Sunday, August 31, 2003
I wake up at 5:00am and get ready as quickly as I can. I will have breakfast on the road this morning. As I leave my room to put the last things into the van, the wolves at the Discovery Center start to howl. There are many voices this cold morning and I am mesmerized. I have never heard wolves howl. It is hauntingly beautiful. When I take the key back to the front desk I purposefully take the long way around the block to listen to the wolves. I even roll my window down and leave West by a longer way in order to listen to the wolves longer. There are many voices and even as I write this, I cannot forget the beauty of the experience.
As I write it has been nearly five weeks since my Fairyland adventure. My cuts and scrapes are healed; my blisters have opened and are now little more than a happy memory; only the bruise under my toenail remains as a daily reminder of the trip. The adventure increasingly seems dreamlike and yet in quiet moments I can scarcely think of anything else. I dream and scheme of going back one day.
I once asked Wendy what I could do to help insure a successful trip to Fairyland. She answered, "Take Jake with you." I did (or, rather, Jake took me) and the trip was a success. Thanks to Wendy I found, for good or evil, the Yellowstone Loons. Thanks to the Loons I have had one of the best summers of my life. I have probably logged more miles this summer than in many, many summers combined. Thanks to all my Loony hiking companions, Ken D., Mark (from Issaquah), Rick (in Kent), Tonya, Tim A. and Betsy. Thanks to all the Loons for the rip-roaring good time at the 2003 Loonion. And I owe a special thanks to Jake and Leslie. Those two kids--half my age--really made this a summer to remember. Laurie and I used to talk and wish for others who shared our passion for the outdoors and for Yellowstone with whom to hike. This year that wish came true. If I had trusted Jake and Leslie at the Loonion as I trust them now, I have no doubt I would have gone all the way with them towards Zephyr Falls until they were forced to turn back. Thanks for your patience and your good humor. You guys are the best.