More Cool White Pine

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“I imagine what it must be like to stay hidden, disappear in the dusky nothing and stay still in the night. It’s not sadness, though it may sound like it. I’m thinking about people and trees and how I wish I could be silent more, be more tree than anything else, less clumsy and loud, less crow, more cool white pine, and how it’s hard not to always want something else, not just to let the savage grass grow.”

-Ada Limón

I’m inspired by this poet today. I always need fresh air and quiet, but today I needed something else. Something more. Perhaps this is exactly what I mean by “in search of the very”. Those times when I can’t shake the “not good enough” feelings. Sometimes I need the quiet. I remind myself, less crow, more cool white pine.

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Less crow, more cool white pine.

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The forecast did not look promising today. Showers, then rain. It may have implied a break, but never really committed to sun. I walked out the door 3 minutes after 5. I had to get gas and figured I would make it around sunrise, or rather, daylight.

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It sprinkled most of the way in and then I came around a curve and saw rhe beginnings of this.

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What happened next surprised me. The sky got deeper and brighter as it approached 6:53. It was like a great, big colorful present on this first full day of Fall. I was stunned. I’ve never, in memory anyway, seen an explosion like this one. There were only a handful of us to witness this glorious event from the parking lot at Sunrise Point. Just as I like it.

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I’m here to hike the Huckleberry Creek trail. I’ve been on it a few times, but never ventured beyond the river bed below the meadow basin. I thought today would be my day.

But this mountain and that sky were almost too much to bear. I skipped “the bench” today in favor of getting up to the junction for Huckleberry Creek before the clouds rolled in.

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But this mountain. She blew me away today.

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I did make the turn at the spur trail, but it was hard to leave behind the view. As I climbed up the steep 50 or so yards to the top of the ridge, I was rewarded with this ! I’m tempted to call this the loneliest trail in the park. But I’m also tempted not to name it at all and keep it that way. I’ve never seen another soul here and today was no exception. The bugle call of the elk rang clear through the canyon. I don’t remember ever hearing them before, but it was unmistakable today. This is the back side of Sourdough Ridge. It gets less sun, as evident in the crystalized ice on the gentle switchbacks down. Grateful for a trekking pole on this side. The colors are beginning to pop and I was happy to have seen all I did. The gate to Sunrise Road will close soon and I don’t know if I’ll get to make another trip back before it does.

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It’s a gentle but constant “down”. I always think as I’m descending the trail how much “up” there will be on the other side.

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Anyone with chronic illness knows there are good days and bad days. This has been a surprisingly good week for me and I felt really energized in the cool morning air. When fatigue crept in around 9, adrenalin stepped up to finish the day. I felt like I could go forever.

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Clouds quickly settled in before I could make it out of the river bed below the basin. Forest Camp and McNeeley Peak will have to wait another three seasons. I’ll be back. I love it here.

As I hiked out of the cloud layers I saw sun and blue sky ahead. Maybe Her Majesty would still be as striking as she was the hour I left her. Sure enough. Full-on gobsmackin’ gorgeous. I scurried down Huckleberry trail back to the Ridge trail and followed the blue sky back up to Frozen Lake. From there I went about a mile and a half up Fremont Mountain trail. I have “a spot” there. My happy place.

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The skies behind me looked ominous, but the trail ahead was dramatic and mesmerizing. I kept moving along the trail as the landscspe seemed to change by the moment. I love standing there knowing that no one else in the world is enjoying the magic of these moments except me. This is truly my moment.

Still no people.

Until now.
My perfect serenity ruined.
A man, older than me, was a ” hacker and a spitter”. You know the guy: clearing everything from his nasal cavity into the back of his throat and then spitting. Good lord. If it’s necessary, it’s necessary. But I have questions about why he wouldn’t wait to do that. Yuck. I let him pass and then turned around for the car. There were more people now. A group of three women that seem like “my people”  stopped and we chatted about this day full of possibility.
Back to the car and to the Huckleberry milkshake cslling my name.
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