Tag Archives: Travel

Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – The Mu*

The boats fully loaded and with us all onboard, our departure eased out slowly from Lee’s Ferry.   We gracefully slid under the Navaho Bridges (Between Mile Markers 4 and 5), watching the California Condors perch on the bridges’ substructures. 

Transplanted here in an attempt to help seed their survival, Gymnogyps californianus, were slowly clawing their way back from the brink of extinction.   About forty years ago, there were only twenty-two in existence.  These magnificent birds, sporting wingspans of ten feet, glide effortlessly on the thermals.  And their numbers have now rebounded to about 500 today, spread out in Arizona, Utah, California, and Baja Mexico.

But it wouldn’t be long before this incredible peacefulness would be interrupted with the rapids, with names like, Badger Creek, Soap Creek, Brown’s Riffle, Sheer Wall, Redneck, and North Canyon.  Some were simply named for mile-markers, like 23-Mile Rapid and 23.5 Mile-Rapid. 

Where I come from, in the Midwest, . . .

Continue reading Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – The Mu*

Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – Zeta

Crossing the state from the Mexican border driving North, I traversed a number of different biomes.  Ecological zones spanning lower desert and high desert, thornscrub, chaparral, grassland, woodland forest, riparian, and even alpine tundra at the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff.  As I neared what would be our departure point on the Colorado, I came upon the Vermilion Cliffs at Marble Canyon, near Lee’s Ferry. 

The Stone People

They carry the history of the Earth.  These cliffs record the changing environment during the Mesozoic Era – some 248 to 65 million years ago. 

Continue reading Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – Zeta

Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – The Alpha

The CRACK was earsplitting!  It sounded like a tree limb exploding!  As if hit by lightning!  And I felt the blast simultaneously jolt through my left shoulder and ribs as the sound burst in my brain. 

I was disoriented in space.  Falling.  Spinning.  Tumbling.

Gravity showed no mercy as I rolled down the slickrock surface.  A surface punctuated by other large pieces of granite and ending in a pile of talus. 

The only thing breaking my fall was one of the other members of our group.  His position on the trail below crossed perpendicular to my trajectory.

But by the time he arrested my momentum, the damage was already done . . . 

Continue reading Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – The Alpha

“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.

The Miracle Half Mile

Being at “home” is not just being in a physical location, and arguably a physical location is not even required.  It’s a mental state of well-being.  Of being in a place where you’re not only physically comfortable, but where you’re loved and where you express your love freely.  It is a combination of all our senses – sight, hearing, touch, and even taste and smell.  Add intuition as well.  It could be in the embrace of a lover.  Or just lying in a grassy meadow by oneself.  A place of total peace and contentment.  And every adventure of ours will hopefully bring us a step closer to finding such a magical place . . .

***

Continue reading The Miracle Half Mile

Hello Dear Friends

Hello to all my friends in cyberspace!  I wanted to apologize for not being around lately.

You see, I’m in the middle of a Walkabout.

Traveling season.

It is a bit different this year since we are confronted with COVID-19.  Social distancing, per se, has not changed in my wilderness hikes, but it has definitely shaped travel and I do miss out on the human contact and story exchanges that I would normally have at the end of the day in some public forum.

I’m changing locations more frequently this year too.

Less of a base camp and more of an eternal romp.

I’ve also been in many places where I’ve had no connectivity.   Being unplugged does have some nice advantages.  For one, I’ve not missed all of the hateful commentary perfusing the Net.  I’ve also been able to meditate easier, although one can travel internally too far if one is not careful.

I’ll write that story later and tell about how Mother Earth dramatically called my attention to it and how I needed to be “grounded.”  Still healing . . .

On a metaphysical level, for the past couple of years, the Bear has been visiting me in various forms.  And this continues with a new materialization this season.  I’ve recently been blessed with watching some Elephant Seals and I discovered that Marine Mammals, known as “Pinnipeds,” or the “Fin-Footed Ones,” all descend from a common Ancestor called “Enaliarctos.”

Which means “Bear of the Sea.”

It had Bear-like teeth and used flippers to swim.

Apparently the Spanish settlers in California called Pinnipeds “Lobos Marinos.” Or, “Sea Wolfs.”

So comparisons to land mammals is how we land creatures relate.  At least we recognized the power of these mighty apex predators.

Whatever you wish to call them, they are amazing.  Breathing and breeding on land, spending months in motion amongst the waves on the hunt, and being able to withstand the ocean’s crushing pressures for extended periods.  Quite the adaptations.

Us Two-Leggeds might learn a thing or two from these guys.

So anyway, I am crafting stories in my head as I go, but it will be a little while before I get them on “paper.”

Please don’t disappear or give up on me.  I will return . . .

LOGOz

Photo: The Pale Evening Primrose.  I encountered these beauties in the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  They are armed with very sharp thorns.  The Beauty and the Beast 🙂

1-Wildflower - Pale Evening Primrose - 1+C1

Calm

As he was pulled backward, I saw my chance.  Even through my half-swollen eyes.

I fired off two right punches, as hard as I could, and they found their mark on his left jaw.  The look on his face turned from anger to full-blown rage as I turned and bolted down the stairs . . .

***

Continue reading Calm

Compulsion to Flee – Part 3 – Modernity and Hermitism?

I’ve been writing about that urge to roam.  To travel freely.  Unencumbered.  To experience the world through the lens of constant motion.

My first post in this series introduced the terms “Dromomania” and “Drapetomania,” which placed this desire squarely in the medical model for disease.  The word “disease” itself has been defined as: “a condition of the living animal or plant body, or of one of its parts, that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms” that is “not simply a direct result of physical injury.”  A disease has also been said to be “a particular quality, habit, or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or group of people.”*

And there are four main types of disease: infectious, deficiency, hereditary, and physiological diseases. Diseases can be communicable or non-communicable, and when we have absolutely no idea what causes one, we call it “idiopathic.”

And let’s not forget mental or psychogenic diseases.

In fact, the suffix “mania,” in dromomania and drapetomania, arguably places the old terminology squarely in that category of mental illness.

So, is the compulsion to flee, to explore, to wander the world, a mental disorder?  And what are those so-afflicted fleeing from?

Continue reading Compulsion to Flee – Part 3 – Modernity and Hermitism?

Compulsion to Flee – Part 2 – Conversion or Reversion?

Picking up where I left off yesterday . . .

We’ve all heard the stories of Cortez conquering the Aztecs and Pizzaro conquering the Incas, but we often only hear the stories of those who are regarded as conquerors.  The victors.  Even if their acts were entirely atrocious and inhumane.

History is distorted that way.

Continue reading Compulsion to Flee – Part 2 – Conversion or Reversion?