July 14, 1977, Thu — Day 6 on the Trail, Lost Cabin; My “Happy Place”
“When we woke up at 5:30 am I found more water in my tent. For breakfast we had Rice Krinkles and milk, beef stick, and apple slices. The apple slices tasted bad and on the outside of the package it read, ‘Don’t eat too many too fast.’ From 7:30 am to 9:05 am we hiked the 4.5 miles to our camp at Lost Cabin. We saw two deer on the way.
As I was drying out my sleeping bag in the nearby meadow I saw two F-15 fighter jets fly directly overhead. At 1:30 we arrived at Apache Springs. We took an Indian sauna bath. The temperature went up to about 160 degrees. I made an arrowhead. We learned about Jiquera Apaches. Mr. Daniels told us our mileage so far was 43 miles. It rained at 1, 7, and 8 pm. “
I didn’t write down any details about drying out my sleeping bag but it was a memorable experience. I carried my sleeping bag into the nearby meadow since the sun was shining and my bag was still wet from the previous night’s rain. I unzipped it flat and threw it onto the waist high grass. It only dropped an inch or two since the grass/weeds were thick. I climbed onto the bag (weighed about 135 pounds) and the dropped about two feet below the tops of the grass but about a foot above the ground.
This was the best nap I’ve ever had in my life. The bees and bugs flew above me and I heard one or two things moving in the grass below me. I felt connected to nature since it was literally all around me but I was undisturbed since I was above and below the local activity. I wasn’t more than 30 yards from the campsite but hidden from view. I have no idea how long I napped but my slumber was ended by two F-15 fighter jets flying fast at low level. That wake-up call was a foreshadowing of my entrance to the Air Force Academy a year later.
A few years later someone gave me advice for dealing with stressful situations where you have no control. I think it was at the Academy when you’re flying in rough turbulence as a passenger. There’s absolutely nothing you can do and getting stressed about it doesn’t help. They told me to remember a peaceful situation and go there in my mind. The high altitude meadow near Lost Cabin (9200 ft.) is my ‘Happy Place’ and where I still go today when I just need a chill pill.