I went camping with a friend and her family over the holiday. The last day, I hit the road early, before anyone else was awake. There was still a crisp bite to the air, even though it would soon be uncomfortably hot.
I made my way down Hwy 20, past the little town of Sweet Home and Foster Lake. Soon, the road was surrounded by wilderness and my cell signal was gone.
It made me nervous. Uncomfortable.
The side of the road dropped away sharply and I couldn’t help but think about worst case scenarios. What if I got a flat tire here or had some other kind of car trouble? What would I do? It gave me a bit of a gnawing feeling in my stomach, but I drove on.
I found the turnoff to Blue Pool and drove up the dirt road, past some construction work. There was no one else at the trailhead. A sign warned of flooding on the trail – up to three feet of water – due to a release of water from a nearby reservoir.
I hesitated. Still, I had no cell signal. I began to question myself again. What if my kids or their father tried to contact me? They didn’t know I had taken this route. Would they be worried if they couldn’t reach me? I had come all this way, I didn’t want to chicken out now. I pushed myself to just start walking and see how it went.
Off we went, me and the dog, down the trail. She was moving fast, antsy after being cooped up in the car all morning. I let her set the pace, and soon we were jogging. The trail was littered in roots and rocks, but it felt so good to be fully present in my body, focused only on where my feet landed.
At first, the trail was shaded and cool, close to the water. After a mile and a half or so, it began to get rockier, less sheltered by the trees, and higher up, away from the river.
Suddenly, I glanced to my right and the pool had appeared.
I walked to the edge. I could see straight down to the bottom of the pool. It looked like a wading pool, perhaps a few feet deep, but I knew that was an illusion due to the clarity and that there were areas of the pool that were 30 feet deep.
The blue was a color that I don’t recall ever seeing in water before. A teal so bright that it looked like someone had dumped a bucket of dye into it.
I stood there looking at the water, feeling amazement at the beauty that I was seeing, the rarity of this place, and pride that I had overcome my nervousness and made it there alone.
I savored the feelings for a few minutes before turning to go.
Now people were coming up the trail and I was no longer alone in the universe. I reached my car with a new confidence.
Though I was still without a cell signal, and the road was just as remote, I knew I could handle it.