Sunday, September 2, 2012

You can take it with you

This morning we climb out of Rock Creek campground, 5000 feet above sea level. Past the swimming hole from last night...up and up!

We'll be climbing all day long. At first I didn't take the route description too seriously: 'lots and lots of hills'. That was to scare off newcomers.

It's also true. The first and second days are all uphill. Tonight we'll be camping at 7300 feet.

Not that it's ugly. In fact with each passing mile the scenery becomes more epic, more beautiful.

For a few minutes we've been getting peek views through pine trees of granite domes to the south. At Mile High Vista, we are primed to take in a real view. Everyone stops here.
Jim and Mick stand a mile in the air. Elaine takes a photo...
Mt. Ritter, the Minarets, Mammoth Mountain...three huge chunks of wilderness. Usually you hike for days to get this kind of panorama. The top of Mt. Whitney. Sawtooth Pass. Here, almost too easy, at a pullout by the side of the road.
Just below the landscape profile the sign reads If you are searching for solitude your destination may very well lead you to one of the many wilderness areas in our great state.

Mick is inspired to bring out his map.
A sense of recognition, awareness, like a bell ringing far away. A shift.

If you are searching for solitude...

Not being alone, solo, separate. That's easy enough to find. At the doctor's office, lawyer's office, dealings with insurance companies and the state. Trader Joe's, the gym, the library, the local coffee hang-out. The expectations, rules, assumptions of others. Structures that don't make sense. Even on the Internet, you can be disconnected.

This is more like a solitude of spirit. Almost unknown in daily life. A calm heart, like-minded souls for company. Things in correct relationship to each other. A path toward acceptance. Quiet. You can go anywhere and take that with you.

Today I'd be content to just head off into the backcountry. With Danny, who loves these mountains.

Eventually it's time to move on. We have the remaining miles to let everything sink in. No one says much. But we all know.

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