I’m quite a fortuitous man. In nearly three years I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to go on seven once-in-a-lifetime roadtrips, spending over six total months on the road. These extended journeys – macroadventures - have been some of my best and most unbridled days - each one unplanned and open and free - and they have forever impacted the course of my life.
So instead of trying to convey what happens over the course of one of these macroadventures – the exciting and the mundane, the expected and the absurd, the new and the familiar, the rainy days and the really-rainy days, the whirling tumultuous ride of freedom – I have decided to include some writings from the course of my most recent roadtrip which took place last October. There was a lot that happened in between these posts, but this illustrates the power of an extended journey - and the wild clarity it provides.
This is probably my longest post yet, but hey - it’s a macro post for a macroadventure.
Day 2, Just Outside Zion National Park, UT –
Snow to Sand in Utah
Writing by moonlight and by flame of the campfire as Astral Weeks sneaks on. In Zion we sit, pondering, Nick silently working in Lightroom as I lightly tap away pen to paper. Another grand day upon the road (like each and every one). Rain clouds unloaded upon us last night – a total deviation from the forecast – bringing the longest storm I’ve heard in years, hours of pitter patter upon our tent, into the morning hours upon waking, soaking our departure and the belongings we left out overnight – including the wood which saturatedly pops before us now.
Onwards through Zion,
Nick gasping that that he’d never
seen rocks like this before - me, on my
fifth trip to the holy land, agreeing.
A soggy morning drive through Capitol Reef, stopping intermittently for photos, and on into town for breakfast burritos and coffees before we began down the epic UT 12, climbing up into snow flurries as temps dropped down into the twenties, moving into alpine terrain boasting broad views of snow-coated forests with monolithic boulders rising proudly above, barren of the dusting. Upon cresting the summit, the snow immediately departed and a clearer front faced us and continued to open up across the day as we drove into and marveled upon Bryce, hiking and shooting and “bahgooing” and grinning, and onwards through Zion, Nick gasping that that he’d never seen rocks like this before – me, on my fifth trip to the holy land, agreeing. We drove on into Springdale and got dinner and searched for a free campsite, finding plentiful BLM land just twenty minutes down the road - land upon which we now sit, pondering over the fire beneath a nearly-full moon, some raspy country now lightly twanging in the air.
Day 9 – San Francisco, CA – San Francisco Sunday
From a quiet couch in San Francisco I write, up early to move the car, now sipping some strong coffee from down on Haight Street. One final day in the city, one final day with a traveling companion - Nick begins his Africa trip tomorrow as I carry along on this journey solo.
Yesterday was just grand. We got breakfast at a local café and came back and had a glass of wine as we talked to Sayre [Nick’s friend from college, now living in SF] and got ready to go to Hardly Strictly, a free bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park. We ubered over and had just a perfect city Sunday, buying beer and whiskey and meeting up with Simpson Sampson [Dave’s old roommate from SF] and Bri [Sam’s fiancé] and some of their friends and some of Sayre’s too, and we spent the day in the park, drinking and laughing and exchanging stories and listening to bluegrass on an utterly beautiful autumn day – smoky golden light shimmering between giant oaks, merry drunken folks dancing around all gleeful in Sunday Funday glory, 70 degrees with a chance of bliss - and I remembered exactly why I love this city so.
And so, but one final day here, and when Nick arises we’ll go explore Pinnacles National Park and return for one final SF evening, and then into tomorrow where great new unknown territory lies, another grand adventure rolling on.
Day 13 – Florence, OR – I Live.
A pitter patter evolved overnight, causing me to cease dreams and come out to check if the tent was holding dry - assuredly it was, quite a feeling of security from this one. It’s now 8:40 a.m. and the rain certainly hasn’t ceased nor does it sound likely to - the tap-tapping at my plastic roof both calming and concerning. What to do, what to do? I’m without cell service, so my only weather predictions are based on the pulse rate of the precipitation and inferences based on glances out the vestibule. I think the report yesterday said it was going to rain here all day, but I really can’t say for certain, nor whether that was for all of Oregon or just the area.
And so, set with the question to stay here and allow the storm to pass - not really wanting to breakdown my tent and tarp and hike it out in the rain, only to put it up later elsewhere in similarly dreary conditions – or to suck it up, accept the temporary misery and move onwards. And if I do move on - where to? Further up the coast? Inland, where this rain may be blocked, or I suppose, where it could be snow? Should I just bite the bullet and get a cheap hotel to get out of the rain for a night? Writing this, I realize I could drive ten minutes back down to Florence and grab service and breakfast at a diner before finalizing my decision. Boom.
Continued 4:38 pm
This moment kicks ass. I ponder a lone seagull floating by and peer down to the rolling tide steadily churning and quaking in the late afternoon light, waves constant and overlapping - the break on the Oregon coast rapid and turbulent. I peer southward down the beach, seeing all the roaring foam cresting and calling down into the misted horizon where rocky cliffsides abruptly arise. No one in sight for miles - perhaps a solo silhouette contrasting in the distant haze, or perhaps that’s just driftwood. I throw my jacket on sooner than expected. The air is cool, though comforting, and the sun pours down warm autumn light.
It would have been easy to get a hotel somewhere today - pack up camp and pay $50+ for comfort and security – a hot shower and warm bed instead of camping in a damp tent in a rainforest; chilling and resting instead of going for a three-hour hike through a cold, heavy rainstorm - debating my sanity midway through as the storm intensified. It would have been nice to have internet and be able to watch TV and order food, instead of without service and eating macaroni cooked over the fire for the fourth night in a row. It would have been easy. But by camping here, I save my limited funds, and most importantly, I live.
The air grows colder and stings my nose and fingertips as the sun sinks to seven fingers (an hour forty five until sunset). I pull my cap down a bit and zip my jacket up a tad, and blow some heat into my hands and take a sip of wine. I live. Had I gotten that hotel, I would have missed this. I wouldn’t have had the sanity debate in the rainstorm or stubbornly decided to keep on, or stood in awe at my first view of the shoreline as radiant light spilled up the hillside into the glimmering forest which stood still in verdant reverence; I wouldn’t have reached a centuries-old lighthouse set in blasting sunshine where I slowly thawed and dried; I wouldn’t have experienced the utter bliss of the campground shower, hot and awakening – the first one in four days, using the restroom’s hand soap which I pumped into a solo cup. I wouldn’t have made it back over to this beach, where I now sit - dry, warm, and watching the sun roll down an open blue sky. I live.
Day 15 – Mount Rainier National Park, WA – Rainier Reflections
Beside a roaring torrent of glacial effluence I write, warm October sunshine pouring into the river’s clearing, slowly melting the snow upon the lichened rock, downed trees dripping and casting evaporation to the heavens. The last true fall light it seems until next year – more precipitation set to inhabit starting tomorrow night, signaling the start of the wet season. Catching this spot just in time, I smile, my back toward the sun, black puffy jacket glowing warm and dry against me, juxtaposed against my frosty toes, familiar to the icy crunch beneath them now.
I peer around intermittently, sometimes crying a “heyo!!” or some jumbled song lyrics,
just in case any pre-hibernatorial bear decides to come down for a happy hour drink
Towering Hemlock trees tinting slightly golden line the canyon’s banks, some fallen predecessors lying across the silky azure waters and adding a rugged reminder to the channel - the pristine ruggedness that one expects from Rainier. The air is markedly pure and crisp, and even with three layers of pants, I feel an urge to add more, knowing that I’m already maxed out. I peer around intermittently, sometimes crying a “heyo!!” or some jumbled song lyrics, just in case any pre-hibernatorial bear decides to come down for a happy hour drink, having already seen one decent size track at another creek a mile or so back.
[I attempt to draw the scene, but stop after ten minutes of scratchy efforts]. I’ll stick to writing. I move to pour another cup of snow-chilled red and put some water on to boil for potatoes, returning to my cool rock stoop to find it now cloaked in shadows, the sun moved behind some downstream foliage. It’s only 4:30 but with no allowable fires in the backcountry and a departing sun, I imagine I’ll get a pretty early tent entrance tonight - likely just staying here a bit longer to ponder over my potatoes and watch the light eclipse the waterway.
I pour the potatoes in and in classic form can’t wait and chomp-chomp the fiery hot bomb, a welcome one - my toes and legs and hands and face all numb. It singes gently and I open-mouthed-inhale each bite, tempering with cool red vino. What a life!
I was in the park, my 37th, by 10:30 and inquiring at the ranger station about backcountry camping, finding the recommended trails all covered in snow and impossible to find. “How much snow?” I asked, planning on hiking in shorts and trail runners. “A foot or two.”
I reevaluated and selected a trail and I got my permit and went out to the parking lot to load a pack - dumping pads and bags and clothes and food onto the roof of my car and in piles behind it, and making PB & honey sandwiches on the trunk out of my giant tub of peanut butter and my dwindling bag of bread, now tattered with mouse bites in its side [sidenote: one mouse has been eradicated]. A woman walking by stopped and looked at me - “Can I take your picture?”, she asked. I turned around confusedly. “I’ve… I’ve just… I’ve never seen a real hiker before.” I laughed and agreed, not knowing exactly what she meant. Then I turned around and looked at my car. “Ah. I see.”
I hit the trail by 12:30. The dirt was moist and cool, the grade steady, and the air cold, though within the first few minutes I began sweating and chugging up the slope, crushing the first bit and climbing from soggy soils to a crispy light dusting, into slushy messes of inch-deep pack with glacial puddles I tried to avoid with each slippery stride, my trail-runner-clad feet growing numb with each errant step. The alpine air stung the nostrils and the snowier sections - though boasting palpably fresh air - were frigid and I sped up to stay warm, basking in each rare window of sunshine.
I crossed a few creeks and began climbing upwards and was really churning along and quite ready to be done and figured I should have been by 2:30 or 2:40, and it was now 3, and then 3:10, 3:20, 3:30 passing a couple and asking their interpretation, finding I’d indeed passed it already. I ate a PB & honey and threw my jacket on and deliberated camping there or hiking two more miles to the next campground, finding the next section even slushier than the last, and decided to turn around, finding the overlooked unassuming sign a few miles back. I set up and changed clothes and walked over to the riverbed to write, where I now sit.
I walk down and dunk my empty pot in the glacial waters, then pack my bear can up, singing 4 Non Blondes' “What’s Up” to any nearby bears out appreciating the pure evening light. Now, I suppose, it's time for bed.
Day 18 – Olympic National Park, WA – Dumping.
Everything is wet. These pages, the tent wall hovering in front of my face, the entire tent floor and the towel I laid out in vain to place my belongings on. I’m in a damp sleeping bag covered with a damp wool blanket. My feet feel remarkably dry, but my leggings are undoubtedly wet, resoaked when I ran out to take a piss and throw food into the Corolla. A steady pitter patter percusses on my tent’s fly, a sound I feel will last for eternity now, as if it’s been a part of my daily soundtrack all these years. It’s been dumping rain all day, pineapple express - an atmospheric river coming in from the Pacific and blocked progress by Mount Olympus and depositing a waterfall down upon the coastal rainforests. I put my damp puffy jacket on over my wet half-zip wool hoodie, and I curl my feet up to avoid touching the wet tent wall. This is the game I’ve been playing for the last hour and a half since getting into the tent for the night around 5.
I tried to tough it out, the only camper in the entire campground, sitting hunched over under the tarps I’d hung, both leaking through due to the absurd amount of rain. I cracked a beer and listened to podcasts and grew wetter and colder with each gale – until I realized how ridiculous this was, just sitting out miserably with my moist hands between my knees and speaker in my lap so I could hear it through all my hoods, hunched over it so it wouldn’t get fully drenched, and I decided to go ahead and boil water so I could eat a hot meal and just get in the tent already. I shoveled the mac n’ cheese and ran back and forth to the Corolla to throw in soaked gear and grab an extra blanket, growing more sopping each second (by the way, my dumbass forgot to bring rain pants to a rainforest in rain season). And finally ready to pile in for the night and oh what’s that? My stomach rears back and announces that I need to get to the bathroom ASAP, and I run through sheets of rain over to the bathroom where I proceed to have diarrhea (yes, everything is wet today), then back out through the rain and into the tent where I now sit and write.
This heavy, steady, soaking rain, determined to moisten everything in its path -
dumping so hard that windshield wipers at full blast can’t keep up. All. Day.
It’s rain that I forgot about while living in CO – this heavy, steady, soaking rain, determined to moisten everything in its path - dumping so hard that windshield wipers at full blast can’t keep up. All. Day. Dumping from the moment I woke up, through breaking down camp and throwing the soggy heap of a tent into the back of the car, and dumping when I drove to the Hoh Rainforest and almost ran over a NPS worker chainsawing a giant tree that had fallen in the middle of the road (I was distracted by the giant pregnant spider in my car). It was dumping when I got to the park and dumping when I pulled my soaking bundle of a tent out and set it up and toweled out the whole thing with an old pair of shorts; and dumping when I rigged a tarp in the evergreen above my tent, and still so when I decided to go into town for hot coffee, and dumping all through my meal and all through the drive back, and dumping when I got back and hung another tarp, and dumping still when I decided to go for a hike, and still so when I got back and found both tarps failing and tried to change clothes on my moist tent floor, putting on dry pants which only got wet in due time - pretty quickly actually once I started the whole podcast-under-failing-tarp fiasco - and still dumping now as I’m safely wet inside my tent - that is, until I have to pee, at which point, I’m sure it will still be dumping.
Day 19 – Port Townsend, WA – Winding Down
Waiting in line for the Corolla’s first boat ride, a ferry from Port Townsend to Coupeville departing in 20 or 30 minutes. A smooth morning it was, awaking to a slowed rain, throwing all the wet gear in and cutting down my pointless tarp lines and throwing those in, then loading up and driving on - a slow roll, delayed by multiple roadwork ops clearing giant trees fallen on the roadway. I’m ferrying over to spend a couple days with Doug [a family friend who lives on Whidbey Island], where I’ll get to shower, do laundry, dry my gear out, and relax with a familiar face for a day or two – a much accepted respite after waking these past three (four?) days to heavy rains.
After this mini break from the road, it’ll be the beginning of the end of this journey, routing east for the first time in a long while (well, northeast if weather permits me passage to the North Cascades). I accept this meandering conclusion, now worn and haggard and almost ready for some normalcy back in my life, ready for friends old and new, and conversation (realizing I’ve not really had one in days).
The days have now begun to blend together in pure roadtrip mastery - waking each morn and having to really focus to remember what day it is, sometimes still coming up errant - and it’s now a beautiful blur of adventure and freedom and bliss, and it’s not even quite done yet. Thinking back to those first quick days in UT and AZ and CA, all now like a vivid lucid dream, one concocted long before I even started my walk upon these lands. What magnificence in these transient times, and may it continue to the very end, right where it began.
Day 23 – Glacier National Park, MT – Scatter Me Here
When I go, scatter me here. Not all of me - share me. With the seas of the Pacific, the great abyss of the Grand, the crystal purity of Crater [and a handful of other spots]; perhaps just a portion here - maybe just an arm or leg or something. Let me re-entwine with this place as I have today - settling into familiar lands I’ve not seen before. When you come, remember me. Feel me there. I’m with you. I instantly became a part of this place, just as it did me, just as every place I’ve stepped before. These eyes have seen, these lungs have filled with the cool mountain air. Walk upon these lands, understand them.
Day 24 – Glacier National Park, MT – Wine Down
I finally sit down and am able to breathe deeply, a relieved exhale after hiking all day at maximum sensory perception – alternating between shouts of botched verses of random songs to announce my presence to any nearby bears or cats, and moments of intense silence and concentration as I tried to perceive any potential wild cracklings around me - the whole time studying for tracks and scat, ominously joining some decent sized cat prints and carrying on, hiking probably ten miles without stopping - nervous even to pull my food out until the very end. Finally back, I’ve now changed and started a fire and poured this glass of FUCK! A full glass dropped, right in my camp. Shit. I scrape all the spillage and moist soil onto a thin log and throw it into the fire, rubbing ash onto the barren spot, hoping to dampen the smell. If a bear comes tonight… well, I always knew the boxed wine would be the end of me.
The fire burns hot and comforting and my second attempt at drinking wine is going smoothly and I’m already starting to relax again. As stated, it was quite an on-edge day - though wonderful, this place still enchanting quite a spell upon me. I woke up and decided to drive to the eastern part of the park which offers more-expansive views and the highest-rated hikes, stopping in at a quaint diner for eggs and coffee, and then on to the campground and to a solid spot by 11:15.
Within 45 minutes I had set up camp and changed clothes and filled water and packed and made a couple sandwiches and studied the map, and I was passing the trailhead by 12:15 and a sign which undoubtedly spooked me, advising that hiking alone is “NOT RECOMMENDED” and other red-flag warnings about bears and cougars. For some reason, I got a bad feeling about the hike I had planned and I made a last-second audible and decided to hike around the lake instead of trying to summit a nearby mountain.
It was quite a dope hike - through hemlock forests around the glacial lake surrounded by beastly, craggy ridges on all sides, and through a bit of snow – where I saw the cat tracks – and to a lakeside shelter with a popping view and on to a creek crossing where I had to do some shifty maneuvers to keep my feet dry FUCK! As you can see if reading this original copy, another wine spill – this one wind-caused and mostly onto these pages and my chair, both of which will stay in the car tonight. Anyways, quite a good day, though I look forward to returning with a partner or group so I don’t have to be so restless the whole time.
AHH! MOOSE! A moose, but two sites down. I see her cross the road and decide to go try to snag a photo of her down by the water, and I walk down across the road to the lake and don’t see her and come back and tip-toe down the road cautiously, peering towards the lake side of the road where I’d last seen her, HOOOOLY SHIT! The moose was maybe ten feet away, hidden directly behind a dumpster which separated us. It came around the corner and now was staring me directly in the eyes. I backed up quickly and a car passed by me, not seeing the moose at first, screeching to a halt at the dumpster and kicking it in reverse back to me. It was a couple dudes named Trevor and Gentz or something and we all sat in awe together for a few minutes. They had attempted to hike the pass that I audibled from, but got turned around near the top after losing the trail in knee-deep snow. Holy shit I’m glad I didn’t attempt that – wholly unprepared in trail runners and longjohns. Gotta follow your instincts in wild places such as these.
They eventually moved on past the moose and I’m now back in camp and down to my final few logs as the ambiance kicks orange from the light-soaked clouds - wisped and auburn and true. Only 6:45 but winding down already, boxed wine drained (half on these pages), and worn out from a stressful but wonderful day.
Day 26 – Yellowstone National Park, WY – A Beautiful Morn', Written on a Chilly Eve
In a dimming campsite at Yellowstone, serenaded by elk calls - primal and awakening and shrieking like half robot-child/half dinosaur. A chill to the air, likely already [another shrieking elk] below freezing, already bundled with three pants and five shirts and a blanket buffering the blisteringly-cold bench. This place is magical and I’m so glad I’m here in this lull season – the infamous crowds all cleared and scenery now open and wild, as it’s meant to be. I arrived around 3:30 and drove around, falling into a mystical whirlwind of open prairie hillsides spotted with elk and bison, crystal waters flowing through, majestic snowy mountainscapes surrounding on all sides [another elk].
Truly a magical day entirely, waking around 7 to the well-predicted inch of snow on the ground and more still falling, deciding to suck it up and hike back out to the hot springs [found the night before], accepting the pain I would eventually endure upon exiting the bathtub waters into 20 degree temps. I got there and had just a pristine moment – dropping all my clothes and stepping from slushy snow into a fiery pool of sulfury water which bit at all my cool skin, and I felt just damn perfect all at once, all warm and peaceful and quiet and real. Snow gently fell onto the adjacent ridgeline and upon all the tall hemlocks and into the silky waters and unto my soul, and I meditated upon it all and relaxed, and had myself as close to a church service as I get, looking out to this beautifully-crafted cathedral - a real sensory waterfall, more pure than any man-made chapel - really studying it and pondering it and all at once not thinking anything at all, just feeling it, occasionally breaking into an unrestrainable grin, tears welling in my eyes as I remembered how great [elk call] this life, this existence, is and how blessed I am. Here, alone in this natural spring, the snow coming down, looking at this scene and becoming it. How did I get here? There was only one path to this moment and I’m damn honored it was mine.
Day 27 – Just Outside Grand Teton National Park, WY – The Weird and Wild Yellowstone
By a fire I sit once again, this time just south of Yellow, perched upon a bluff overlooking a majestic scene of burnt forests dissected by a creek with a lone flyfisher casting away as the white-shouldered mountains past him grow from blue to a faint but perceptible rose. My humble fire’s crackle is seemingly the only utterance save the creek’s bubble and my ashy hand brushing against this page.
This morning I awoke and had no plan at all except to explore Yellowstone and find a decent place to camp, and that I did. I was up and out by 8:45 and on to a scenic hotspot drive and to more pull outs for bubbling cauldrons and a heavenly glimpse at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone where I met a couple of old dudes from Kentucky, one of ‘em telling me about the last time he was at the Grand Canyon – “These two young guys was out on a narrow precipice taking photos of each other. They was takin’ shots together, and separate too, and posin’ and shit. Doin’ handstands. They did just about everything besides suck each other’s ‘you know what’”.
And then on to another geyser walkabout at Lower Basin - an exciting, roaring adventure of sulfur and steam - and then another odd human interaction with a man and his wife. The man, seeing me and slowing and squaring towards me and cocking his head, “how are you liking this weather?” The weather had warmed noticeably since the frigid morn - 50ish degrees now - and I had taken my holey jacket and tied it over my shoulder atop my dirty long john layer of three; but I didn’t know why he put such emphasis on “you”, as if I had complained of the cold to him or something. I agreed, “Yeah man, it’s beautiful today”, pausing at his glance to study whether I’d met him prior, to no recognition. He continued, just as mysteriously, “you know they say national parks are just for tourists… they don’t know what they’re talking about right?”, which confused me even further, though I agreed “that’s right” and walked on, truly perplexed about the whole thing. In retrospect I believe he either A) saw my haggard look and possibly smelled me and thought I was homeless or some wildling or B) mistook me for a local he met.
Anyways, I confusedly moved on and stopped at several pullouts and had just a great experience, and made it over to Old Faithful for the quintessential park experience. As I waited for it I talked with a man named Glen, which was really the first normal interaction I’d had in days. Glen was from Nebraska - a strapping man who was in the Air Force for 25 years and now commissions charter jet flights all over the US (something he loves but his wife doesn’t), which brought him here for the weekend. We had a good chat and eventually Ol’ Faithful blew its load, tall and proud and quite impressive, and Glen and I marveled together and muttered fascinations “Wowee”, “What a sight”, “Can you believe it’s been doing this all this time?” and we shook hands, a big powerful grip and that was that, on to find a site.
I drove on to the Lewis Lake Campground where I intended to spend the night, only to find it incredibly snow-laden and too treacherous for the Corolls to take on, and so I drove on, once again totally unsure of the plan and completely without service. I contemplated driving all the way through Teton, or trying to camp there, or investigating some free camping I read about just between Yellowstone and Teton. I decided to check the third option, finding it much less developed than expected, traversing a muddy road growing snowier by the mile, trying to make it ten miles out to a reservoir, anxiously turning around after the road grew too slushy for my comfort, retracing my tracks and finding this site, prime and snow-free. The fire now roars and all has grown dark and silent and I peer into the blaze reverently– squinting, tears egding down my face – the precipitation of the smoke’s exhale coupled with the gratitude for these days.
Day 28 – Montpelier, ID – Zen Roadways
On the brink of utter stillness I sit, on this longing last afternoon of another wildfire month-long journey, perhaps even moreso at peace than at other adventure’s end, though my future still as mesmerizingly blurred and unplanned as ever. I always go out onto these treks hoping to find direction and a sign from the road, though as soon as I put my Chaco to the pedal, all semblances of plan only go further and further from mine mind as I am transported to places so divine that my whole soul and being is picked up and lifted away - experiences so vast and astounding that senses sit piqued for weeks, even months. My thoughts drift away in these times of grandeur and I find myself so small in this magnificent plane, yet my opportunity so limitless. I go out seeking these wild places, and, finding them, I find parts of myself from lifetimes long ago. I return so energetically charged, so peaceful - the memories of parks past and campfires lit and trails trekked and people met, all rolling through my fibers and removing all worries. I’ve never come back from one of these journeys with an epiphany - or honestly, any real plan whatsoever - but these times of utter wilderness remind me that I don’t need one.
Heeding to the ways of the road, all sense of control must be surrendered, and in doing so, you lose the sense to resist. Zen roadways opening you up in ways unimaginable, and freeing you from the confines of the limitless mind. Here you are by these giant alpine lakes and mountains so jaggedly mammoth, beneath a sky so great it opens its hatch at day’s end and lets you peer into the abyss, milky and comforting, and here you sit, all of time and space’s warm blanket wrapped around you, here to ponder, here to be, here you sit. Why hath we been given this great chance? I know not, nor should you. We wonder, but the question is not to be answered now - it’s not a riddle to be solved; it’s an unveiling, a cosmic magnetism engrained into us, calling us and delivering us as we are to be. And as we let it all unfold, we slowly realize our path.
I pause writing momentarily to dive into the frigid turquoise Idahoan waters in last-day jubilee, soaking in all the wildness that I can, accepting the wind-knocked-out bite of the early-winter water as a jolt of life, a brilliant electric shock to my being and beyond.
Continued 8:18 pm
How many nights have I spent beneath these western skies since I first decided to route this Corolla west? How many roaring fires? How many evenings pining beneath the Milky Way? How many new campsites, or worried morns trying to fine one? How many moonrises and sets? How many sunrises and sets? How many “heyos!” into the darkness to deter bears? How many days of numb toes? How many days of true bliss, when time is but incalculable? How many creekside choruses, how many breathing bison? How much utter stillness, how much incomparable volume?
I put myself in this place, yes, but dammit I am a lucky man. Perhaps we each slowly grow nearer to that which we are ultimately destined, but the path must be walked with gratitude. I throw my final two firelogs on, thick and fresh, and the fire burns bright and hot and warm, and I look at the rising moon and hear my music and the fire’s crackle and creek’s bubble and all sits majestically at peace.