COME LEAVE YOUR TROUBLES BEHIND YOU
Trevor stared out of the window of the moving train, packed with
passengers at this hour of the morning.
The scenery was impressive to most, but not to Trevor, as his
mind was someplace else. He saw very little scenery of late. His
stress levels blocked out many of life’s rewards and pleasures.
At the Bay Boulevard station, Trevor disembarked from the train
to walk to the ferry port. He thought how just two weeks ago he
had arranged for this day as he walked.
The times, they were mighty stressful. The loss of his job, the
virus, the bills past due. It was all too much at once.
Trevor felt the need for quick relief. He spotted the
advertisement in a “Survivalist” magazine.
‘Remote retreat at the High Mountain Lodge on the farthest
island. You will leave a different person,’ the advertisement read. ‘Arrivals and
departures by reservation on weekdays only. We cater
to distressed singles. Once on the island, a passenger jeep will
deliver you to us with care.
Last appeared their motto. ‘We can always make room for you!’
At $68 per night, it was certainly a bargain vacation during a
time of financial stress!
Trevor made reservations that night. It would be a
Thursday through Wednesday in just two weeks.
A lucky, last minute reservation.
He already felt relaxed. He sat back and smiled.
Arrival day came none to soon! Trevor left on the morning
ferry, and after stopping at three islands, it became his time to
depart. He was alone doing so, but then there were only six people
on the ferry from the start.
He was met by the High Mountain Lodge jeep.
Mauri explained that it would be a thirty-minute drive up
the mountain to the lodge.
Upon arrival, the rustic appearance took Trevor aback.
There was no sign of life at first, but then a man sauntered out from
the front door and stood on the wooden front porch among the
many wooden chairs and long wooden bench.
He gave a hearty, welcoming wave and proceeded to step
down to approach the jeep.
“Welcome to High Mountain Lodge. It looks empty, but
we’re actually overbooked,” Dave explained.
“Where is everybody?” Trevor asked nervously.
“At the mandatory lunchroom meeting. The porch was full
just twenty minutes ago. It’s each day at this time, and the only
thing that’s mandatory. Everything else is optional. Just so everyone
understands the rules and ways, is all. We’ve been expecting you.
Let me give you the room key and you can go upstairs to get
settled. You are in Room D in the third suite. The lodge has a total
of four suites. You learn the ropes tomorrow at the lunchroom meeting. Would
you care to order any alcoholic beverages or soft drinks for the weekend?
You see, they would arrive on Friday by jeep. We have one or two jeeps a day
during the week, but nothing on the weekend. We are truly a rustic get-a-way,”
Dave said simply and with pride.
“Then I’ll just go up to my room,“ Trevor said with a smile.
Trevor traipsed up the worn, wooden stairs and found
Suite 3, Room D. He inserted the key and entered the room.
Trevor just stood there with his mouth open.
He stared at a simple double mattress with two crumpled
sheets on it. The mattress was placed on the floor. A rope hung
from the middle of the ceiling with a single light bulb at the end.
There were no pillows. There was nothing else.
Trevor immediately went downstairs to talk to Dave.
“I can’t move you. We do have a room with two light bulbs,
but it already has two guests. We are overbooked right now. It is a
sign of the times,” Dave explained.
“I want to put in an order for a quart bottle of whiskey,
Dave,” Trevor remarked as he rolled his eyes.
“House brand, o.k.? Remember, we are on an isolated
“Sure, absolutely great. Thanks,” Trevor said with
Back up to Suite 3, Room D.
Trevor was exhausted on top of being shocked. He had
brought a bottle of whiskey with him. After a number of swigs, he
donned his pajamas and slipped between the sheets. He easily fell
into a deep sleep.
Trevor felt he was in a place that would take care of him,
however odd it might be. He was way overdue to just let himself go.
At this point, he had no real choice . . .
And so he did.
Trevor awakened in the morning fully refreshed. It was
pitch dark in the room. As he rolled onto his back to engage in his
morning stretch, his right hand smacked against something solid.
“Calm down, bud. Go back to sleep,” he heard.
Trevor was confused and continued to feel around.
“Don’t get frisky with me!” he heard.
There was no doubt about it. There was a strange man in his room, in his bed!
“Who are you?” Trevor demanded. “What are you doing in my bed?”
“I’m Dobbs. Actually, you’re in my bed. I’ve been here for five
days and you only just arrived yesterday. But we are now
roommates. The hotel is overbooked so we all have to adjust our
accommodations. Just relax and go with the flow. And your name,
“Good to meet you, Trevor. Now go back to sleep. It’s still pretty
early,” Dobbs requested.
Trevor was flabbergasted. He had just met a man in his bed and
still didn’t know what he looked like. Incredible!
Trevor and Dobbs fell back to sleep.
Later that morning, Trevor awoke and opened his eyes once
again. Dobbs was gone. He sat up and attempted to get his thoughts
together. He decided to start the day with a shower.
The community bathroom and shower proved to be
challenging. There was just one shower with five lined up to use it.
A sign indicated a two-minute limit for the stark shower with no
curtain. Three toilets jutted out of the opposite wall and offered no
privacy whatsoever. He stood at the end of the shower line in his
pajamas. One man sported his gray underwear while the other
three stood in the buff.
An unclothed man then entered and now stood behind him.
“Might as well get your pajamas off now. This line moves fast.
If you wear your pajamas into the shower, then you won’t have
them to wear tonight. You’ll end up sleeping like the rest of us,” he
Quick decisions had to be made!
Trevor awkwardly disrobed and stood unclothed with the
The woman giggled.
Trevor bit his lip and slowly counted to ten. He wondered if
Dobbs was someone in this room. Would he go the whole day and
still not identify his roommate?
The woman giggled again.
Within a few minutes, it would be Trevor’s turn.
The man behind him offered his advice.
“You’ve got two minutes, bud. We’re all watching . . . the clock.”
Trevor tried not to cry. A man offered him the community
“Thank you, but I brought a small one from home.”
Upon returning to his room, Trevor found Dobbs doing push-
ups with five-pound weights in his hands.
“Do you realize that you are naked?” Trevor asked.
"Do you realize that you are not?” Dobbs replied.
“Yes, and you are Trevor. At least we still know who we are!
I’ve been naked since I arrived here. Five days now. It helps all the
muscles to breathe while I exercise,” Dobbs rationalized.
“You didn’t wear pajamas last night?” Trevor asked.
“No, bud, they only get in the way,” Dobbs simply replied.
“In the way? In the way of what?” Trevor asked.
“In the way of anything, especially rolling around as you sleep.
Your body needs to breathe while you sleep,” Dobbs insisted.
Dobbs now started a round of jumping jacks.
“You ought to hit the shower and get cleaned up,” Trevor
“I got wet four days ago. I’m clean,” Dobbs said with pride. “We
need to share our assets. I left my toothbrush out for you in case
you need it. Half my sandwich from last night, too. Did you bring
“I abhor cookies,” Trevor stated.
“Well, I abhor cookies, too, but I still like them,” Dobbs said.
“This is a health and relaxation retreat. You let all your inhibitions
and worries go, and then build yourself back up with those things
that allow you to relax.”
The lunch meeting was simple. One refrigerator always
stocked with sandwiches. No menus, just sandwiches, help yourself.
Four picnic tables, one for each suite. Let management know of any
requested order, beverages or whatever, and if obtainable, the jeep
would deliver it on the next weekday. No jeep service on the
weekends. Anything you put in the refrigerator should have your
name on it. Respect other’s property.
Trevor went out for an afternoon walk to clear his head. He
passed the small riverbank beach with six unclad beach goers, two
women and four men, in various avenues of enjoying nature. He
noticed that no one person showed any inner turmoil or stress with
their daily life here. They seemed at peace. Was this not what he
was looking for, in desperate need of? Is that not why he had come
here? Should he be resisting its allure? You, yourself, must make a
true active and sincere effort at helping yourself. Dobbs had tried
to convey that to him. This would mean a hardcore attitude
adjustment. So be it!
Metamorphosis, whether intentional or non-intentional, was
already underway. Trevor’s spirit was beginning to crumble, his
social norms being challenged constantly. He was almost treated as
a social deviant from the very start. There was no way for him to
relax in the world he left behind. His stress levels had been
reaching astronomical levels.
Here, at the High Mountain Lodge, he had only to conform to
a spirit of different norms and priorities. He had just to come to
grips with this.
Trevor was beginning to be broken down!
“Did you go for a swim?” Dobbs asked.
“No, but it sure looked inviting,” Trevor admitted.
“Well, why didn’t you?” Dobbs pried.
“I didn’t take a towel or a bathing suit,” Trevor said sheepishly.
“What! You either mill around and air dry as you meet the
other guests or carry your clothes in your hand and air-dry as you
walk back. Why make everything so difficult? It makes no sense . . .”
Dobbs said as he shook his head. “You’re welcome to exercise with
my five-pound weights, my friend.”
“That might be just what I need,” Trevor replied.
“It is all about communicating with the earth and the
essentials of living,” Dobbs preached. “You have to make the effort,
bud. You must gain back control of you. Get a grip!”
He accepted the weights and began a regimen of push-ups.
The exercise would help to lower his stress levels.
“Your muscles are not breathing properly. They can’t breathe if
they are covered up,” Dobbs insisted. “Look at how you are already
starting to sweat, a sign of muscle suffocation! You want to keep
your clothes clean whenever possible. There is no washing machine
here,” Dobbs said offering logical thinking.
“My muscles are just fine, and I like dirty clothes,” Trevor
“Just offering some good advice. I have a dirty shirt. I’ll get it
for you so you can keep your shirt clean,” Dobbs persisted.
Dobbs opened the closet door and threw the shirt on Trevor’s
Trevor almost choked!
Dobbs shook his head with a hearty laugh.
Dobbs had called his bluff.
Trevor had been broken. He would blend into the new norm.
He had gotten the monkey off his back! His shirt as well. His
remaining days at High Mountain Lodge would prove to be
genuinely relaxing and rewarding.
Trevor pulled his shirt off and started to do jumping jacks. Well
damn, it did feel more like his body was breathing!
Then off came off his bathing suit as well.
A little later, Trevor would slip under the sheet on the
mattress and stare up at the light bulb. Not long after, Dobbs
stepped up on the mattress to unscrew the bulb and then slid
under the sheet as well.
Next morning, Trevor woke up to Dobbs doing his regimen of
jumping jacks. He lay there and watched his relaxed body as Dobbs
was in full control of all his interacting muscles.
Today would be different, Trevor thought, as he climbed out
from under the sheets.
“I need to borrow your toothbrush, Dobbs,” Trevor simply
Upon returning from the communal washroom, Trevor
announced his intention to go to the riverbank beach for the
“Come on down and meet me when you’re done,” Trevor
Trevor’s bare body slipped out the door. No towel in hand.
Almost an hour later Dobbs grabbed a sandwich from the
kitchen’s refrigerator and proceeded to the riverbank. He found
Trevor air-drying. He handed over the sandwich and entered the
gentle river. Just five minutes made him feel ready for the world.
Dobbs left the water to air dry and helped Trevor to finish the
The last few days of living in this new order had been healing
and soothing for both Dobbs and Trevor.
“Tomorrow is my last day, Dobbs. I go back down the
mountain in the jeep early afternoon. I want to make this a full day
of activities,” Trevor exclaimed.
“Then let’s get started,” Dobbs responded showing wild
It was a great day for both.
Later Dobbs made a point to slip his contact information into
The next morning the jeep made the journey up the mountain
trail carrying two men; Mauri and the occasional maintenance
worker. Mr. Maintenance would spend the afternoon, while
Mauri took Trevor down to the ferry port. He would later return to
pick up Mr. Maintenance.
“I hear this lodge for distressed singles is pretty bizarre,” Mr.
Maintenance baited. “I sure have seen it with my own eyes!”
“It’s been operating for years. It has a very unusual approach
to dealing with distressed people, and it only will work with
distressed people who come here alone,” Mauri explained. They
have a great success rate,“ Mauri nodded.
“What’s the secret, then?” Mr. Maintenance asked.
“Basically, material things, clothes, jewelry, food, well the less
you have, the better your chance for success. Reduce the stressors,
eliminate the stress. Reduce each guest to their most primitive
form to allow for a recovery,” Mauri explained. “With some folks
recovery can be quick. Depends on attitude and the stage of
They were pulling up to the front of the lodge.
Many sat along the front porch like a welcoming committee!
“Half of them are nude! Look at them! Have they looked at
themselves in a mirror lately?” Mr. Maintenance asked.
“There are no mirrors here. They are stressors!”
One man waved at them.
Mauri waved back.
“See the tall naked guy on the left? He will be riding back
down with me. I’ll be back up for you later. Oh, Mr. Maintenance,
that tall, naked guy is sitting where I sat six years ago and I was
naked, too. The naked ones have the best chance. They’ve managed
to release themselves from most, if not all their stressors,” Mauri
“Say, Trevor, be out here, dressed and ready in forty minutes,”
Mauri instructed. “Grab a sandwich for the ride. Grab one for me as
"You bet, Mauri. Sure will.”
“Congrats, Trevor. Looks like it helped you,” Mauri
commented as they pulled away.
“It sure did,” Trevor replied as he took another bite out of his
sandwich. “It sure did! For the next thirty minutes I’m going to sit back and
enjoy the beauty of this high mountain.”