Driving away from the mill, today, I saw this fox trot across the road and the shoulder, into tall grass at the edge of a ravine. It stopped there, with just ears visible. This seemed like a possible photo op, so I pulled over, climbed out of the Stew Wagon and rummaged in the back for a camera. The SX40HS came up, and I quickly got it on, CHDK engaged for shooting RAW.
Crossing the road, I brought the eyepiece up and took a couple of shots, hoping they’d turn out. I keep the camera set to Auto, for this kind of moment. There isnt always time to mess around with aperture and ISO. Gradually, I moved closer, and the fox didnt bolt. Instead, it seemed to be waiting, almost baiting me. At length, I was within twenty feet, still shooting. Presently, as if bored with all this, it stood up, looked at me and turned away, walking across the slope, behind a bush, and down to the creek, where I lost it in the woods.
Leaving the mill, my intent had been to come into town to exchange a shirt at the Levi outlet store. (Note: If you like Levi’s clothing, I strongly recommend that you visit the outlet store in Silverthorne. I’ve had three visits there, and each one has been marvelous. This exchange was one of the easiest transactions I’ve ever done.) What I hadnt intended to do was to go to Wendy’s. It isnt that I have anything against it. I’m a regular there. When I walk through the door, it’s just like Cheers – A chorus of “Don!” rises up from behind the counter. Because I needed to process the fox photos, though, that’s where I went. There’s a seat by the window, with an outlet, and they let me camp there.
Stepping out of the Stew Wagon, I opened the back door to grab my laptop. Under the eaves of the building a young man and woman, with big backpacks and other paraphernalia, stood talking. They seemed to be discussing something important, but I paid it no mind. Heading inside, I set up my workstation, then went to the counter, where I ordered some dinner.
As I was eating, and editing one of the photos, the young woman came in and put her things down at a table just ahead of me. I told her that I thought it was cool that she was traveling. Tears began to form in her eyes.
It turns out that she has just come to the US from Germany. Her plan was to hike the Continental Divide Trail, from Frisco to the Grand Tetons. How could she have anticipated that there would still be two feet of snow in the higher altitudes? In the whole of yesterday, she made six miles. She was above timber line when the lightning began, today, and she had to retreat back to lower elevation. She continued down, back into Silverthorne. The man that she’d been talking to was apparently a transient, asking if she had any weed. He did tell her that she could sleep in town, as long as she was a certain distance from the road. She thanked him and told him that she had already made arrangements to couch surf at someone’s apartment for the night.
So, now what was she supposed to do? The thing that she’d come all the way across the ocean to do, had proven impossible, after such a short time. She will be in the US for two months. Her mother has a sister in San Francisco, and she had reached out to see if it might be possible to come for a visit. She could make it by bus in about thirty hours, and from there hike the Pacific Crest Trail through the Sierras. I encouraged her to see Yosemite National Park, if at all possible.
We talked for a long time, about homelessness in America, and world travel, and many other things. In the course of it, I told her that I admired her. Just look at what she’s doing! It’s a very brave thing to strike out into the midst of an unknown country, with only herself to rely on. She’d made all the right preparations for this adventure, and had embarked on a tremendous journey. There was no way to anticipate the weather. She isnt the first to have their plans spoiled by the Rocky Mountain spring weather. I assured her that there were wonderful things ahead for her.
In the end, she had a bus ticket to San Francisco, and was laughing, not crying.
The purpose of the fox? It was to send me to Wendy’s, at just the time when I would meet a young woman from Germany, beginning the grandest adventure of her life. That fox sat posing for me, just long enough to get me on the right schedule. Coincidence? Maybe.
If there is a moral to this story, it’s up to you to decide. I just write em down.
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