With a bus full of pupils Friday morning began by heading for the hills.  Although I drew one of the long straws and got to drive to the hills separately, behind the bus.  Once we had all spilled out at the foot of the hills we began to diverge into little groups in all sorts of directions, keeping one eye on the sky and mumbling to the weather gods.

As the day went on I felt a cold virus begin to grip.  It had been knawing at me all week but now began to take huge bites out of my general wellbeing.  By the time evening came I retired to my sleeping bag early and very weary.  Not an ideal state to be in.

In the morning the other instructors let me sleep in as they did the morning duties of rallying the troops and motivating the tired and cold pupils ready for their steep trek.  Later that morning I listened to their chatter on the radio and was jealous.  They were heading up to the mountains as I sat eating a late breakfast on a beautiful day.  But I need not have worried as I would feel better as the day went on.  I even felt well enough (with copious coffee) to help out the instructors with groups in the forests.  It is always interesting to see how some groups can demonstrate skill and confidence on the hill and then fall apart navigationally in forests.  The repetitive nature and the path junctions bewilder them.  What bewilders me is that they seem less inclined to use their compass in the forests than on the hills.  As if the trees shield the north and the south or as if they are in denial;  “Why would you use a compass when you are on a path?” or “How could we get lost on a path?”

I may not have got into the high mountains that day but I did get to see the forest in early spring.  I may not have had much of an appetite but I had enough of an appetite to slowly graze through handfuls of fresh wood sorrel and let the rivers and strams help heal me.  Is wood sorrel it a good source of vitamin C?

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