The sun is creeping down the ridge to the west. A pot of water is on the stove. Jeff’s still in the sack. A light breeze is blowing. Swift Creek is flowing by us making the usual creek noise. Up the valley the sound of a waterfall or rapids is a constant. The aspen leaves quake in the wind waiting for the sun. There are a few light clouds to the south on the horizon – otherwise clear. It’s morning.
Breathing is difficult at this altitude but my body feels great. My feet are fine so far.
I immediately began to feel different once we made camp. Being here is truly a separate reality. I feel so good. So alive. So at peace – relaxed. I love being here!
Saturday afternoon, August 4, 1990.
Sitting on a ridge top a strong wind blowing by making noise against my ears. The sun is shinning brightly as it has all day and now there are beautiful puffy clouds blowing by overhead. Yet, it is still quite cool. There are dirty snow banks to my left and below me and clinging to the sides of the cliff walls. In all sides of me are mountains and valleys and lakes. I am alone.
Patterns of clouds move across the valleys – cirques- below me – an occasional bug buzzes by. The view in all directions is grandeur, immense, overwhelming, spectacular.
Why do I hike? Do I need a reason other than to be here where I am now? To see these small yellow flowers fribulate in the wind? To be part of nature at its grandest and wildest? To leave all the other worldly stuff to others for a wile while I can truly appreciate simply to be alive – to feel the wind- to feel the warm sun? To see the stars and the moon which will be full tonight or tomorrow night?
We bathed today in Dead Horse Lake. I always love to do that. It’s refreshing and feels so good to be sort of clean. A wind devil blew in just after we got out of the water and grabbed my clean underwear before I could and threw them up into a tree.
There’s still an hour or so of sunlight here at Lightening Lake. Shadow is falling over the north end behind the cliff face. Last night we watched the full moon rise over the mountain ridge to our east. It was beautiful. The glimmering of the moon on the lake reminded me of the Quetico
It’s cozy sitting under Jeff’s tarp in the rain. We’ve had lightening and thunder since about but are just now getting any rain mostly after lightening and thunder have gone away. It won’t last long. The storms are localized. The smell of rain is rich. It has texture – a definite feel. It’s good that we have some “weather” this afternoon. It has slowed us down a lot and reminded me that this trip is not over yet. Sitting out on the ledge a while ago and watching the storms all around reminds me of the Earth. What I mean is, it gives me a good feeling of what the Earth really is. I don’t know if I can express well what mean but something of the naturalness of it, the whole ness of it.
Out here the universe is on control mostly. It’s important to me to get into that flow every year or as often as possible to maintain a balance in life. To remember what’s important and what’s not.
Day by day we live our lives. The quality of the days, how we live them, IS the quality of our life. Things to remember: Northern Lights. Wind Devil. The Ridge over Dead Horse Lake. Porcupine Pass and Oweep Basin. The narrow trail on Porcupine Pass & Dead Horse Pass. Watching the storm overlooking the basin above Rock Creek. Fishing especially at Milk Lake. Hiking off trail. Camp fires at Lampert and Uinta Lakes. Interesting people along the trail. Being here for two weeks.
Let’s catalog the day: saw a herd of elk in the morning; hiked over two passes one being Porcupine (23 years after the first time); went fishing and caught two nice trout; wandered alone at Tungsten Lake; hiked through Oweep Basin; read; listened to music under the stars; slept out under the stars; saw shooting stars; watched the stars and the Milky Way; shot photos; spent time with my family. How many more things that I love can I do in one day?