Bubble in the desert

A blog I started whilst on a GE "Bubble" assignment in Nevada. I'm back in Cambridge (UK) now but still miss the desert and my friends out there.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Life on the trail

This sort of thing was floating about in my head today. Trying to find words to describe what life is like around here and not really doing a very good job of it. Perhaps I will try to make this into a poem one day.

Walking is the rhythm of our day.
Nature provides the beauty (and the beasts).
From one pass to the next life in the canyons changes.
Even the crude observer can't fail to notice the numerous different eco-systems they pass through,
as they are struck by a new flower, mammal, or, most recently a snake in a lake.
One canyon has ferns, one of the oldest plants on the planet, and the next, none.
At one moment fly fishermen are unable to pull anything from a stream but golden trout, (searching instead of a rainbow to eat)
at the next, fishermen look at us agog when we talk of the now seemingly mythical golden trout.

The number of miles achieved is an important milestone for many, especially with 1,000 coming up for most.
I cannot connect with the number of miles hiked - it seems so abstract and meaningless.
The number of miles seems as irrelevant to the hike as the page numbers are to the story in a good book.
For me, the more miles, the closer we are to journey's end.
This feels like reading The Lord of the Rings and realizing that this wonderful story will end sometime and I shall miss it.
So it is with this hike.

Living in Nature and camping wherever we like, with everything on our backs,
careful to leave no trace - well, it all feels shockingly normal.
Going to town seems noisy and awkward and stressful.

It surprises me that people out here are a delight.
Trail companions enrich the day.
Shared troubles, even with biting insects, seem lessened,
ad delights, such as swimming holes, are greatly magnified.

People we meet along the way are a primary source of news and entertainment.
News of other people on the trail, ahead and behind, is always of interest,
to learn of the progress of friends you have met, and to see if you will them again, is fun.
Other hikers also give us news of the outside world, which seems a little abstract but makes a good story.
It is striking to notice that this is how news used to travel and to learn something of the reliability of these old ways.
Of the most interest of all are the people themselves, conversation and their story.
We often travel low miles because we like to talk with people, sometimes for hours.


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