High times

My wife’s 22nd wedding anniversary occurred recently, and she indicated that she wanted to go somewhere and stay at a really top-notch place for the occasion. After a little hinting around I managed to establish that she wouldn’t be opposed to my going with her. So I started looking for a nice Motel 6 in our area, but she caught wind of that, so I had to change tactics. Mason County is running a little thin on five star hotels at the moment, but after some research I learned that tourists pay big bucks in some places to stay in treehouses. The Ariau Amazon Towers Hotel in Manaus, Brazil, for example, and the Parrot Nest Lodge in Cayo, Belize, and the Fur ‘N’ Feathers Rain Forest Treehouses in Queensland, Australia. As it happens, a friend of mine has a treehouse overlooking the Colorado River, and it’s not far from Mason, so I figured that would be the nearest thing to a top-notch hotel I would find. One of my boys and I had previously spent a night in this treehouse, so I was already familiar with it. When I described it to my wife, however, I may have left out a few minor details. I did tell her it was “rustic,” but evidently my version of rustic differs from hers somewhat. When we got to the place, I parked the car and started getting our luggage out, and my wife looked around and said, ‘Where’s the treehouse’ I told her it was just down the hill about 100 yards down a trail. She said, ‘Can’t we drive any closer’ Where’s the trail’ I don’t see any trail.’ This was not going well. The trail to the treehouse is kind of hard to find, even if you know exactly where it is. Bee brush and tickletongue and catclaw and other such bushes kind of choke it down, and there are plenty of live oaks and juniper and other trees to duck and dodge. Not to mention that about the last 50 yards of the trail, although pretty straight, leads down a slope at a 45 degree angle, and has lots of large, loose rocks on it. The whole thing is somewhat precarious, and it didn’t help that it had rained a couple of inches the night before. The trail ends at the cabin door, which has a combination lock consisting of a piece of nylon rope tied to the doorframe and wrapped around the door handle. The cabin is about 12 by 16 feet, and has some windows and a large plate glass sliding door leading out to a deck overlooking the Colorado River, about 75 yards away. The whole thing is mostly made from scrap lumber and tin, and is furnished with a dining table and chairs, a coffee table, a twin bed, a woodstove and a loveseat. The cabin is situated at a spot where the hill gets even steeper, and a trapdoor leads to a lower deck. Another ladder leads from there down almost to the bottom of the hill. I tried to get my wife to come out on the upper deck to watch the fireflies decorating the trees and bushes along the river below, but she doesn’t like heights much, so the 25 foot drop from the deck to the valley floor didn’t appeal to her. Neither did the dirt. Instead of just enjoying the place as it was, my wife had to spend a couple of hours cleaning before she pronounced the cabin acceptable, just. An A/C window unit cooled it to a tolerable level, and I graciously allowed my wife to take the twin bed, while I laid an extra mattress on the floor. I thought the place was rather cozy, but she kept making comments about all the cracks and crevices through which snakes and bugs were planning to invade as soon as we turned out the light. About midnight the plate glass doors became a showcase for an impressive lightning storm which was coming our way, and that didn’t reassure my wife much, either. She was already dubious about the prospects of the cabin remaining attached to its perch through the night, and when the rain started about 2 a.m. she was even more skeptical. I assured her we were safe and told her to go back to sleep. But the rain kept getting harder until we were wondering if God had changed his mind about the rainbow thing. When we shined a light up the hill there were no rocks visible. The entire hill had become a waterfall, with the cabin right in the middle of it. Luckily the cabin didn’t wash away, so everything would have been fine if we hadn’t gotten stuck the next morning trying to leave. We spent all morning sitting in our car, waiting for my friend, Joel, to come pull us out with my Jeep, which is what we should have driven over there to begin with. All things considered, my wife was somewhat underwhelmed with her anniversary trip. Next time she may not turn up her nose at Motel 6 ‘ ‘Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who always carries jumper cables, in case he gets stuck. Write to him at P.O. Box 1600, Mason, Tex. 76856 or jeep@verizon.net.

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