Every year, for fourteen years, when I start picking up highway litter, I ask myself if this might be my last season. What body part will fail and bring an end to it all? Feet, ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, hands? Or perhaps that muscle that runs down the left side of my back?
But the more I walk, the stronger I get and the body parts just get with the program. Only once was I stopped cold and that was the summer I got tendonitis in my right arm (tennis elbow) from repetitive squeezing of the Grab Stick handle. I was almost at Turnagain Pass and had to quit. I couldn’t even pick up a glass of water with my right hand.
|Jerome Lake pullout in winter|
|Jerome Lake in summer|
I’m having that conversation with myself this year too, the beginning of my fifteenth season. I have a piece of broken bone in my knee that is troublesome and I’m babying it in the hope it doesn’t act up again and lay me low while it heals, as it did in January.
|A pair of Barrow's goldeneyes in early spring|
|Sandpiper on lily pad.|
However, there’s another problem that might be even more powerful: a really bad attitude.
I drove up to Jerome Lake a few days ago to check on the snow and ice melting progress. I was dismayed at the amount of litter there. It is such a nice pullout. Next to Tern Lake pullout, it’s my favorite.
One of the abandoned cars is gone, but the other is still there. It’s been heavily vandalized and pieces of it are scattered around as vandals and thieves make off with what they can.
These photos barely begin to show the amount of litter because the camera picks up only the light-colored stuff.
|Dirty diapers really tick me off.|
Any other year I would have seen this mess as a challenge and jumped right into cleaning it up. This year is different.
I looked at all this and thought about all the hours and body pain I put into making a scenic drive look even better. I thought about all the wear and tear on my truck over the years and how it’s now throwing transmission codes. And, I figured I’ve spent more than $7000 in gasoline over the years. It wore me down.
What if I don’t clean up Jerome Lake? What if I just clean up the roadside and ignore the pullout?
What if I just let the pigs wallow in their own filth?!!!
Not a good attitude to have at the beginning of the season. That usually happens around July.