Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 62: Angry Cows

Dscn4640bOctober 12: It never did rain during the night, surprisingly enough. Had I made a bet, it would have been a bet I lost and lost badly. By morning, we woke up to a bit of fog but an otherwise clear day! It didn’t last long, however, as ugly and angry clouds rolled in later in the morning. Just a matter of time before the rain would start. We’d already beat the odds, but our luck wouldn’t hold forever.


According to some pilgrims, today was a holiday and many markets and shops were closed in celebration, but Karolina and I had no idea what holiday it was. Columbus Day? I told Karolina about Columbus Day in the United States—a holiday she had no reason to be familiar with—and I knew it was “about” this time of year, although I had to admit I didn’t know the exact date of it since it changed from year to year. Second Monday of October or something like that. Not really much of a holiday as far as holidays are concerned either. One of those ‘non-eventful’ holidays. Some people even felt it’s wrong to celebrate given how many indigenous people in the New World ended up dying from diseases and war. But considering that Columbus sailed from Spain, maybe Spain celebrated a version of it too?


I didn’t find out until much later when I got online, but I was essentially correct. =) They actually call it Hispanic Day (or National Day), and it commemorates the day Columbus first set foot on the New World.


At a bar, Karolina went to use the restroom, and she was gone for an unusually long period of time. When she did finally came out, I joked that I was starting to worry that the toilet monster had gotten her.


“He tried,” she answered straight-face, “but I won the battle!”


In my head, I imagined her doing battle with a plunger in hand against a giant, human-sized poop, conquering it as it crashed to the ground in defeat. It made me laugh enough to write about the exchange in my journal entry for day. =)


The rain stayed away, but Karolina walked a bit slow due to a pain on her foot that was giving her trouble. It wasn’t really a blister as such. It looked more like chaffing, actually, but at the tip of her one toe, and I didn’t really have any suggestions for what she could do to make it feel better.


Later in the afternoon, we passed a field of cows, who all seemed to be minding their own business. For whatever reason, though, Karolina had to try to “talk” to them and said, quite loudly, “Moooo!” Most of them ignored her, but one of them suddenly became very interested in her, running up to the edge of the field and even starting to climb up an embankment and threw its front hooves up a stone wall, popping its head over trying to get to Karolina. It was rather startling! Karolina panicked and all but ran down the trail away from the cow, despite the pain on her toe. It was the fastest I’d seen Karolina move all day!


Despite the cows best efforts, however, it wasn’t able to get over the rock wall and we safely got by. Karolina slowed down back to her regular pace and wondered allowed if she had somehow “insulted” the cow with her moo. “Maybe it was cow talk for ‘Your mom was salted at McDonalds’ or something,’” she told me. I laughed. Dang, that was funny. Is that how cows insult each other? =)


Karolina and I decided to take a scenic, alternative path rather than follow the main trail. Not the least of which was because since it had not yet started raining, we wanted to camp out again and the alternative path looked like it went through a forest away from civilization and roads while the main path would have provided a lot fewer camping options. Our alternative path climbed up a hill towards some wind turbines, and passed a couple more fields of cows who started mooing at us earnestly.


Karolina said that maybe her angry cow passed on the insult message to her cow friends, so now all of the cows in Galicia are after her. I encouraged this thought, agreeing, “Yes! They’re watching you! And they’ll probably have a hit squad to take you out at Finisterre! Oh, Karolina, you messed with the wrong cow!”


We set up camp near a stand of eucalyptus trees, and I set up my tarp again in case of rain. I was still more than a little surprised we’d managed to avoid it completely since leaving Santiago. We ate our dinners, and wrote in our journals. As it started to get dark, though, I was getting a little bored. My headlamp was no longer working—the battery had corroded the terminals in it—and after it got dark, I really didn’t have anything to do except listen to my iPod, talk, or fall asleep. And I had run out of things to talk about with Karolina, and I wasn’t very tired. I could listen to my iPod, but that’s kind of boring when that’s all one is doing.


If only we had 50 Shades of Grey to finish reading, I thought. But wait a minute…. I did have my Kindle, and it was filled with books! I probably had 50 books at my disposal! Except that they were all way too long to finish reading before we reached Finisterre. Well, all of them except for one….


In a fit of inspiration, I turned to Karolina. “Want to read my book?” I asked her. =)


I had told her weeks earlier about the book I wrote, A Tale of Two Trails. And she even looked through it on my Kindle wanting to see all of the pictures I drew in it, but she never had time to read it. So she was well aware of the book already, but I knew she hadn’t read it and figured she might have fun doing so. And, most importantly, it was short enough that I felt certain we could finish reading it aloud in just a couple of nights, which was all the time we had before we reached the end.


Karolina perked up at the idea, and I started reading it to her. It was a riveting tale of my hike along the West Coast Trail and Juan de Fuca Marine Trail in western Canada. They weren’t long trails—combined, they were only about 80 miles long—but for such a short trail, it packed in a heck of a lot of excitement and adventure! (If you’re interested in reading it, there is a 99 cent Kindle version available too—which you can read online if you don’t actually have a Kindle.)


After a half hour or so, I handed the Kindle over for her to continue reading. Not only was my voice getting tired, but it was getting too dark for me to read the text anymore. Karolina read with her headlamp for awhile, then when she got tired, handed it back to me—along with her headlamp so I could see what I was reading. She didn’t really need it while I was reading anyhow.


Karolina would stumble over some of the bigger words in the book, not surprising since English wasn’t her first language. I’d occasionally stumble over a word as well, but for entirely different reasons. “Do’h! That word is spelled wrong! How did I miss that after so many edits? How did all my editors miss it too?!” Or, “What the heck was I thinking when I wrote such a twisted sentence? Argh!” Karolina seemed to find these sorts of interjections amusing.


About halfway through the book, I was starting to get tired and fall asleep, and I was sure we’d set it aside and read the rest the next night when I had reached the end of the West Coast Trail but before I started the Juan de Fuca Trail. It was a natural place to stop, but Karolina was clearly enjoying the story and didn’t want to stop. Eventually, I asked to take the Kindle back so I could read it—listening to her reading it was putting me to sleep. I was just too tired. When I was doing the actual reading, though, it tended to wake me up again. So I read the last part just to keep me awake, and by golly, we finished the entire book that night.


Karolina seemed a little disappointed when the book came to an end, clearly having enjoyed it and even saying how much fun it was to read the book aloud and that she might try to talk some friends into reading books aloud when she got home. It’s really a shame Karolina wasn’t with me when I was camping with the Australian girls reading 50 Shades of Grey. “We were reading aloud every night!” I told her.


Then I set the Kindle aside and fell promptly asleep.




I’m not sure why all these snails are clustered in this telephone pole,
but when I pointed it out to Karolina, she told me,
”It’s an alburgue for snails!” Ha! =)


Karolina prepares her dinner. On a related note, that white bottle
in front of my tarp is milk. I had long since run out of
powered milk and now had to carry real milk. I deliberately
threw that bottle out in the open so it would get cold overnight, though. =)


Sue KuKu said...

Is that how cows insult each other? Good to know. I better watch how I moo at them from now on.

I always felt when cats were fighting and growling, they had insults "Your mother only had one father for her litter!"

Anonymous said...

No picture of the mad cow?
Ona Journey