Hello again: For three weeks I’ve been trying unsuccessfully (until today) to write a new post for this blog. I could blame my lack of production on limited access to Internet or (sometimes) even electricity, but that is not where blame lies. No, the blame lies in my wanting to condense my recent travels and experiences into aphorisms. I have wanted to tell you that I have been living close to the ground, that I am being here now, and that I would rather be a forest than a street. (see, in order, Lao Tzu, Baba Ram Dass, and Paul Simon). I am beginning to think that it is a bit ironic, not to say pompous, to try to distill into handy phrases my attempts to live more within the present. Instead, today, I am going to write down a few observations from the last several weeks and share some photos.
About identifying flora, fauna, and geologic formations: I am less strict with myself now than in previous times. That is, if I see some kind of aster, say, I will allow myself to check it off in my flower guide even if I am not 100% sure of the species or sub-species name. Or, if we thought we saw a western meadowlark, I allow myself to mark it off in the Peterson’s A Field Guide to Western Birds. My copy is over forty years old, falling apart, and now there’s even an app for identifying birds on your smart device—I might as well mark up the guide now. When I am dead and gone, I don’t think anyone will be inspecting my book to see whether I made any inaccurate identifications. Re the geologic formations: if I think a layer of rock is likely Moenkopi Formation, I say to Tom and myself, “I think that layer is likely Moenkopi Formation.”
Asters, Kirk Creek, Los Padres National Forest, March 28, 2013
Capitol Reef National Park, March 6, 2013
A Field Guide to Western Birds
On tolerance for risk: While I have always been quite risk averse (read: overly cautious, chicken, etc.), this tendency seems to be intensifying. My husband and I love traveling where no one else is around. On this trip, we’ve spent days on empty roads and deserted campgrounds. We love being by ourselves with the beauty and the silence and the maybe meadowlarks…but. Get us on a muddy hill in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and we turn tail (slowly, carefully, in 4-wheel drive mode) and go back to a more civilized campsite.
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, March 11, 2013
About our vehicle: We drive a Ford F-150 EcoBoost with a Hallmark (Ft. Lupton, Colorado) Guanella camper. So far, our truck camper has proven to be a yare craft.
Lava Beds National Monument, April 8, 2013
About bodies of water: About camping at Big Sur—I don’t have the words. Still, it’s clear to me that I love lakes and rivers more than the ocean. I grew up on a Michigan lake and the voices of the frogs, the calls of the red-winged blackbirds, and the low sounds by the shore are music for my soul.
Big Sur, March 29, 2013
Regarding the tastiness of food while hiking: For decades my friends and I have laughed about how good the Vienna sausages tasted below the rim in the Grand Canyon and how toothsome the Gerber’s blueberry buckle was in the Kolob backcountry of Zion. At least this one aphorism stands: just about anything tastes delicious when you’re hiking. Nothing tastes better than whole wheat bread, peanut butter and (Art’s homemade) jelly sandwiches, accompanied by some carrots, chips, hummus, and clementines, washed down with water.
Lunch, almost finished, Chesler Park, The Needles, Canyonlands, March 3, 2013
Concerning flexibility: Lately, I’ve been thinking a great deal about my physical and mental flexibility (or lack thereof). However, I think these are enough observations for today. More on flexibility next time, but now, here are some photos.
Flowers, Arroyo Seco, Ventana Wilderness
Gull along Big Sur
Virgin River beach
Presidio, San Francisco
Lava Beds Overview
Snake River Bluffs near The Oregon Trail
Eel River Campground, Mendocino National Forest