We drove through dark tunnels of trees with eerie Swedish ambient music lulling us into just the right mood for a lowkey little campfire in the middle of nowhere.
Eventually we found the deadend turnoff, and headed up a hill until a sign advertising "Bullfrog Ln." seemed to point us off into a huge field. No ATV, so we decided maybe it was a case of bad sign placement and kept on straight, winding down a dirt path scrunched up between tall dark forest, until Pritha decided we had gone too far. We went just a little bit further, saw the sign for "Mystic Way" and we had arrived.
We parked the car with the keys still in and made our way through the brambles and over a couple of bridges to the campfire where a dozen or so friends were lounging in a quiet, post-grilling, sated, happy glow.
I got a tour of Sarah's home, glowing in the light of her one propane lantern. Herbs drying from the ceiling, jars and brik-a-brak scattered around, a bottle of cod-liver-oil on the kitchen counter next to a number of beautiful ceramic bowls, ribbons decorating the eaves of the loft, and a beautiful, smooth, wooden ladder heading up to her bed. No refrigeration, no running water, no electricity at all. An rustic, but pretty darn idyllic island retreat -- one of the homiest homes I've seen.
Some of the sated glowing fire friends were headed back to the farm, so I decided to manage risk and spare Adam and Pritha the extra trip, what with the gas tank on empty, and head back with the earlier crowd.
On the way out, half a dozen tromped on ahead, and I followed up in the rear, trying to squint to use what I could of the headlamps and flashlights bouncing ahead. I hadn't walked 20 steps when I took a step and suddenly felt like I was falling. I could see lights way down below, and I was falling and giving out a little yelp, gasp.... and then I hit the water. And the mud.
I mostly felt relief as I my immediate sensation told me I was going to fall and fall and fall. And then there was the unavoidable flood of embarrassment, and then shivering.
Yes, there was total submersion. Head to toe.