Categorized | Northern California

Taking a Chance

In spite of my best efforts avoid ever getting in a relationship again, I met a mountain man.  His home is up here. In the mountains.  He is one big guy.  He is younger than me. He has tools, he has guns, he has chainsaws.  As a matter of fact, this guy is so tough that he sharpens his own chainsaws.

With me, he is not tough at all.

Since we have gotten together, I have found myself in all sorts of new places up and down Highway 5. Mountain Man lives near Mount Lassen.  My first visit was up here in November, two weeks after I met him. It was cold. Incredibly cold.  This is how cold it was that first visit:

A single wood stove in the living kept the house surprisingly comfortable – until the fire went out.  All night, I heard loud thumps of snow falling off the trees and landing on the metal roof.  It had been snowing so hard that day that he was not sure the night before if we would be able to leave to go home the next day.  I was sharing a bed with Mountain Man and I really did not know him very well. I did not know him at all. He slept heavily. I slept very badly. The next day there was a break in the snow and we were able to leave. This is what it looked like.

Snowy road

Mountain Man is actually a lot of fun.  He likes driving, he likes adventures, he likes the mountains, he likes the snow. Our trips up north take us up highway 5, usually late at night, because Mountain Man likes an open road. Our first stop is always at the Dunnigan Pilot truck stop for gas, bathroom, and snacks.

PIlot Truck Stop

Once we stopped at the Rolling Hills Indian Casino. It was 1:00 in the morning, crowded and smokey.

As a matter of fact, it was so smokey in there that within ten minutes everything I was wearing stunk. After we left, we continued up 5 until we hit a 24 hour Walmart where I went in to grab some Fabreeze.  Before I started shopping, I hit the restroom, where I found a man. He was standing by the sinks, nonplussed.  I told one of the clerks – who did not look surprised – and who continued walking. A few minutes later, he exited. Since then we have found that our post-midnight Walmart visits always contain something of the bizarre.

PIlot Truck Stop

Since I first met Mountain Man on Friday, October 30th, at Starbucks, at approximately 2:05 in the afternoon, we have only known each other in the winter.  This winter has been particularly long – with an extended rainy season (after years of drought).  The mountains stay cold longer, and I have yet to go there without boots and a coat, although I am finding that Redding in the valley below is much warmer. As spring has progressed, Mountain Man has rototilled my garden and helped me buy a bike. He hauled a bunch of cow manure to my house. The days get longer and the nights get shorter. The air is warmer, even in the mountains.

Somehow we are still together.

Are the Mountain Man and I in love? I don’t know.  We don’t speak of it.

Here are some pictures of winter and early spring in the mountains.

Winter:


 

Spring:

On our way home, after that first weekend together, and after that night of listening to snow crash to the roof, the snow stopped, the plows got through and we were able to get out. Mountain Man took the scenic route down, showing me Whiskeytown Lake. It was raining on and off and and on our way back around the lake we saw a rainbow. Today, in looking at it the photo again, I realize that it is a double rainbow that we passed on our journey. What does it mean? I do not know.

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