[The LORD] will be a shelter and a shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.
During the weekend I kept coming up with all these clever blog titles. Too bad I failed to write any of them down, because now I need one and all my good ideas have flitted off like so many ducks flying before a puppy.
Boy am I itchy. I say this by way of introduction, to explain that Ian and I intended to take our first-ever backpacking trip together as a family, but that it fell through due to lack of planning. We did not, however, give up on the idea of hiking and accordingly perused our hiking book in search of a promising trail. Ultimately we settled on a hike through the George Washington (or Geo. Wash. as the sign abbreviated it) Environment Management Area, or some such equally long and impossible to remember name. To get there we drove through a corner of Connecticut, but the trail actually winds around in the northwest corner Rhode Island. It took some searching to actually find the trailhead, which happened to be situated in the parking area of a rather large campground (I know it was large because we drove all through it in our search). We followed the orange blazes painted on tree trunks over hill and over vale for eight surprisingly long miles. Three hours and a bazillion bug bites later, we arrived back at our car, footsore and swearing never to hike the orange trail again.
Let me describe it this way. The trail started nicely, a well-behaved path travelled enough to prevent much foliage infringement. Then, as the blue (2 mile) trail peeled away, less and less evidence of hikers remained. Plants leaned in, hanging across the trail with increasing frequency. By the time the red (6 mile) trail split away, our path could only be considered a trail by the most generous. Lacking orange blazes, I might have guessed we had found a deer path or followed some random openings between trees. In addition to having to bushwhack our way through to each blaze, we quickly discovered that the lack of elevation gain and the trail’s proximity to several small bodies of water meant that we had entered into a relentlessly swampy adventure. Often the next blaze waited across a path-wide pond, and our encounters with deceptively dry-looking patches left us muddy-socked and wary. The standing water proved a boon…if we had been mosquitoes. I speculate that we were the only humans to have passed in quite a while, given the voraciousness with which hordes of the buzzing brown-and-black insects attacked us. Numerous times we swatted a biter, only to find a spurt of blood on our fingers, evidence of the bug’s partial (it was dead, after all) success. I discovered that my nice light, breathable shirt also proved no impediment to a hungry mosquito — or a baker’s dozen mosquitoes. So when I say we arrived back three hours and a bazillion bug bites later, I hope you take me seriously. We also picked several ticks off of our socks and selves, and I spent the vast majority of the hike brushing by plants, then shuddering with the thought of lyme-disease carrying parasites attaching themselves to my epidermis.
So on Sunday we stuck with a thoroughly civilized form of exercise: We rode our bikes about six miles to the Southborough train station. I did this to assess the feasibility of my riding to work every day, and the experience left me feeling quite perky about a daily commute. Although hillier than the ride to Sudbury, which I did a couple weeks ago, most of the ride to Southborough involved coasting down hills and occasionally pedaling up inclines. No major hills to seriously slow me, and after a month of 12 miles a day, I expect it would prove fairly easy. The remaining milestone is finding out if I can shower on the Worcester end of things. Charles River has no workout room or general-use showers, but I think the techs have them. I’ll talk to my boss and see what’s possible (alternative: I just work slightly sweaty. Gross, but worse has been done).
Yesterday the realization truly struck home that this is no summer job. I won’t have summers anymore, won’t be able to endure the annoying part of a job by thinking, “It’s only for six more weeks.” In six weeks I’ll still be the new hire trying to figure out the ropes. It feels almost like getting married and slowly realizing, “Oh man, this is for life.” I only hope that, like marriage, this job will pick up and get more interesting than recycling endless pages out of fat, defunct binders.