We hiked to Nemo Bridge, a rusty old former railroad bridge near the unincorporated community of Nemo, meaning “No one” in Latin. Given the town’s current abandoned state, the name is fitting.
Early on, we stopped at a sandy cove on the Obed River. Dad climbed through the ferns and shrubs along the bank while I took in the scene.The Obed does not sit low under boulders or look transparent. It’s deep, with a strong current.
Dragonflies flew up and down over the stream, sometimes riding on each other to mate. Belted kingfishers swooped up and down over the roaring rapids and flowing stream.
We passed through another strip mine area. At the end of it, a white-tailed doe snorted at us. She then sprinted away from us, up the hillside with no fear of slipping.
Hemlocks grew along the trail. I smelled their lovely smell as I ground needles up in my fingers. I saw the white spots below the branch where hemlock woolly adelgids, tiny exotic Asian insects, had laid eggs. The insects could kill the tree in some time between 3 and 10 years. Future generations may not get a chance to see it.
I climbed over rocks for much of today’s trek, slipping and yelping at least once. Our hosts, a couple in Wartburg with whom we were staying, warned us of copperheads on the rocks. Glancing over the rocks, I did not even think of them. I’d been over enough rocks by now not to worry.
I did worry a little bit when we passed half of a hornets’ nest that had fallen to the ground, but neither of us got stung as we walked around it.
After rusty Nemo Bridge showed itself through the trees, we hiked downhill through a campground. Tents filled the woods. Girls in bikinis, boys in trunks and hikers with backpacks and fishing poles wandered around. As I looked down from Nemo Bridge, I saw a family on inner-tubes floating on the river.
By the afternoon I swam in sweat and wished I could jump in the river. I could not. I had no swimsuit and there were too many people around for me to swim in my underwear or naked. I could have kept my pants on in the water, but they were Dad’s pants. I just borrowed them because they were cleaner than my pants. So, I went back to the house of our friends in Wartburg and took a shower, the way that boring civilized people do.