Winter Herbal Adventure - Part 1, page 2

Monday, November 05, 2018 8:22 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
Winter Herbal Adventure - Part 1
Page 2

by Jane Foxglove

Lynn did a great job organizing our supplies. Between the four of us we had: a compass, three small flashlights, two tin whistles, a New York State map, a butane lighter, waterproof matches, a few gallons of water, a cosmetic mirror we could signal with, a few handmade scented candles and souvenir mugs I had purchased from the Wild Woman center, toilet paper, bungee cords, a zip-lock bag of granola trail mix, some hard candy mints, Doc's fishing hat (with fish-hooks in it) that he never leaves home without and his big mug and gun.

I always bring along a huge speckle-ware enameled two quart cup when camping plus two large knives and my Swiss Army knife. Lynn had a magnifying glass with the map case and a few pens, markers and paper clips. We had an assortment of colorful flyers and papers from the conference, our sleeping bags, a wool blanket, pillows, and some fancy velvet cloaks and wool capotes from our party wear at the dedication.

We each had jackets, thermal underwear, flannel and khaki shirts, jeans, gloves, extra socks, hats and a sweatshirt with a hood. Between us we had canvas tote bags and assorted plastic bags and zip-lock bags and a small trowel, for digging up plants that I never travel without. The plane trunk held a few tools: screwdriver, hammer, wrench, tie-down ropes, duck tape, tarps and wheel chucks for the plane.

Our first aid kits combined had a surgical knife, needle and threads, sinew, safety pins, butterfly bandages, water purification tablets, band aids, ace bandages, scissors, some napkins, lip balm, skin cream, medications for Doc and Charlie's diabetes, my horse chestnut tincture for leg cramps and lavender oil for stress relief. Lynn had some allergy pills and thyroid medication, spices and salt and some herbal tinctures that Lynn and Doc always carry.

As darkness approached, we saw snow clouds and smelled the scent of snow in the air. While Charlie collected more wood for the fire in the gathering darkness, he stumbled carrying a heavy log. His knee was twisted and sprained and his ankle sore. I wrapped his knee and ankle with an ace bandage.

The native Indians had always used the needles of White Pine for medicinal tea, the sap for band aids and blisters and the pine nuts for food. I remembered that White Pine has five long needles in each cluster. I brewed up a tea of white pine needles from the tall trees around our tent using my large speckled two quart size metal mug to warm the water. I served our leftover sandwiches and warmed cider for dinner along with the tea sweetened with some honey comb.

Doc suggested we sprinkle some of his cayenne pepper in our socks to help keep our feet warm. Now I appreciated his spicy taste buds! Each couple zipped sleeping bags together for cuddle warmth. A wool blanket warmed the floor of our tent, carpeted with pine needles. We huddled around the fire in the middle of the floor circled with rocks so no one could roll into it by accident, and told stories into the night.

Charlie and Doc took turns watching the fire and let us ladies have our beauty sleep. We started out wearing many layers of clothing but in the warmth of the Tipi it wasn't nearly as cold as it got outside during the long winter night. As long as the fire burned well and we were out of the wind it was bearable.

We hoped someone would look for us. But who will think to look on the scenic side of the ridge for us? Still no cell phone service. We kept our cell phones and flashlights in our pockets to protect the batteries from the energy draining cold.

In the morning the fuel smell was gone, the radio still did not work, and the plane could not be started. I warmed more water for a simple meal of cider and granola cereal. We assessed our situation. We are four adults with skills as herbalists, historical re-enactment "time travelers," a distribution manager, a floral designer. But none of us are plane mechanics!

Lynn and I laughed that our husbands would never complain about our packing too much stuff or the weight of our purses again even for a short trip! Charlie joked that all that extra weight may have been what brought the plane down in the first place. We decided to make the best of the situation at hand.

About three inches of snow had fallen. We were in a clearing, on a ridge with no visible roads in sight. Perhaps one of us could walk out of those woods in a day, but we did not want to move Lynn with her painful ribs and, with the cold damp of the morning, her bad cough. Charlie could not walk out with his swollen knee. Doc had many painful RSD spikes and spasms of pain and I knew he could not hike for very long in these hills. After all, this place is called BEAR Mountain. Thank heavens Doc carries a small hand gun.

Charlie suggested we shuffle/dance/stomp the word HELP in large letters in the snow in the clearing and highlight it with more of those colorful flyers from the conference weighted down with rocks so a rescuer could see it from above. We also decided to get a second fire going outside the Tipi to which we could add wet wood to make a lot of smoke to use as a signal fire. Hopefully someone would be curious enough to investigate.

~ To be Continued... ~
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