On The Loop Trail In The Hoh Rainforest With An Umbrella

My boots were embossing the muddy trail alongside hers and from what I could tell, there was nary a bug in the rainforest.

A steady breeze off the river found its way through the gnarly web of braches covered in chenille blankets of moss, and a chill hung in the air, trapped there under the thick canopy.

Back home that would be enough to chase them away. She, however, had already convinced herself that there were bugs and that they were coming after her. Tears mixed with falling dew drops and it became impossible to know where the freshwater ended and saltiness began. The rest of us were left to wait out the storm.

The umbrella was free. It was slid in beside the glitter t-shirt and long sleeve kitty cat pajamas by the cashier because our purchases totaled more than $50. On this day, with those bugs and on that trail, the umbrella became a crutch, a pink and black coping mechanism providing a layer of no DEET protection so a 10 year old girl and her family could complete the mile and a quarter loop back to the visitors center, collect her prize magnet that’ll denote a visit to this place long after memories of bugs, umbrellas and muddy footprints have dripped away, and climb inside the minivan unharmed. 

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