackling the bridge again. We ventured down the trail as far as we could (at the end of the trail was the most incredible oak tree either of us had ever seen). Along the way we spotted this osprey in search of a SNACK (today's blip challenge - see how I worked that in?). Katie offered to put the scooter in the back of her vehicle and take us back up to the parking lot - for several reasons, I couldn't drive the scooter on the access road. She and another wonderful friendly fellow named Gene lifted the scooter into her "cruck" (part car, part truck) and drove me up to our car and gave us directions to the area we thought we'd been going to.
We loaded the scooter back into our car (which thankfully involves a power lift but is still no small task) and drove several miles to another part of the refuge. We found a trailhead, had a picnic lunch and unloaded the scooter, happy to finally be on the right track.
Or so we thought. We went 100 yards or so and came to an observation hut - and the end of the trail. We still had not arrived. The trail we wanted was still another half mile up the road, and we debated whether we had the energy to keep going; but I said hell yes, we've come this far, let's do it. So once again we loaded the scooter and traveled to the Kiwa trail, a lovely, fully accessible trail that leads through woodlands and wetlands. We saw painted turtles, redwing blackbirds, red tailed hawks, numerous song birds, a variety of ecosystems and a stunning view of Mt. St. Helens. After this leisurely saunter through the refuge, we were ready to head home for naps!
So yes, it was an adventure, and one worth having. We had loaded the scooter four times (not including Katie and Gene muscling it in and out of her vehicle); I'd given myself a scare on the scooter on that bridge; and we exhausted ourselves with all the coming and going and frustration. But standing with my back against that ancient oak, soaking in the great-grandmother tree energy; seeing amazing birds of prey in flight and turtles sunning themselves on rocks; receiving the help of strangers, freely given - these were the restorative powers of this adventure. Next time we'll know just where to go and how to get there - but will we have such funny stories to tell on ourselves or such satisfaction of problems overcome?
View a slideshow of more of the adventure here.
View the osprey LARGE.