I looked ahead of myself, letting my feet do the work, for a moment.
The trail seemed so distant and lengthy in front of me. The blue sky filled with scattered puffy, white like cotton clouds. The long grasses tickled at my legs, which were covered with nothing more than my shorts. My boyfriend and I were on our annual hike to Clear Lake. An obviously attractive name for a beautiful body of water. Clear Lake was an icy cold from the glacier run off but after a 2 day hike up a mountain ridge it always seemed enjoyable and refreshing.
The lake itself was surrounded by magnificently smooth boulders, which I was told, became so soft to touch from glaciers.The water was undeniably clear and inviting, covered by small pebbles at the bottom and little ripples on the surface. On one side of the small,clear lake was a discreet beach away from the trail.
But the lake itself was very discreet at the most people I would ever see is maybe 1 or 2 in a day. Todd, my boyfriend, and I lay on the beach the years before in each others arms. Watching as insects passed over our heads and the world turned while the cotton clouds moved from left to right.It surprises me that we are up here so soon considering the nightmare we experienced the previous year. I sighed and dared to reach back into my head and pull out the dreaded memories I had tried to neglect.The night was young but Todd and I had been hiking all day. Our feet ached along with many other body parts. We built a fire and were up past the lake because we decided to explore a little bit further up, considering we both had some extra days off of work.
The winter had been a cold one and there seemed to be little snow melting because the lake appeared low. I felt a chill descend through my body and my hair stuck straight up out of every hair follicle in my body. Leaning back, I took notice to the moon and saw how crisp and serene the mountain sky was.
I always loved looking at stars when I went camping, there are so many more to see to the naked eye. The milky way was so easy to see, it looked as though someone had accidentally spilt glitter on a piece of black construction paper. Just a long cluster of silver glitter strewn across the sky. It’s hard to believe there are more stars in the sky, than pieces of sand on the earth.
I grew up in the city and you can never see many stars at all when all the lights light up the sky. Todd reached over and touched my straight brown hair then brushed his cold hand along my neck, a romantic move on his part. He never seemed to try very hard to be romantic or even unpredictable, for that sake. This annual hike was our romantic get-away. We both worked long weeks and never find too much time for each other.
The crickets made their unique, menacing sound which bellowed throughout the quiet scenery. “Hun, I think I’m pretty tired.” I let myself be heard.
“Well, you think you are or you are?” he said flirtatiously.”I want to go to sleep. Do you?” I didn’t really feel like playing games.”No, I’m gonna just stay up all by myself, oh and the crickets. Don’t worry about me and my needs. I’m just fine.” He teased in a sarcastic tone.
I couldn’t stand the thought of going to sleep and our conversation ending like that.”I’m too tired, come join me in a little while.” I never let myself go to sleep when something ends on a negative tone or if someone is unhappy with someone else. I always think if something bad were to happen to them or I it would end on a bad note.
I absolutely can’t stand that ides.”OK,” he said, “but don’t think your getting away that easily. We’ll stay up tomorrow night. Alrighty?” with that flirtatious tone once again.” Yeah, babe.” I knelt down and searched with my hands for the zipper to the tent.
I unzipped the “door” and climbed inside. My down sleeping bag was all rolled out ready to be warmed up. I never thought I could b so happy and excited to lay in a sleeping bag and just sleep. I got comfortable quite quickly and closed my eyes into a deep sleep. When Todd climbed into the tent he stumbled around waking me like a drunk man and then I realized, after he breathed all over me, that he had been drinking. He fell a sleep quickly as usual and I found myself laying there open eyed, with my mind wandering in circles. All of the sudden I had this deep gut feeling in my stomach, which really awoke me.
I listened and noticed a deep rumbling coming from above. I shook Todd anxiously and hoped he would wake without too much force. My heart pounded with the tremendous unfamiliar sound increasing. Todd moaned, “What . . . What do you want?””Todd, Todd listen, what’s that sound? It’s coming closer.” My voice trembled and my mind started to race.
I jumped up and ran outside of the tent and looked up to this tremendous cloud of snow moving at an amazing speed towards us. I grabbed Todd’s hand and we started to run to anywhere we imagined to be safe. I have never felt my legs carry me that fast, they seemed to move too fast for my body to move. We just ran and ran for what appeared to be forever. Eventually I realized I didn’t hear the sound anymore and we came to a slow stop. Grasping at my chest due to lack of air. We regained our breath and started to evaluate the situation and think about what our next move would be. “Todd .
. . we were . .
. almost eaten . . . alive by an avalanche.” Gasping for air in between every couple of words.”Lets go back to where our stuff is and look if there is anything left.” So we waited a while longer and ventured back very cautiously.
It barely even seemed we were there maybe an hour before. Our tracks were completely covered. We hiked further down trying to find the trail, with nothing more than the clothes on our backs. We continued our descending climb down the mountain and past the lake until we reached the base at around mid-morning. Luckily the car keys were in Todd’s pants pocket so we didn’t have a problem getting out of there. We decided to just leave our stuff and not risk the danger of digging it all up. Making our way home back to the city, we spoke of how glad we were to have each other and how our near death experience makes one appreciate small necessities in life.
As we drove into our driveway, Todd leaned over and kissed my forehead, “Babe, I love you,” he confessed.”I love you too,” I resided. Close to death encounters makes you realize how precious life really is and why the people around you should never be taken for granted.I lay my head down against Todd’s bicep and felt the smooth, warm pebbles on the beach among my feet. This trip to the lake was definitely a better one. It’s funny, I thought, how although there are so many positive and good experiences in a persons life but the ones people dwell on are the negative and bad ones. We’ll not me, I promised myself.