51: Many Ideas, All Of Them Fantastic.

Rest Camp in the Pacific
9 March

Dear Girls,

Got in yesterday from my first long hike since Pendleton, and find that I’m all out of shape, of course. It won’t take too long to get back in again, but I’m stiff and sleepy today. We bivouacked overnight out in the jungle. It was the first time I’d ever seen jungle–we had none on Namur, of course–and it is really an amazing experience. This of course is a sterilized version–no snakes, or malaria, or thick swamps. All the beauties and riotous vegetation without any of the discomforts. Seemingly endless stretches of bamboo forest–green stalks so close together that even I have to wiggle to get through them–incredibly tall, and soft leaves underfoot. Sudden cliffs opening out onto lovely vistas–miles of matted treetops–banyan, mango, bananas, coconut, guava.

I went out with a squad of my mortarmen yesterday morning, just to see what we could see–walked for a mile or two over hills and through thick growth, finally came to the edge of a valley that looked impossible to enter–the sides were almost sheer for 150 feet–we went down just because it looked tough, holding onto roots, wandered up the valley and came to what is positively the most beautiful spot I’ve ever seen in my life. There, hidden away from all but the most prying eyes, was a fifty-foot waterfall, spilling into a deep, clear, cool pool. The sides were round and went straight up for at least a hundred feet, and were covered by a blanket of thick green ferns that dripped down into the water. At the top of the waterfall there was a cut that led back into a quite inaccessible valley a few feet wide and hundreds of feet deep–offering just a glimpse of a shimmering green, private loveliness. Slanting morning sun fired part of the fern wall into green iridescence. The boys were almost reverently quiet as they undressed, but the icy water made them shout and laugh till the walls of the valley rang.

Of the places I’ve been, and they are beginning to mount up, this island is by far the most exciting. I want you to see it someday. It would make a perfect place to come and stay for a long, year long vacation after the war. I have many ideas, all of them fantastic, about what we’ll do then.

I had one of the fruitcakes a week ago, stowed it away in my sea bag, and it tasted wonderful.


Do you know Pete’s or Mrs. K’s address?[1]


[1] Pete Karlow, a Swarthmore classmate.

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