Last Sunday, we had a picnic. The holiday weekend wasn't quite as warm and sunny as I'd hoped for, but in spite of the gloomy weather we drove up into the mountains for a relaxing day.
It was the last weekend possible to drive up to Mount Evans, before the road was closed for the winter, and even though September has barely begun, it felt like winter had come early up there. As we drove, I realized that I hadn't dressed nearly warm enough, and was glad that I had my gym bag in the car with yoga pants and tennis shoes, as well as my cozy "grandma sweater" (as Jamie calls it) tossed in the back seat for just such a day.
The fog was light as we approached the peak, but the skies were becoming steadily darker, with a drizzly rain misting our faces and thunder rumbling in the distance. We got out of the car, and I felt suddenly light-headed from the altitude of more than 14,000 feet; high altitude has always affected me strangely, even landing me in a Tibetan hospital in my 20s where I had to get oxygen for several days to drain the fluid that had filled my lungs.
So as we were contemplating climbing to the top, wondering if we'd be able to see anything through the thickening fog, it started hailing - which made it easy for us to decide to get back into the car. Visibility was low as we drove back down those curvy mountain-side roads, with the fog allowing just a few glimpses here and there of the mountains.
The rain slowed, and we stopped at a picnic area beside the road. With our picnic basket and blankets, we walked down the hill into the woods to a stream, past the people at the picnic tables, and down the stream a little bit to a pretty area with moss-covered rocks, where only the sound of the water flowing over the rocks could be heard. The woods were green and damp, and wild mushrooms were growing everywhere.
We sat on blankets by the stream and ate our lunch of sandwiches, cheese, berries, pickles, olives, mini pies, chocolate and wine. After we ate, Jamie fell asleep for a few minutes and the rain started drizzling again all around us, but we stayed dry under our canopy of trees overhead. It was so beautiful and peaceful.