…..that is the fog (a Robt. Frost poem). And we have had a herd o’ cats these last three days. The fog is so thick we cannot see 200 feet and have not been able to now for three whole days and nights.
‘Course some things still have to get done.
One of them was the water line. It had slowed to a trickle and, interestingly, a trickle is enough water for us. Twenty four hours of stream-trickle fills up the cistern about the same amount as what we took out that day. I am guessing 60 gallons. So the trickle is a bit over two gallons an hour. Good enough……?
Not for Sal. The water line is her job! “Let’s get ‘er done. Take me in. Pick me up. I’ll fix it.”
Taking Sal ‘in’ is not quite as easy as it sounds. We get in the boat, with the dogs, and I head out. Down the bay we go. Depending on where the tide is, I find a ‘drop-off’ spot. There is no dock. There is no float. There is only rocky shoreline. Some of the rocky shoreline is just granite at 45 degrees and covered in slimy moss or just plain slime, some of it is boulder strewn gravel, some of it is almost impassable. I always find a spot. “OK, this is as good as I can do here. Get out. Get out as quickly as possible or the waves will push me against the rocks”. Sal gets out. Nimble as always. Sometimes she has to scramble over moss. Sometimes her feet are in water. Always the footing is precarious.
A few times, she has slipped and gone in. The water is 9C. She’s soaked. “Never mind. I’ll get dry later. I’ll just do it wet!”
The dogs are always a bit reluctant. Daisy pushes to the gunwale and looks over with trepidation. That’s all she does. Doesn’t move. Gus is less assertive but gets impatient with Daisy being reluctant and, very quickly, launches himself over her into the water or onto the boulders or sliding on the moss. Gus is a go-dog. He just gets wet. Daisy is a pussy. However, the sight of Gus and Sal scrambling their way ashore and, perhaps, the thought of being stuck with me always seems to prompt Daisy and out she goes. The Intrepid Trio are then on the move.
On the move is not easy. There is no trail for the first part – from the anywhere boat landing to the beginning of the ascent up a steep trail to the Old Cabin and the stream is just ad hoc scrambling and climbing, slipping and sliding, tripping and falling. That’s about 100 feet of boulder scrambling, bush-whacking, slippery-rock walking, water-wading determination just to get started. That part is easier for the dogs and Sal ‘Just Does It’. It would not be an unfair comparison to an urban rock-wall climbing while being sprayed by a hose wearing several layers of clothing. It is not a long haul but it is definitely a challenge.
I need to remind readers that Ol’ Sal is now, actually, a smidge well, old. We are talking NORTH of 70. Look around you at the women you know even close to that age and imagine dropping them off on a slimy, rocky, wet, cold beach without so much as a hand-hold. Imagine they do NOT step onto a dock but fling themselves over the side of a small boat. And then, send me their names and phone numbers. We might need some back-up.
The next part of the task is almost as daunting simply because it is all up a steep hill over rough ground. But the ground is softer and there is a trail of sorts, mostly. Sal could find her way up blindfold after all these years. Still, there are sometimes trees down, there is a section that really needs a short rope to assist with the climb and, of course, there is the pool from which the pipe gets filled. That pool is about ten feet in diameter and varies between an almost dry puddle and a raging torrent depending on the year and recent rains. Sal has, on more than one occasion, stripped down to ‘essentials’ and waded in an ice-cold mountain stream, ducked her head under and cleared the intake. Then she gets out, dries herself as good as she can and treks back down the other side to clear any air or debris in the line from any of the four inspection points (valves). By then she is back at the beach and I pick her up. We go home and I make her a cup of tea.
Elapsed time: maybe an hour. Sal’s always smiling. Sometimes soaking wet, sometimes only half wet and only rarely is she dry. The dogs are ecstatic. Going up the stream is one of the major delights for the dogs. They just zoom around running all over. Me, well, someone has to keep the boat from drying on an ebbing tide and that someone also has to steady the boat for loading and unloading. I’m invaluable.
“Can you still make the trek up, Dave?”
Yes, I can. Barely (it’s the getting in and out the boat on the shoreline that I find difficult now). I can do it all still but it is more challenging for me than Sal. I am not as light on my feet, not as flexible and it would take a lot longer. This is a good separation of duties. Did I mention that I also made the tea?