THE SEVENTH CROSS

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LA PUSH

“Good morning Sweetheart! There she stood, breakfast tray in hand. You were snoring and I didn’t want to wake you, so I decided to serve you breakfast in bed this morning! Here, have some coffee!”

His first thoughts were “I don’t snore.” But instead, “Thanks hon, what a surprise!” And it was. Maybe she’d poisoned the orange juice! Okay, that’s not fair. If anything, it would be him doing the poisoning!

He studied her as he ate. She looked so happy. Was he just losing it? Or was she just playing some elaborate game to throw him off? He needed to go to work. Now.

“Jason, I was thinking . . . ”

“Oh great” under his breath. “About?”

“I was thinking that we should take a few days off. We’ve both been working so hard and we barely see each other except when we’re ready to fall into bed. It’s affecting us. I know it’s affecting me. It’s got to be affecting you too! We need to have some fun!” What happened to the other Janice?

He wanted to shut her down right then and there but that would have been dumb. “You know babe, I’ve been thinking the same thing.”

“You have? I knew it! Let’s go away this weekend. Please.”

How does one say no to that? One doesn’t. And so they made plans for the weekend. Just the two of them; the elephant stays home!

In retrospect, she’d question herself about this decision until her dying day, but this was now, and she desperately wanted her marriage to work. She was used to doing everything to the max, and she’d certainly do the same to save their marriage. She was all in. Hopefully Jason felt the same way! If this didn’t work. . . . She knew he’d never go to counselling. After all, he was a counsellor; forget that! What could they tell him that he didn’t already know? He was weird like that.

So this was their best shot. They’d always love exploring along the beaches at La Push so decided they’d push it a little further this time and tackle the South Coast Wilderness Trail which ran from La Push (Third Beach) to the Hoh River, about 17.5 miles based on their travel guide. They’d stay the first night at Forks, which they’d done a couple of times before. Forks had become a really big deal with the Twilight phenomena, but now that that had finally died down, the place was sane once again. Quaint, really. A step back in time.

They had hiked various portions up and down the coast but usually the shorter portions which just took a few hours. This was was more intense but they were both up for the task. When Jason had mentioned this particular trail, Janice was all in. It would require them spending one night camping on the beach, but that would be no big deal, and besides, the scenery would be spectacular. A final push the next morning would take them to the end of this portion of the trail which ended at the Hoh River.

Suddenly these two were talking again and going through their checklists, tent, cooking utensils, matches, first aid kit, and so on. Oh yes, make sure you pack a bottle of wine. Gotta have that for the camping night. And they both began to giggle. When was the last time they did that?

Janice snuggled into the crock of Jason’s arms and they held each other tightly. This was the way it was supposed to be! A glass of wine capped off a perfect evening. Now, if they could just learn to hit play; rewind; play again; they’d be fine. Maybe, just maybe everything would be fine.

Their home was a joy the next morning. The elephant was nowhere to be found and with just two more sleeps to go, there was plenty of work still to be done. So off Jason went and Janice headed for her study. She may work at home but she was as disciplined as anyone that punched a clock. Besides, they both had 2 days to accomplish 5 days of work!

The next two days whizzed by and finally they pulled out of the driveway. They must have checked their list fifty times, this rather anal couple, but now it was time. Two kids in a convertible barreling down the highway . . .

Two and a half hours to Port Angeles. Stop for lunch, another hour or so to Forks depending on how many times they stopped. The scenery was seductive; it was impossible not to stop for photos. Moss climbed into tree tops, and the glass like lakes took ones breath away. The slight chill in the air completed the mood.

And final, Forks, the home of Edward and Bella, and Jacob, of Twilight fame. Thankfully, summer was over and the groupies of all ages were long since gone home.

So they booked into their room, strolled throughout the town, and went for dinner at Forks favourite haunt. It would be early to bed for this couple as tomorrow’s hike would be no cake walk. And because they needed a really good sleep, that pretty well guaranteed that they wouldn’t get one. And they didn’t. But no matter. Nothing was going to hold these two back.

And what a start! They’d decided to leave their car at the hotel and take a cab out to La Push rather than leave it overnight. Too isolated, convertible top, not worth the risk. They both loved the sound of the crashing waves as they made their way down to ground zero. Huge, nearly white driftwood threatened to block their path as they nimbly made their way to the beckoning ocean mere yards away. And how they loved the seastacks, particularly the so called Giants Graveyard. How many thousands of photos must have been taken of these behemoths! And there was Teawhit Head and further to the east stood Taylor Point. Many a ship had strayed to close to shore in these waters and run aground, hundreds, if memory serves me right.

And finally they were able to dip their toes in the ocean. Officially, their hike had begun! The scenery is stunning in this area and they had to constantly remind themselves that they were alone out here. This would not be a great place to have a mishap, and slips or falls were a constant threat. Pay attention, hike for a time and then stop and admire the view. It wasn’t overly difficult for an experienced hiker but caution was still the keyword.

Also, though time overall was not a huge factor, there was one window that best not be ignored. The tide chart would see to that but their job was to arrive as per tide schedule less they get smashed against the rocks or find themselves out at sea. Get through this area safely and the rest, while not easy, could be at whatever pace they choose.

That would be no issue for these two. So naturally, they arrived at low tide and made their way around the imposing boulders with no issue. Once on the other side they’d decide where they wanted to set up camp for the night. The day was young but there was no hurry. They were all alone. Why not set up camp, do a little beachcombing and enjoy that bottle of wine they had packed. The sunset to come would be mesmerizing, and the wine should ensure a most enjoyable evening.

Two people in love. What could be better! This is exactly what the Doctor had ordered!

Even Jason had to concede that as much as he had reluctantly went along with Janice’s suggestion, as it drew closer, he had gotten more and more excited. And now, he couldn’t imagine being in a better place or with anybody but Janice. He drew her closer to him, wrapped the thermal blanket snugly over their shoulders, and told her how much he loved her. And he meant it! It even surprised him. But he did mean it. Every word.

She snuggled even closer and they stayed like that until the sun dropped over the horizon. If there was ever a God moment, it was now. But finally, with a chill in the air, they made their way into the tent they would call home this night. What a wonderful night!

The early morning light beckoned them awake. Come and discover the treasures that await you. Tide pools exposed by the receding waters revealed their secrets for this couple to see.
A couple of bald eagles lounged nearby, sea gulls filled the air, sea cucumbers, starfish, and a thousand other creatures that claimed the tide pools as their home shared their humble abode with Janice and Jason. Grab this moment in time for soon it will be gone.

Although neither felt like eating, they thought it wise as there were still a few hours to go. Then they packed up, garbage included, and made their way towards the Hoh River. The second leg of the journey proved as wonderful as the first, and though somewhat fatigued, neither wanted this journey to end. What a glorious weekend! From here they’d catch a shuttle back to La Push, stay one more night and head back to Seattle in the morning.

And that’s how that went. Janice was beside herself! Jason was confused. By this time he had self diagnosed and was convinced he was a psychopath, and yet, he could barely wipe the smile off his face. He was in love. He knew it and he also felt it! Now what?

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