“And now I understand something so frightening & wonderful-how the mind clings to the road it knows, rushing through crossroads, sticking like lint to the familiar.”
~ Mary Oliver
Last nights sleep left me rejuvenated and quite confident i can cover the twenty miles to Drakesbad resort by dinner time . There is a hot pool there , and its free for PCTers to use if they buy a meal at the restaurant .
I break up camp so quick , it feels strange , almost functionary sometimes to leave these pockets of tranquility with such haste . But its practicle too . If i sit around looking at rainbow butterflies too much , then id never make any miles !
I walk and find a nice rythm . Im settled into the first part of the day , when once again the unanounced and unforseen crosses my path . Just at the edge of the river , startled by my approach, a beautiful fully grown female deer . She is startled ,and springs away , I keep her presence inside me as I continue on , it seems to nurture and bring a calm to the start of my day .
Im in and out of magical woodlands , where great ponderosa pines stand in uniform lines for as far as the eye can see . They create illusions like Esher drawings , and make labyrinths of light and contrast all around me .
Im dazzled by the watercolour splashes of flowers and reach out just to touch them .
Here she is , the deer of my pathway today.
I breathe with her ,so as not to startle her .
I see her eyes .
I thought she would bolt , but she never did . Im stood here on the path and im slowly ,ever so slowly , making my way towards her . I get within five meters and she looks up . Her dark bright eyes meet mine and we hold the gaze for a moment , until she is sure of my intentions . She returns to her grazing . Im stood now , just three meters from her and almost close enough to stretch out and touch her . She looks up again as i take my next set of photographs , and i realise that i not only have a moment to savour , but also a ‘kick bottom’ photograph .
I walk all the way around her and rejoin the path a little further on . Stopping briefly to shoot this photo as im walking away .
I feel like a life is a good thing right now . I walk down trail for a happy hour and ford a stream , whilst im sat on the other side drying my feet along bounces 30/30 . And we talk trail and share awe and wonder about the deer we have just passed .
A couple of hours pass , and we share the journey for a while , walking towards arrival at Drakesbad before six , so we can get a meal and a cold beer before the kitchen closes .
We arrive in plenty of time and sit outside the chalet restaurant drinking cold beer and talking about the next days hike into Chester . I tell 30/30 i finish my 1000 miles tommorow , and he smiles and pays for my supper .
* Sadhbh was enchanted to take the form of a doe for refusing the love of Fer Doirich (or Fear Doirche), the dark druid of the Men of Dea (here meaning the Tuatha Dé Danann). She held this form for three years, until a serving man of the Dark Druid took pity on her and told her that if she set foot in the dún (fort or castle) of the Fianna of Ireland, the druid would no longer have any power over her. She then travelled straight to Almhuin (Fionn’s house) and was found by Fionn while he was out hunting. Since Sadhbh was a human in animal form, she was not harmed by Fionn’s hounds Bran and Sceolan, as they too had been transformed from their original human shape. On their return to Almhuin, Sadhbh became a beautiful girl once more and soon she and Fionn were married. Fionn loved her so much that he gave up hunting and all other pleasures but her, and she quickly became pregnant.