734 – 751 (Chicken Spring Lake)
I was meditating under a tree this morning, very peaceful and tranquil, when all of a sudden a fighter jet flew over my head. Not 100 feet up. Somehow my fingers got jammed in my ears before the rest of my brain realized what was happening. It was super loud. I wonder how the mules in the mule trains like jet noise?
I walked up to the ridge overlooking Owens Valley. The air was a little hazy that morning. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to watch the jets come shooting through the valley, bank around all Top Gun-like, and then disappear into the valley haze. Sometimes they come through in pairs. I really wanted to make a video but the planes were always too fast for me.
At Diaz creek, I stuck my feet in for a soak. Something slithered over my foot and it was a snake. A little one, black and yellow, cute. Hopefully totally harmless.
I leap-frogged with the fancy people. One of the brothers gave me a lighter. Mine died a day out of Kennedy. I almost turned around to go buy a new one. Then I thought, Or Gretchen, you could just ask a person for help. Why does it always come as such a surprise when strangers are kind and actually do the thing I ask for.
So I feel sort of bad that I’ve been plotting their murders.
A rich family on a fancy hiking trip in the Sierras? Perfect setting for a murder mystery. A mysterious death in the mountains, a missing will, feuding siblings, and all kinds of ways to die. The three cowboys who lead the mule train and set up camp – all potential victims / red herrings / secret illegitamate child reappeared to claim the fortune. The daughter will be the secret botany expert so she can poison someone with a toadstool. The sweaty guy in all the wool is a gambler or failing businessman.
Maybe I’ve already read this book.
I was sitting at Poison Creek when the sweaty guy rambled by, aimed at his campsite in the meadow down below. Their camp looked sublime. The horses and mules were free to frolic in the green meadow. The tents were set. I could see a stand up camp kitchen, multiple burners cooking something amazing, no doubt. I was slightly jealous of the whole thing, and intensely curious about what was happening in that camp kitchen. Those cowboys did have the look of possible professional chefs. Wilderness chefs.That’s a thing, right? Isn’t there a reality show? What sort of yummies were coming from that camp kitchen? Probably not coldsoak combo of instant potato, refried beans, and hiker box mystery surprise. That’s what I had.
I rolled into Chicken Spring Lake well after dark. It sounded like a nice place to wake up.