Lure of the Trail

It’s hard to believe I’ve been here in this idyllic place of vast trees and vaster water bodies for eight weeks. Harder to believe my summer adventure is coming to an end, but it is — I’ve already purchased my ticket back to the treeless, waterless desert.

Hardest of all to fathom what I experienced.

I have seen ponds, lakes, lagoons, bays, brooks, creeks, rivers, and especially the ocean. I have seen tiny Douglas fir seedlings and gargantuan coastal redwoods. I have tramped more than a hundred miles through various forest terrains, and almost as many miles along the ocean shores.

I’ve meandered through some of the creepiest places on earth — dark forests with gargoyle-like tree trunks, mouldering stumps of long-dead trees, and moss hanging from blackened branches like the wispy green ghosts reaching out from the centuries.

I’ve wandered through cathedral-like groves of redwoods, the sun shining through the canopy like stained glass.

I’ve traversed ghost highways and long-forgotten logging roads, and though these were not “est” trails — not the longest, shortest, showiest, hardest, or easiest and the trees weren’t the tallest, oldest, biggest — these were some of my favorite hikes. Just pleasant strolls in the woods.

And through it all — dog bite, spained calf muscle, bruises, aching feet, sore muscles, and mosquito bites galore — I never lost the lure of the trail.

This summer adventure might be over, but there are other days, other places, other trails.

And so the adventure continues.


(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)


(The heart is a shell fragment I found on the beach yesterday. Maybe the ocean was telling me it hearts me.)

10 Responses to “Lure of the Trail”

  1. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    So, without meaning to pry (yeah, right), why are you going back to the desert instead of moving to the area where you’ve been hiking?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I don’t want to move anywhere. As for going back to the desert: no mosquitoes, my car is there (still not finished. Sheesh.), I have dance classes. But mostly because I have a housesitting job. In November, assuming my car is finished, I’m heading for Louisiana.

      • Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

        I hope you like gumbo. And maybe the great music at New Orleans’ Preservation Hall… Of course, Louisiana has plenty of mosquitoes.

        • Pat Bertram Says:

          By then, I hope to have mosquito repellant clothing or maybe Avon skin-so-soft or some other repellant that doesn’t repel me as well as the bugs. I get flu symptoms when I get to many bites. I hope the situation will be more manageable in November and December. If not, I’ll . . . Well, I’ll figure something out.

          • Ree` Edwards Says:

            If you find “mosquito repellant clothing”, please let the rest of us know about it too!

          • Pat Bertram Says:

            Google mosquito repellant clothing.  There is a lot of it out there.

          • Ree` Edwards Says:

            Well I took your advice and googled “mosquito repellant clothing” . Yep, I found it just like you said. Big problem for me, it was cost prohibitive.
            Too, I had to wonder (after checking some of the reviews) how well it (they, whatever) really work since I am extremely allergic to the little beasts! Think I’ll just have to stick with the Deep Woods Off for now. (Sigh)

  2. Wanda Hughes Says:

    You have a way with words! You make this place I live seem so beautiful, mysterious and breathtaking…oh, right it is all those things and more. That’s why I live here. But you do have a way of showing others what you see. Gonna miss you. But your invite stands, any time.

  3. Kathy Says:

    What a wonderful adventure, Pat! Looking forward to your next one.

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