I’ve tried to explain the feelings that we get when we come upon a place that stimulates all of our senses so much that we are basically overloaded.
Not in a bad way, but rather a feeling of awe.
So much beauty that it takes your breath away. So much beauty that the internal dialog in our heads is actually brought to a complete stop. Our minds will move beyond seeing, beyond touching, beyond tasting, beyond hearing, and beyond our sense of smell. Beyond all feeling! We are essentially pulled into a different level of consciousness and perception.
And it feels good.
Spellbound, we just want to stay forever in that place of total contentment. But then again, different people may react differently.
The Sunrise gave birth to a new day bathing this Montane Forest with evolving hues of Grandfather Sun’s spectral rays. A color wheel changing by the second from deep saffron orange, to amaranth and cadmium red, to pantone and golden yellow, to its final ivory white.
As I stretch my body, I fix my gaze on the horizon and slowly turn in an arc. I find myself surrounded by Engelmann Spruce, Utah Juniper, Douglas-fir, and Quaking Aspen. My sleeping bag is laid out in a thick bed of soft needles from a massive Ponderosa Pine that looms above me.
Oh, what this Standing Person may have witnessed in its thousand years. What wisdom imparted.
One version of this Legend tells us about how a dying Shaman, and leader of his Tribe, instructed the Tribe to seek out their new “Dream.” “Dream,” as used here, refers to the Tribe’s collective idea, or “Tonal,” or image of what their “Home” and “Society” constituted.
A number of my posts have focused on travel and the literal, “Finding Home,”and this is no different.
Note: Since this is a continuation of the first and second post in this series (“Wondrous Souls,” & “Wondrous Souls – Dyad”) I’ve begun with the last few lines of the second post to kick this one off. To try to keep you in the rhythm of the story without you having to refer back to the previous post.
It was truly a trading of energies, and we painted images in each other’s minds with the words we spoke. And I believe revealed our Souls. Our true essence.
That has a lasting effect on you. And it certainly has with me. It gives you hope for all of humanity.
One thing she told me about being on those long trails, like the PCT, the Continental Divide Trail and the Appalachian Trail – known as the Big Three – you never have to explain yourself.
Everyone on those trails has an innate understanding of the ardor of the Soul being activated there.
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.
“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”
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.
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.
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.