Dear Readers: I have added two new categories to Law Blog: Probate Administration and Random (not necessarily law-related). This is my first post under the Random category.
Last week I had the rare opportunity to backpack into one of the many Alpine lakes in the Desolation Wilderness for an overnight stay. I borrowed some gear and packed up everything I thought I would need to make the trip and get through the night (and then some). Having no reliable water purification system, I stuffed enough bottled water in my backpack to get me through the next 24 hours. Packing bottled water was a mistake that won’t be repeated in this lifetime.
My pals were experienced backpackers and having done this trip before were moving along much faster than me with my unnecessarily heavy load. We arrived at the lake just in time to take an icy dip before sundown. Tents were up in no time leaving the rest of the afternoon and early evening for exploring, eating dinner, talking, and simply enjoying the beauty of the lake and our surroundings. It was the perfect setting for my first experience of “packing in” for the night.
Morning came peacefully; the lake was calm. We broke camp and were soon on our way back to the trailhead. After a couple of hours, I lost sight of my friends who had gone ahead. The trail continued up the ridge through a crop of granite boulders, and then seemed to disappear. I looked down below me and saw another trail that looked promising, so I backtracked and went on my way. It wasn’t long before I realized I was on a trail heading in the wrong direction. I stopped and called out to my friends, but there was no answer, and I was alone. I looked for my whistle but remembered I had borrowed my backpack and had forgotten to attach it. I was going to have to improvise.
Growing up as a middle child in a family with five brothers and four sisters, I taught myself to whistle “like the boys did” with my two fingers pressed up against my tongue. It takes a while to learn, but once you get it right, the result is a powerful high-pitched, ear-piercing shriek that travels all the way across the playground. Having not done this since my teens, I doubted that I could still do it, but I gave it a try and there it was. Once, twice, three times, and louder and longer each time. I was pleasantly surprised, and my mood improved. After a few minutes, I heard my pals yelling for me. They were high up on the ridge, looking down at me, waving their arms. They had heard my whistles! Relieved, I climbed up the ridge to meet them.
All it took was a real whistle.
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