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Unforgettable Moments: my response to Jodah's writers' challenge

Updated on December 17, 2017
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Chris practices free writing which often produces humorous or introspective results with practical applications to living life more fully.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park, Montana | Source

Author's Note

A while back, John Hansen, Jodah on HP, issued a writers' challenge. The gist of it is this, that we find a sentence in a book, magazine, etc and use it to tell a story. We are to take each word of the sentence in order and use each one as the first word of the next sentence of our story or essay. In my story, or rather essay, I will italicize the first word of each sentence.

Here is the link to Jodah's article which introduces the challenge. How to Construct a Short Story Using One Sentence as a Prompt.

I apologize for being so late for this challenge, but once I understood what it entailed, I did not want to miss the opportunity to participate.

The Random Sentence From Which My Essay is Built

"In the morning, the sun was up, and the tent was starting to get hot."

From Big Two-Hearted River, Part Two by Ernest Hemingway

In the State of Montana, there is a seemingly, never ending list of places to wander, climb and paddle, especially around the city of Missoula since it lies at the convergence of five mountain ranges and along the banks of the Clark-Fork and Bitterroot rivers with the Backfoot not far off. The end of my work week marked the beginning of my play time which ran from 3:00 pm on Fridays till about 8:00 pm on Sundays and was always spent in some mountain canyon, wilderness area or National Park, backpacking, camping and fly fishing.

Mountain Stream, Glacier National Park

Mountain stream in Glacier National Park
Mountain stream in Glacier National Park | Source

Morning was my favorite time during those adventures, and one such outing took me to Jewel Basin in the Flathead National Forest, just 45 miles from Glacier National Park. The rain was steady and was accompanied by a thick fog, both of which kept me company as I hiked a mere three miles to the first of a series of small, mountain lakes. Sun rose while I stayed put in my dry tent and sleeping bag, but as the morning progressed, the heat drove me out to explore my surroundings since the fog had prevented me from seeing much the evening before. Was there ever such a place on God’s green earth, so unspoiled, so wild, so…wet, yet drying as the sun did it’s job, just as everything attended to it’s own task in that wonderful place? Up in the now cloudless blue sky, still far in the east, the sun continued to rise, warming the humid air, causing the dense fog covering the surface of the lake to quickly rise all at once. And I could do nothing but take it all in as best I could as the spectacle was carried out before my eyes…and camera lens. The next hour or so, I spent making breakfast and packing my wet tent after attempting to dry it briefly, but the trail called and I wanted to get to my next campsite by mid morning. Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and all supplies, including a fair amount of rainwater, went into my backpack, and off I went on the trail which immediately began to climb higher and higher until I could see ahead of me only blue sky. Was this place, this view, this spectacle of spectacles, this awesomeness created on this morning for me alone, for no other eyes to witness except those of the birds, the deer, the bear, the mountain lion, the moose, the elk, whose imprints I saw in the fresh mud that morning? Starting from where I stood at the high point of the trail I had been climbing, my eyes took in a scene the likes of which my eyes will never again witness this side of heaven. To say the word beautiful or breathtaking or…break out the thesaurus and make a list, but those words on that morning were empty in light of what my eyes beheld. Get ready for what I am about to say, because it is all I can say, which is that the scene was simply not describable, yet I will leave you with a photograph, which does only its own injustice to the moment.

Hot cereal cooked in my camping pot the next morning as I packed my gear and prepared to retrace the steps of the day before, knowing that no such scene awaited me this day because the night had been fair and the most unforgettable moments in life seem to follow on the heels of the darkest and stormiest of nights.

Jewel Basin, Montana

Jewel Basin, Flathead National Forest, Montana
Jewel Basin, Flathead National Forest, Montana | Source
working

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