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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Mosquito Gifts

A journal entry last night was out of the question. We walked out of Anaconda yesterday afternoon in good spirits. We had a 20 miles road walk ahead of us to get back to the Continental Divide, but it didn't matter. It was a beautiful day and I felt so blessed to be doing this.





After about 10 miles of paved road walking, the paved road turned into a dirt road. We were glad to be off the paved road, but hordes of mosquitoes greeted us as we walked through irrigated farmland. It was the worst mosquito area yet. We were literally swarmed. We each had clouds of mosquitoes around us as we walked, and the little suckers were dive-bombing us. I just kept walking. There was no stopping to put on clothes. There were too many of them. Our hands, arms and legs were bloody from swatting them. I just walked, hoping we'd get away from them in a few miles as we turned up towards the mountains and began our climb up towards the divide.

As we made that turn, the numbers of the little buggers did diminish. After only a mile or two of climbing though, we ran out of daylight. We climbed off the road high on a ridge hoping for some wind to keep them away. No
such luck.

Setting up my shelter on the rocky ground was out. We climbed in our bags. I put my balaclava on and my hat over my face. Now I was safe. There were probably 25 mosquitoes on my hat right above my face alone. I fell asleep with the white noise of mosquitoes buzzing all around me. I would have been eaten alive had I done a journal entry.

It was a broken sleep. I woke up 20 times itching like crazy on my hands and face. What a night. The last time I woke up I could see dawn on its way. The numbers of mosquitoes were down to tolerable levels because of the cold of the morning. We ate quickly and walked out of there at 5:30 a.m. A few hours up the road and we crested the divide. No mosquitoes up here. How wonderful.

We walked north along the divide with pretty views back down in the valley towards Anaconda. When we got to Cold Spring, we filled up our water bottles, ate lunch and took a long siesta. It was such a beautiful spot - grassy meadows, the perfume-like scent of lupine flowers wafting around us, a gentle breeze and no mosquitoes. We slept for 2 1/2 hours. It felt so luxurious and pleasant to nap in that spot with no mosquitoes. I appreciated it so much. It may have been my favorite nap of my whole life.

To appreciate the comfort of things like sleeping, going to the bathroom, or eating a meal without mosquitoes, you first have to have to do these things with hordes of mosquitoes. This is the gift of all suffering. To fully appreciate health, you have to go without it for a time.

Sometimes, suffering is necessary in order to slow us down and openthe heart. When your heart fully opens and you greet the dawn on that first day of your Greater Life, you will have immense gratitude for every experience that helped you get to this place of freedom. I say, side-step suffering when you can. But when it comes, embrace it with gratitude for the gifts it brings you.

After our nap, we walked on nearly mosquito-free after our nap to a camp high on a ridge with nice sunset views. We walked our marathon today, but the little bastards were there to greet us at the finish line in abundant numbers. :o)))
Another marathon tomorrow and we'll be into our next resupply town in Elliston.

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