Today I planned to hike up to Mallory Cave from the trailhead at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), which is just a couple of miles from my apartment. But by the time that I reached the intersection with the Mesa Trail, I knew that I wanted to go further up into the mountains.
Since I thought that I knew these trails so well, I didn’t carry a map. But the county had posted one at the intersection. Seeing that the trail up Bear Canyon — where I had never previously hiked — was so close, I spontaneously changed my plans.
That’s one reason why I almost never tell anyone where I plan to hike. If I never returned, too many people would be wasting their time in looking for my body in the wrong place.
Today my body stayed very much alive and in tune with the myriad lifeforms all around. My body felt at one with all life and found everything to be beautiful.
Even the most common lifeforms. Like this dandelion:
And this dead tree framing a live one:
And this poison-oak at its most poisonous:
Another plant just sprouting grows along Bear Creek:
Also common is this flower and this wasp:
As I returned from Bear Canyon along the middle section of the Mesa Trail, I was amazed to see a stand of paintbrush flowers — amazed both because I don’t remember seeing them at this low an elevation (about 6,200 feet) and also because somehow I didn’t see them on the way up.
Even the landscape along the trail was beautiful today.