Goose Prairie

Goose Prairie

A Story by barleygirl
"

true story inspired by Coyote John . . .

"


If I were to slice my present age in half, I’m reminded of a time when all my peers considered thirty-something to be middle-aged. Growing up as a flower child, my generation felt certain nobody over thirty could be trusted. That’s why approaching thirty gave me the heebie-jeebies. At age twenty-eight I was abruptly thrust into my first midlife crisis.

I’d been hard at this fifty-hour-a-week career thing for what already felt like a lifetime. I was also slowly eking out my college education, a night class or two at a time. Somehow my twenties got away from me. That’s when I fell in love with Mark the ex-Marine welder who was gorgeous enough to be a male model. My main power switch, stuck in racing mode for the preceding decade, suddenly disintegrated in the presence of my blonde, blue-eyed hunk of playfulness.

For the first few months, Mark and I were addicted to working out together. I traded my career aspirations for the shameless pursuit of pure physicality. We jogged for miles along remote country roads, after which we’d swim some laps before seductive frolicking distracted us from the task at hand. Eventually we’d spend toasty afternoons and evenings bouncing between the shower and the bed. Our tendency to participate in conventional life dwindled.

Maybe it was too many sweaty hours milking an endorphin high, but we hatched a plan to suddenly ditch everything solid in our lives. Our sketchy plan was to shirk our obligations for a few months straight. Selling everything associated with staid responsibility, we pooled our cash and bought a camper together. All our hopes and dreams were dangling off the back and sides. Bicycles, backpacks, and boots jangled as we hit the road.

Our six-month journey took us north from California, up through Oregon and Washington, then east through Idaho and Montana, and so on, down south through the Rocky Mountains. We camped and cooked outdoors mostly. We shared this crazed mania for chopping down any dead tree we found and then sawing up the whole thing for firewood. With leftover logs when it was time to hit the road again, we’d gift nearby campers with our extras. Our overtures yielded a variety of interesting trades that we very much enjoyed along the way.

There are dozens of memorable moments from our extended wild escape, but Goose Prairie in Washington will forever be lodged in my heart. I bought a gray sweatshirt printed with a Goose Prairie mandala. It became my favorite article of clothing for the next decade, until it was nothing but a puff of shredded nostalgia.

Goose Prairie is just east of Mount Rainier, the tallest mountain in the various ranges along the Pacific Coast. I remember camping at the base for a couple weeks and exploring some of the massive glaciers creeping down its slopes. Mark and I were bothered by another camper, zany and off-kilter, persistently stopping by with outlandish offers to tutor us on many of life’s finer points. Wandering weirdos were no cause for alarm. Such characters were to be expected during this unstructured era of hippy enlightenment.

By the time we split Rainier, we were eager to escape late-summer crowds at the popular tourist destination. Maybe this is why desolate Goose Prairie spoke to us so delightfully. I remember tooling along backroads feeling lost and having no particular destination, when we happened upon this rustic roadside snack bar where we got the best hamburgers we’d ever eaten. It was the kind of oniony burger you can conjure up in your taste buds for years to come.

After a leisurely lunch, we continued bouncing along this narrow road until we came upon a deeply-wooded and enchanted flow identified as Bumping River. With an affinity for nakedness, we jumped out and peeled our threads, reveling in the realization that there were no other people for miles around. We discovered a thick rope dangling from a horizontal limb stretching out over a deep dark pool. Needless to say, we splashed away the afternoon, gurgling, laughing and kissing.

Daylight faded as we resumed our journey, searching for a camping spot for the night. Finally we discovered a spacious strip of stunning isolation along Bumping Lake. As I unloaded our gear from the camper, darkness settled over the surrounding woods. Mark immediately went to toss a few trout lines out over the iridescent lake, buzzing with mosquitos. The glimmering hint of a full moon cast its ethereal glow across the mirrored surface.

I couldn’t take my eyes off this unfurling show as I gathered wood, started the campfire, and popped the cork on a bottle of Syrah. Wood smoke swirled around as Mark held out his full stringer of petite rainbows. I felt fermented tang on his tongue after we toasted his catch with deep plum swigs. I unleashed a chimney of sparks stirring the coals while Mark made quick work of cleaning fish.

Gradually the star of the show, a plump bright moon, cleared the forested ridge to illuminate tender trout fillets sizzling in the frying pan. Mark and I chatted about the day’s various wildlife sightings and buttery trout melted in our mouths.

Later we lay down on top of our sleeping bags, not far from the lakeshore. The air was still, the mosquitos were gone, and it was the perfect time to soak in an all-over moon tan. We jolted from our beds at the blast of an elk bugling from afar. Then we wrapped up in each other’s arms and rolled down to the softly lapping edge. It felt so delicious as we slithered in for a moonlit dip.




© 2017 barleygirl



Author's Note

barleygirl
Coyote Poetry that inspired me:
"I remember you, I remember us"
http://www.writerscafe.org/writing/Castellenas/1918244/

My Review

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Featured Review

Who the hell needs a career when you've got an ex marine to play with. And play you did by the looks of it. I like journeys through life like this. This is what gives you that little glow when the dark nights come in.
Unashamedly brilliant, Margie.


Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

5 Months Ago

I hate the way you can see right thru me! *smile* I may have a rather barren life right now in my ol.. read more
Paul Bell

5 Months Ago

Should think so. lol



Reviews

I loved this piece. What an adventurous soul you are or at least were. Before becoming parents my wife and I traveled quite a bit, but nothing like this. Good for you!

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Months Ago

Thank you so much for appreciating my wandering spirit. I never married or had kids becuz I've been.. read more
Dave

4 Months Ago

It was my pleasure.
Wow! This is an awesome true story you shared. Sounds like a lovely experience. I've always wanted to go camping/ fishing. It's something I haven't had the chance to do yet.

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

5 Months Ago

In my childhood, camping was the thing to do for poor people. I've never taken fancy vacations & sle.. read more
A magical jaunt shared in such a manner as to make the reader feel they were there too.
I love your phraseology.
"...until it was nothing but a puff of shredded nostalgia." - divine !!

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

5 Months Ago

Your comments really warm my heart! *smile* When I'm writing in authentic uninhibited mode, it's goo.. read more
And I thought that I had enjoyed an an exciting life in my younger days, but I pale into insignificance after the uninhibited review of your adventures.
Where did I go wrong????
Loved it .... N

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

5 Months Ago

I've only just begun to write my outrageous stories of youth! This is why I'm still smiling after al.. read more
Norman223

5 Months Ago

Why ?????
I'm not THAT sensitive. ***wink, wink***
Reading your times brings back mine and I thank you for allowing me to live my wanderings with lovers again.
A finely crafted story that I feel could only have been written with thoughtful experience playing there in your mind. I can smell the campfires and other substances as I write this review.

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

5 Months Ago

I have only just started reading you & some of your stories about the spicy old days . . . so I than.. read more
Who the hell needs a career when you've got an ex marine to play with. And play you did by the looks of it. I like journeys through life like this. This is what gives you that little glow when the dark nights come in.
Unashamedly brilliant, Margie.


Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

5 Months Ago

I hate the way you can see right thru me! *smile* I may have a rather barren life right now in my ol.. read more
Paul Bell

5 Months Ago

Should think so. lol
This is such an amazing piece of writing, I really loved it!

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

5 Months Ago

Thank you so much for your enthusiastic review! It's fun writing about my adventures in my earlier l.. read more
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Gee
Miss B, you're one of the very few on here who will try their hand at all manner of styles, invariably succeeding. You and your writing are to be admired.
I doff my cap to you.

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

5 Months Ago

Your compliment is aimed right at my heart! I'm always trying NOT to write about the same stuff or i.. read more
Such a wonderfully-told story. The elements of exploration, romance, and nostalgia blend together wonderfully. Truly a beautiful, sincere story, with a great mix of emotion and description. You have a way of sharing the memories you have, and making your readers understand what it was like to be there. Storytelling at its finest.

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

5 Months Ago

I think I might need to frame this review!!! (grinning from ear to ear)!!! To be honest, it's not so.. read more
' and it was the perfect time to soak in an all-over moon tan. We jolted from our beds at the blast of an elk bugling from afar. Then we wrapped up in each other’s arms and rolled down to the softly lapping edge. It felt so delicious as we slithered in for a moonlit dip. '

To live a life so full, exploring, adventuring, with someone you love is extraordinarily inspiring. To travel in such close proximity, to find both same and different moments create such treasured memories.. for you, for your Mark, must be incredible

You write so beautifully and sincerely, never over do or underplay. What the reader sees is you. Thank you for sharing and of course, thanks to dear John for inspiring you. Tis wonderful to think of you both as special friends - unlikely to touch for real but certainly to feel.

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

5 Months Ago

Your comments are over the moon with kindness & making me smile. I did much exploring in my younger .. read more
emmajoy

5 Months Ago

Where we go, who we meet, what we experience is what and who we become, (dear you)

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Added on May 19, 2017
Last Updated on May 19, 2017

Author

barleygirl
barleygirl

Central Coast, CA



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Just loving life & sharing my blessings. more..

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