Tag Archives: Hiking

Wondrous Souls – Dyad

Note: Since this is a continuation of the first post “Wondrous Souls,” I’ve begun with the last paragraph of that post to kick this one off. To try to keep you in the rhythm of the story without you having to refer back to that post.

***

I was blessed to run into a few of these shining Souls during my travels this past Summer. I’ve experienced bad ones as well, but that’s another story for another day. And if I’m choosing definitions, I take door number three, or at least a part of it – “emotional or intellectual energy or intensity.” But instead of this intensity being revealed in some other tangible art form, I would say this energy is, as definition number four implies, embodied in those people. I would equate these good Souls with Fine Art! Literally. Because meeting such people awakens something inside yourself and you make contact on an entirely different level.

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Boquillas !!! Hayarokwetu & Tʉmarʉhkaitʉ

When I began writing this series, I had no idea the words would just keep on flowing beyond a single post.  But, hey, that’s OK.  I’ve enjoyed the writing, and we finally made it to that point in the story where I get to talk about my favorite little town along the “Grand and Turbid River to the North.”  A town I actually never set foot in. 

It was, as you may guess from the titles, Boquillas del Carmen otherwise known as Boquillas !!!

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Boquillas !!! Pahiitʉ

Now, there are a number of areas in the States that are “Big Sky Country.”   And Big Bend is one of those places.* Where the horizons stretch on forever.  A vast expanse.  It’s difficult to tell where the Earth ends and the Sky begins. 

It is a mirage within a mirage. 

The only thing offering a tethering to the ground in Big Bend are the Chisos Mountains.  They break the joint between skyline and chaparral and provide definition.  They restore the sense of gravity that would otherwise vanish completely.

In these places we get that duality of striking beauty mixed with the desolate and dangerous.  It’s enchanting and alluring here, but there is deception because if you’re not careful you could easily die from the elements. 

The population is sparse for obvious reasons.

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Boquillas!!! Dos

When I arrived at Big Bend, half of the National Park, as well as the River running through it, remained closed to us humans due to COVID.  But, nearby Big Bend Ranch State Park, and the section of the River running through it, were still running wild and free.  No restrictions. And as I have learned in the past, one of the best vantage points to take in such alluring scenery is on the River that runs through it.  

I had booked a day-trip and was joined by two other passengers to embark on a leisurely Oar Raft tour meandering through the River’s Colorado Canyon. 

While most of my adventures involve hiking, or utilizing some other mode of travel like river rafting or horseback riding, through the wilderness, another very important part of this exploration, and of every escapade of mine, is a perusal through, and the translation of, the words describing the back country I’m reconnoitering.  (Whew! That was a big sentence.) The words themselves can relay vital pieces of history or give you some historical context. 

Or not.  😊 

Continue reading Boquillas!!! Dos

Boquillas !!!

I was climbing higher, but my body still seemed reasonably acclimated.  For the past four months I had hiked in elevations ranging from being on the beaches of the Pacific Ocean up to 9000 feet above sea level.  My breathing was slightly taxed, but the air was cooling and becoming soothing, almost methylating, as I lumbered higher through the perfumes of Rose-Fruited Junipers, Honey Mesquites, Scrub Oak, Piñon Pine, Texas Madrone, and Manzanitas.  Their redolence encircling the trail as I approached 6850 feet, a 1200-foot elevation gain from where the trailhead began. 

The desert floor beneath me stretches to eternity.  You can easily see 100 miles or more across the horizon in all directions from the top of the Lost Mine Trail in the Chisos Mountains.  The innumerable red, orange, brown, and lavender hues paint the mountainous landscape.  

A watercolor wonderland.  

Sky Islands floating above what seems like a completely barren reddish-yellow-beige terrain. But that view of what’s beneath is as deceiving as this mountain range is enchanting. 

Regardless if this cordillera derived its name from the Native American word “Chisos,” meaning “ghost” or “spirit,” or if “Chisos” came from the Castilian “hechizos,” meaning “enchantment,” you’ll feel an enduring presence in these mountains.  The Ancestors are still here in this once favored stronghold of the Mescalero, Apache, and the Comanche.  Sharing space and time with the Black Bears, Roadrunners, Javelinas, Ravens, Mule Deer, Mountain Lions, Hawks and Vultures, Coyotes, Horned and Earless Lizards, Rattlesnakes, and Tarantulas.  

And there is so much More. 

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Hiking – Some Thoughts

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”

Aristotle

A while back, I posted a couple of blogs where I talked about hiking, contrasted the differences between “hiking” and “walking,” and dissected the purpose of hiking; whether it be for camping or exploring some aspect of Nature in particular, or to just connect two dots on the map.  And I also discussed the use of mantras for calling cadence, which can have miraculous effects on extending our endurance and the distance we can cover.

Our minds can overcome things our bodies cannot.  And vice versa, our bodies can overcome things our minds cannot.  Harmonizing both mind and body can make the difference between having a wonderful hiking adventure or facing a life versus death scenario.

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Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – Sigma

A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very Earth itself.

Laura Gilpin

Not all our time was spent on the River.  We spent time exploring the many creations the River had made; amazing hikes into the side canyons at various stops along the way.  Slot canyons, hidden waterfalls, miniature green oases sprouting from red granite, and magical turquoise and morenci blue tributaries . . .

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“My Destination . . .”

Photo: The Merced River in Yosemite Valley. It is insanely beautiful here. You can marvel at pictures, but they don’t capture the essence. There is great magic here.

And peace.

You have to be here to truly experience its wonder.

I traveled through Yosemite during the time of COVID restrictions, and the Silver Lining was the number of people inside the park was restricted. The experience was so much more enriched without the pollution of so many humans. 🙂

As the quote would indicate, there is an Art to “Seeing.” To shine a light on differing perspectives. To consider the Nature of a place with more than just “Sight.” To “Feel” it. To soak it all in. And to travel inward for clarity. A view from our Internal Light. Our Heart.

May we all be so bold.

***

BTW: I stole this quote from my blogging friend, Victoria Ray. You should really check out her blog. I love her writing.

One Foot in Front of the Other

If you’ve read many of the posts on my blog, you know that I talk about hiking in Nature a lot.  This is part of my spiritual practice, to get out in the Natural World.  But a friend asked a reasonable question not long ago, so I decided to think about it and write something on it.  They asked:

“What’s the difference between hiking and walking?”

It turns out that is a bit more profound than it seems, because we, as humans, like to define and differentiate things.  To the extreme. 😊

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Binding Energy

I’ve always loved the sciences.  Even as a little kid, I enjoyed studying the various phenomena of our planet and learning about all of the processes going on with all of the different species.  Even the things people look at as being inanimate, like rocks and their geological history.

And us human animals too.  Now there’s a science project!

It’s just totally fascinating examining the diversity of species, all stemming from common DNA, and all of the electrical, chemical, and biomechanical energy and interactions that make us living, breathing, functioning organisms.

And all of us many species are so interrelated and interconnected.  And so interdependent on maintaining a balance for survival.  A microscopic, microcosmic juggling act of such immense proportions that it’s hard to wrap your mind around.

Of course, there’s even more as you delve into mind and spirit.  And what of the nature of the heart?

Hard to express those with a mathematical formula.  Maybe someday, someone will figure out a way to do that. 😊

And as much as I enjoy the study of the sciences, I’m not exactly a math wizard.  And there is lots of math involved.  And it’s been many years since I sat in some of those classrooms.  So, let’s just say that to this day, I remain a huge fan and student of conceptual physics and chemistry, among other things.

And there are many concepts that are adaptable, in principle, to many other concepts, at least metaphorically.  And what better way to have fun as a wordsmith than to blend and mix and blur and enjoy.

So, today’s subject from the blender is binding energy.

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And the Standing People Say . . .

Each day right now bears some similarities, and also many differences.

As I drive out to the next trailhead there is a certain level of anxiety encroaching.

That’s the similarity.

But it’s not my anxiety.  It belongs to others.

Continue reading And the Standing People Say . . .

Serpents and Milkweeds

I was out of breath as I reached the top of the bluff.  But it was worth the hike.  I now had a falcon’s-eye view out over the South Fork of the Snake River.  Absolutely beautiful.

The sprawling flood plain to the East was fully plowed and planted.  Potatoes, wheat, and alfalfa.  And maybe a few specialty crops lay low in the distance.  Broccoli, cauliflower, rhubarb, and cabbage.  Casting different hues of green.  Forest green to fern, to mantis, to dark pastel, to castelton.

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Call of the Wild*

I’ve been doing a lot of stumbling lately.

I really like that word.  Its main definition is about walking in an unsteady manner, being clumsy, to almost fall, or to make an error.  Blunder.  But I like the other definition, that of unexpectantly coming upon something – like truth.

Now that’s no error.  That’s magic.

Continue reading Call of the Wild*