06 June 2005

The Mud Shoe Diaries: Monte Cristo

Monte Cristo, Washington c. 1893
Fat Grammas with Weiner Dogs,
Patchouli-Stained Dirt-Worshippers, and
Itinerant Cornholers were still
112 years in the future.
Posted by Hello


I am discovering more and more as time goes on that I am a horrible Buddhist. I'm really bad at it. It seems so simple on the surface. Mahayana has but one guiding principle: compassion with equanimity. Sounds easy, right? To fulfill the minimum requirements, all ya gotta do is sit on your can for twenty or so minutes a day and generate compassion for people you utterly despise. To that I would add that it's easier if you do it while you're eating flaming balls of iron.

The reason that this came up is because of a hike I took this weekend to a ghost town called
Monte Cristo that's about two hours north of here. It's supposed to be a very popular trail, largely because it's not difficult at all - only 400 feet of elevation gain over 4.5 miles, and it's all along a US Forest Service road. We (Teresa, Elizabeth and I) went early on Sunday to beat the crowds. And here's where the "I'm an awful Buddhist" thing comes in. The reason that I get up at 4AM to drive for two hours to a trail that's over a hundred miles out of town is not because I like a little peace and quiet. That would be understandable. It's because on some very fundamental level I really don't like people. The real reason I get up early is to avoid running into Fat Grammas and Weiner Dogs on the trail. Or anyone else for that matter. Like the usual Backwoods Pretenders, Two-Wheeled Yuppies, Vegan Dirt-Worshippers, Teenage Soccer Maniacs, Soldiers of Fortune, Hair Farmers, and Itinerant Cornholers who generally plug up all the good trails every weekend. And it's for having completely incompassionate thoughts like these that I am going to be reincarnated as a canker sore.

That aside, it was a pretty darn good hike, but I will tell you this: I'm never going out for an all-day hike in a drizzle in the Cascades without every piece of gear that I own that provides either dryness or warmth. Not that I had it so bad. I didn't. I've got that crazy "wicking" gear that you can practically wear on the dark side of the moon and still be okay. But it woulda been a whole lot nicer to be able to change into a dry shirt at the halfway mark. And have some steaming hot cocoa poured out of a

On the upside, my Beautiful Wife Who Is Perfect In Every Way, who hails from a tropical island, and who can withstand temperatures as high as 71F and as low as 69F, didn't scowl at the cold once. As a matter of fact, she had a gay old time the whole way, humping through the mud, through the rivers, and up and down the
abandoned townsite. This led me to dub the multi-hundred-dollar wetgear that I bought for her with the title Scowl Insurance. Now she can't stop going on about where we're going next. I have a hiking convert on my hands.

Ach! My starch-filled lunch has seized my aorta in its Morpheus-like tentacles! I must nap immediately whilst cleverly maintaining the appearance of being awake. I am, after all, writing this at work.

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.

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