The Trail at the End of the Road

“This is where I stopped,” says the Bearded One.  We’re on a large knoll, built up by the long-gone machinery, at some future turn on this new road a couple of miles from the farmlet.

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The continuation of this wilderness road, which appears to have been plowed out this past summer, is narrower and more choppy, but at least it’s dry.

“Is that a ravine in the distance?” he asks.

The land dips and I see a darker area at the far end of this rough dirt road which, as I study the route, winds through a meadow first and then past two enormous piles of stumps and branch debris.

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“Is it water?”  I am profoundly lost.  But I’m catching the Bearded One’s sweet enthusiasm for the discovery of a New World.  It feels good to be in this new landscape together and to literally not know what is on the horizon.  Where are we?

Our mile-long gravel road dead-ends into a trail through the woods which heads west and which is called Bear Trail.

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We’ve never left the trail.  We always follow it until it turns and heads off south to distant homes.  Yesterday, though, the Bearded One discovered this new road punched through the woods at the turn.  He realized he hadn’t been on this walk in months and was excited for the new sights.

Now the Bearded One comes in closer to my side as we approach the mysterious silver line.

The sky is overcast and we walk through mist and over tire-sized dirt clods of the recently churned up forest floor.  Large roots poke up like snakes.  The road goes on and on.

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Cedar needles rain down on the neon orange property line flags and blue spray-painted water lines.

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The Bearded One says this would be a great place to bring a new pup, and we talk about Corky, the dachshund mix we applied for, but not soon enough.  He was already adopted.

Mushrooms are under every tree, in every nook and cranny. Whites, creams, browns, and bright oranges and reds that the Indians used for dyes.

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This is a record-breaking year for mushrooms.  There are 5,000 kinds and around 50 are edible.

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Mycologists make the front page of the Kitsap Sun.

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“It’s a road!”  The Bearded One identifies the mystery and he isn’t disappointed.

“There’s a house in those woods,” I say and I pick my way across a raised track in the mud puddle we’ve encountered and hop down onto a paved road.  I can’t see another house or car or anything, just the distant outline of a blue house.  Neither of us knows where in the world we are.  We’ve walked farther than we thought.

“Let’s go this way.”  I head to the left where I can see the road curves.  Then I see mailboxes on the side of the road and a row of tidy homesteads with lots of barns and sheds on big lots.  Some have elaborate gardens.  There are RVs with charming built-on decks and awnings.  There are ship-shape mobile homes with lawn ornaments.  It’s about noon, though, and the entire place is deserted.  I can’t find a street sign.

And then out of the mist comes the mail truck.  It zooms up beside us, and our lovely, good-natured, fast-driving, crazy mail lady has a big grin on her face.  “Do you need me to give you a ride home?” she says, laughing at the sight of us.

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The Bearded One hoots and I giddily explain how we got here.  I point and describe.  The whole road project is news to her.

“Where are we?” I say, finally, distilling the entirety of my psyche and laying it before her.

“You,” she says, wide-eyed and hugely amused as she waves goodbye, “are in a trailer park!”

We have really stepped out, I think.  We’ve widened our territory and had loads of fun.  But — gracious — we’ve still got to make it back home.

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20 responses to “The Trail at the End of the Road

  1. Trailer Park!? It’s been there a long time then? Where have you been – out in the sticks?…Illustration of you & the Bearded One-with-chainsaw under the giant mushroom is award-winning.

    • It’s been there a long time, yes. We don’t get out much. 🙂 In our defense, this trailer park loop is down a long deadend road that we have no reason to go on, so we discovered it from the backend. That mushroom was my fav this time, too. Hugs to you, Pierr, and Happy Halloween!

  2. I look forward to Wednesdays just for your stories. Thanks for the journey!

    • People ask me what the blog is about, Robbyn, and I usually mumble and stumble around that it’s about living cheaply on a little farmlet, but what I will say now is that it’s a little weekly story. Perfect. Thank you! 🙂

  3. Cool! it’s fun to explore and go off the beaten path 🙂 Do you want to go meet those folks?! I agree with Pierr about the illustration! HAAAAA! I bet you’re excited about getting a new puppy! 🙂

  4. I am so happy to read that the Glover’s and Garfield are ready for another puppy – Ruby will sleep easy knowing that doggie love will be back in your lives 🙂 Orlando and I pine after a Labradoodle!

    It is also so nice to go for a walk with you – even if it just leads to the back of a trailer part – and we all discover that civilisation is intruding into your quiet part of the world ……… and all those mushrooms, do you gather them?

    • I know someone who recently got a Labradoodle! Lovely dogs. They are a bit pricey for us, but we’re keeping an eye-out on the shelter websites for one with that sweet temperament and smarts. It will happen. 🙂

      We don’t gather the wild mushrooms for eating because we can’t be sure of what they are. It’s amazing how the poisonous ones look just like the edible. It takes a magnifying glass! The newspaper article was warning people.

  5. I think that the gnome sniffing the mushroom on the front page of your local rag looks somewhat startled to be captured on film. Much like Bezial, he now owes someone something because he allowed himself to be captured on film. Lets just hope that he learns from this lesson and scarpers (also like Bezial) the next time he sees a camera. Do you think he could spare a couple of those edible mushrooms (or as we Aussie call them “Mushies”) for you and the bearded one to partake of a fugish feast? How about sparing a couple of those brightly coloured noxious forboding beauties for a few experiments with some plain coloured natural wool? We still have mushrooms sprouting out everywhere (including over the fish farm netting 😉 ) as it has been a very wet winter here on Serendipity Farm. We are prepared for a long hot summer though…all the better to grow acres of veggies ;). I LOVE a good adventure on a new road. I am a “bush chick” from my childhood where I roamed barefoot and carefree alone on 100 acres of paddocks, snake infested bushland, dams and all girt by sea (well a nice inlet that led out to the sea but you get my drift 😉 ). I love nothing more than crashing through the undergrowth (I would usually be more careful but Earl isn’t easily contained when he gets a sniff of the wilderness in his primal instinctual brain stem) streaming out behind a snorting beast (did I mention that Earl LOVES to run when he gets off the beaten track? 😉 ) and watching the trees, shrubs, grasses, mushrooms, birds, insects fly past me at 100km/hour… I am going to have to head out and start walking on my own occasionally methinks. Steve doesn’t like me wandering off on my own and prefers me to take my Extra Automatic Reconnaissance Leader (E.A.R.L) with me if I go but a nice quiet walk where I could stop and smell the fungi would be SUCH a nice change ;). Wish I was able to walk with you guys. I can only begin to imagine the gorgeous smells you get in that amazing looking green wilderness. The smell of conifers makes my heart sing. That’s why I am going to plant out my own Olalla wilderness full of cedars and fir trees up the back…NEVER say I am not determined ;). Hugs from Sunny Sidmouth where today we get part 2 of the cover over our veggie garden, I cut ropes from huge expanses of netting and I fall asleep on the couch at 6pm and need to be carried to bed completely knackered…I LOVE spring! 🙂

    • Ha! Yes, the gnome is a card-carrying member of the mycology troupe that was interviewed for the article, but I wonder if he knew he’d be the cover boy. 🙂 I loved seeing the pictures of your western Australia outback childhood when you put them on FB. You were a wild thing. Still are! I like the occasional adventure, and it’s good for my soul, but the reason I didn’t go on the first hike with TBO is because I was cooking and puttering at home, my territory. The cedars are gorgeous, I agree, and the needles are literally raining down on us today. A little breeze and the deck is covered. Good luck with your full work day! Love from Olalla. 🙂

      • Wish I was out walking and not working ;). I adore the bushland even though our friend told us she saw 2 snakes at her driveway gate yesterday…hmmm! I could walk for miles and miles and miles, only problem is that you then have to turn around and come home. I don’t think our mail lady would be as kind as yours 😉

  6. Loved the pictures Christi. I’d be off down that unexplored road too. I love the smell of dirt in the forest. After rain, it smells so good you could eat it. Maybe that’s why I also love mushrooms, for their earthiness 😀 Might be time to get yourselves a GPS tracking device so you can always make your way back home :D. Do you ever see bears on that Bear trail? xox

    • Yes, the smell! Fungus and forest. No wonder the bears love it. There are bears on Bear Trail, but I’ve never seen one in person. Two years ago on this blog I posted “Raccoon Saloon” wherein there is a picture of one though! Our neighbors up the road, who live off of Bear Trail, set up a critter cam and got a great photo of one, and I included it as well as a bear paw print from our driveway. Here is the link back to that post…it was Oct 26, 2011 http://wp.me/p1lgWh-mc

  7. Christine Widman

    “Where are we?” I say, finally, distilling the entirety of my psyche and laying it before her.
    lol
    Been there…done that.
    Here recently it was on a birding road adventure in the Santa Cruz Flats. The Alternate Universe that I sent you photos of.
    North, south, east and west all looked the same/flat flat flat with dust devils and a ghost town.
    Not at all like the NW …but…being in your thick thick “rain”forest, you would see only trees, trees, trees.
    I will be curious about your next dog. I’m of course hoping for a large dog again as that’s what I envision on the Farmlet…but I know whatever dog you choose/that chooses you will be amazing.
    Hugs

    • I remember those pictures, Christine. Maybe if we were born and raised in the country like the Bearded One’s parents, we’d know the directions instantly when we went outside. I get lost easily.:) And thanks for the dog wishes and thoughts. We’ll see! Hugs and love.

  8. I enjoyed the unexpected ending.

  9. I see your books are on Smashwords. I have a book there also. Love your blog!

    • Hi Marshall! Yes, I used Smashwords for two self-published books and really like the whole outfit. I’ll look your book up and see what you’re up to. And thanks for the compliment and for commenting. 🙂

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