Back home in full colour

The sun and Snow Creek Wall put on one last show for me by way of goodbye.
The sun and Snow Creek Wall put on one last show for me by way of goodbye.
A rock spire on the side of Snow Creek Wall is lit by the slanting rays of the sun as I descend into the canyon.
A rock spire on the side of Snow Creek Wall is lit by the slanting rays of the sun as I descend into the canyon.

I rose with as much leisure as possible, and waited for the sun to dry everything out before I packed. It was another glorious day in The Enchantments, and I was so reluctant to leave. Finally I began the 4000 foot drop back down to civilization.

Every bit of the trail was as beautiful as it was on the way up. I took lots of breaks because my bad knee was complaining. I would sit on one of the many available granite boulders, and gaze in admiration at the world around me. I passed one point in the trail where rustling leaves caught my attention. I first took a photo, then realized what was so beautiful about the spot was the sound, and not the image. So then I took a video. A couple of hikers came up while I was filming. I held up a finger for them to stay back till I finished. They got very excited and looked intently up the hill to discover what wildlife I had discovered. Then I stopped the video and disappointed them when I explained, “No wildlife, just rustling Aspen leaves.”

It looks sort of pretty, but this photo does not convey the magical sound.
It looks sort of pretty, but this photo does not convey the magical sound.

Lots of people passed me on the way up, which was a mystery until I recalled that it was Friday, and guessed that Seattle people were likely getting an early start on weekend hiking. They asked me lots of questions about trail conditions, campsites, and goats. I tried to encourage them by telling them about the trail ahead in the best possible way. “You’re at least half way to the lake!”

A bracket fungus captured my attention while I was resting.
A bracket fungus captured my attention while I was resting.

At the bottom of the hill the parking lot was jammed, compared to the empty lot I had seen Tuesday morning. Yet another affirmation for hiking popular trails during the week. I dumped my dirty smelly pack into the back of the Jeep and grabbed some clean clothes to bring up front with me – for changing in the first bathroom I could find. I plugged in my phone, and it started beeping it’s little heart out as battery life and cell signal brought in all the texts and phone messages I had missed.

One key phone message was from human resources. Yes! I got a promotion. A new job, more accurately. Since it’s government, there is no such thing as promotion in that someone says “Hey Crystal, you’re doing well and we’ve decided to pay you more,” because that could be unfair. So, when a different position became available, I submitted my resume and supporting documents, went through an interview, and was selected for the position.

Pros: higher salary, completely new job within VA that I get to learn and thus will stay interested in work, good career move, good retirement move since my retirement pay will be based on my highest salary.

Cons: I have to change my schedule from compressed to five days a week, and commute to the office every day while I’m in training. Drive to work. Every day. Cuz…remember I live on Jupiter now. I’m out beyond public transportation, and I do not drive a fuel-efficient vehicle, and I’ll have to pay for parking smack downtown. Bluh. ….but it’s an investment in my future, right?

I get to bury myself ever more deeply into veterans disability claims and with this new position I will be able to help them more than ever before. That makes me really happy.

I was so eager to get home that I decided to make the 4 1/2 hour drive rather than find a hotel. I texted Tech Support, who was house-sitting, and let him know I was on my way. He texted back that the chickens had been loose during the week, but all was well at the moment (Someone must have told them they could fly. I was trying to keep that a secret.) He left the heat and lights on so when I arrived in the middle of the night, the place was so welcoming. 🙂

He also left me with this memento, taken from my place while I was gone:

The starry sky from Crystal's place. Photo credit: Tech Support, friend, chicken-catcher and house-sitter.
The starry sky from Crystal’s place. Photo credit: Tech Support, friend, chicken-catcher and house-sitter.
An apple from my tree.
An apple from my tree.

My piece of land is growing on me as she changes her clothes for the season. I have decided there simply aren’t enough colours out there for a proper Autumn view, and I will plant trees with this in mind, so I can enjoy them in future years. There are a few maples turning colours though, and I have been able to capture a few photos of them. It has begun raining again, and the creek level is rising. The pond is still too low and I’ve talked to a neighbor who has a pump and generator, who may be able to lend it to me to restore my little puddle to something more pond like. I’ve harvested apples from my two apple trees and made a pie. The deer eat what I haven’t had a chance to pick up off the ground. I feel more assured when I can walk around and take stock and see what’s changed and what’s stayed the same. I suppose I’m becoming more of a country girl with each day.

Creek level is rising again.
Creek level is rising again.
A new creek view, available due to some heavy pruning of this big cedar that was dropping branches to the water.
A new creek view, available due to some heavy pruning of this big cedar that was dropping branches to the water.
One of the few maples painting my land red.
One of the few maples painting my land red.
A view up toward the house from down where I'm building a bonfire pile.
A view up toward the house from down where I’m building a bonfire pile.
Distracted by a spider (but you can still see the red in the background). Isn't the colouring gorgeous?
Distracted by a spider (but you can still see the red in the background). Aren’t the patterns on the abdomen gorgeous?
I can't resist red. So yummy.
I can’t resist red. So yummy.

20 thoughts on “Back home in full colour

  1. Gosh – those aspens are very talkative! I feel like I was able to accompany you for part of this trip and am so glad for the reports that allowed that feeling! I’m also glad you are safely back home in a warm and safe environment and congratulations on the promotion – or new job….. will you be able to be more flexible when the training is over? There’s nothing quite as galling as seeing all your pay rise spent on gas and parking money!

    1. I’m glad I thought to get a video of the Aspens talking. That gave a better sense of the moment.

      Yes, as long as I have to commute every day, my pay raise will be entirely sucked up in gas and parking costs. But in answer to your question, yes, I expect to be released to work at home again in the future. It will be once I am comfortable enough to work alone…so I’m giving myself months. I don’t want to push it. But my new supervisor is very understanding and I’m sure she will work with me on whatever I want to do, once my training is complete.

    1. My “not promotion!” ha ha. Thank you. Yes, I am proud of myself for taking the chance. It’s a job with more demands on my abilities, so I’m a bit anxious. But I know I can do it. It’s just the interim period (right now) where I just don’t know what’s going on, that’s unnerving.

      I love my plot too. It’s a lot of land to keep track of, but luckily it doesn’t need much from me right now. It’s almost winter, and things aren’t bursting forth and needing to be maintained. That’s a relief.

  2. Sorry about the commute. Hopefully once you are trained, you can go back to your normal schedule. I almost couldn’t see the photo Tech Support took until I clicked on it. It needs a dark background to do it justice. I miss my Aspen trees that we had on the mountain in AZ. We planted lots of them. They need cold. I’m glad you had a wonderful time on your hike. Something to keep in your thoughts on the commute. 🙂 Hugs.

    1. Yes!! Good idea to think about my hike while commuting. I have been. I’ve also been reading my audio book while on the road. If I get into the story, I forget to be frustrated about being bumper to bumper, going 4 miles an hour.

      I want to plant some Aspen on my property. Like you said, they need cold, so I’m not sure it will work, but I will give it a try anyhow. I have lots of tree plans. I don’t know if you recall the tiny island in the pond? I want to put a weeping willow out there. Also, I want to put a row of dense something between me and the neighbors. heh heh…

      1. Boy do I understand the dense something. I have some Arbor Vita between me and one side but they have a lot of spiders. There really isn’t enough room on that side but you have plenty. I loved audio books when I was driving. TS always has one going too. Weeping willow would be nice out there. 🙂

  3. Congratulations on the promotion. definitely a lot going on in your life. Your piece of land looks like an absolutely beautiful spot. It will be wonderful to unwind after your day in the city.
    All the best! 🙂
    ~Carl~

    1. Thank you so much Carl. I have spent one week of classroom training so far, learning my new job, and yesterday (Friday) began working. It’s a new world. Familiar work, but done from a different point of view. And also, this team is still in the dark ages and keeps track of workload with excel spreadsheets and paper print outs. Even some of the files we work on will be paper personnel documents and medical records…ha ha!

      You are right that my little sanctuary here is the perfect place to unwind. I have had friends offer their homes in the city, for those nights when I don’t feel like driving. And I really appreciate those offers. But I have to admit, I can’t really unwind at someone else’s house. It’s being home with my kitty, and my chickens, and the deer and coyotes that allows me to truly find peace.

      1. I would definitely be the same way.. There is nothing really like home, where you can truly relax, be yourself and be at peace..

        It was fun reading about your new job experiences. I know you will be a tremendous asset with your knowledge and experience.

        Have a wonderful 1st week ahead! 🙂

        ~Carl~

  4. A country girl, you are. Your spot on Jupiter looks like a handful. So much to do. Always. But I suspect that once you’ve completed that long expensive commute from town, you feel like you are on vacation. Nice move.

    1. Ha ha ha!! Perfect perspective! When I get to spend a day out here it DOES feel like I’m on vacation, or at least on a camping trip (same thing?). We just got the first emails from administration that solicited volunteers for when working at home on my new team becomes available. You can believe me that I already submitted my name! But I’ll have to wait till I’m out of training first. In any case, I am pretty happy that the long expensive commute is looking for certain like a temporary arrangement.

      1. Setting aside the cost, waste and time of your commute, the view from your home office table is so much better. And then, you’ll also be able to keep an eye on those clucking yard birds.

  5. All the best for your new adventures, Crystal 🙂

    Really enjoyed the trek and hope you get enough breaks in between your new job to explore and share this stunningly beautiful place 🙂

    Have a great time 🙂

    1. so glad you were able to come along on my hike with me! Yes, work is keeping me really busy for now, and I don’t have time to do much of anything. It’s all an investment in my future though. One of these days – hopefully not too far in the future – I’ll be working at home again, and able to enjoy my beautiful piece of land.

      1. We all need this break so badly 🙂

        You need to get really busy to be able to appreciate the holidays and spare time you manage to get, right?

        I am sure, you will explore you beautiful backyard whenever you get time and share the gorgeous images with us 🙂

        Have a great time 🙂

  6. Welcome home and congratulations! You had an incredible trip and came home to good news.
    I’m happy for you, Crystal. Your independence, passion, spirit, and love for the earth make me happy to know you!

  7. I remember when you were cleaning and moving in, then your friends arriving to celebrate. I am so happy the place feels like home snd you were so excited you pushed to get home, Crystal. Your yard snd views from the special mountains (Enchantments) were such gifts to pass on yo us homebound or work bound people. My past six vacations include Lake Erie but mainly sitting, holding my Mom’s hand. We watch mysteries, some Hallmark and old movies. Occasionally, a dinner out. This brings me much contentment. ♡
    Oh, your spider is very interesting, Crystal. I featured bees and a beetle recently on my posts. I haven’t decided what to write about my spider photograph, but I have one consuming a bug. Smiles, Robin xo

    1. I find it fascinating to watch insects, spiders, beetles, worms. Fun to discover that you are also interested. I practically gasped in awe at the patterns on this spider’s abdomen. Gorgeous.

      Thanks for sharing my adventures with me. I’m glad this place is feeling like home now, too.

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