Thursday, August 25, 2011

Keeping it real

I traveled to a new destination recently. I was armed with knowledge gleaned from internet posts and searches. The route was laid out, estimated driving times planned for, road conditions anticipated. The last 20 miles would be on an "interesting" single lane mountain road. I fed my 197hp vehicle with oil, gas, water, air. I packed and repacked, paring my load to what was required by deleting what was "nice to have".

This is what we saw 10 miles before the end of the road.

This was at the end of the road.
Trees in a wash.

And these were seen while on foot. In the city, my leisurely pace is 3-4 miles per hour. Out here, I planned on 2 miles per hour, depending on ruggedness of terrain, knowledge of the trail, ability to read the land, physical fitness, and mental attitude.
Ward Mountain

Meadow and Ward Mountain

It was not a city saunter. The terrain was moderately rough and unfamiliar, my body was not conditioned for the altitude and weight of the pack, and I expected to reach my destination sooner, not believing that I could be walking at such a slow pace. I had a map, food, and water. I started reading the landmarks better. I saw the movement of time in the rock whorls of Ward Mountain. And I began to observe the sights near me, registering them as visual "bread crumbs" for the return journey.
A system.

A stream along the path.

A trail.

Entwined, evermore.

Looking back at the beginning of the trail.
When there are markers on a path that is otherwise difficult to read, we proceed with more confidence and lose less time being lost. Although there's value in wandering, it's nice to be able to choose when and where to explore.

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