i spent yesterday hiking grove creek canyon with chris, jane and little fin. the rocky cliffs on either side of the mouth act as conductors for the sun's heat. even in mid-october i found the sun's ray strong enough to bead sweat on my forehead. the trail, not too steep, would run forever if we didn't have a destination which, 3.66 miles of trail and 2526 feet in elevation, was bear's (chris's old lab) grave site. it seems as if you can take any trail head from this valley and end up in any other place on this continent...
it's amazing more people do not hike.
along the way, fin and i enjoyed tossing rocks into the creek, catching bugs, looking at fallen leaves and inspecting a two year old rattlesnake i found sitting just off the trail. head cocked back, tiny rattler of dead skin warning us to stay back, black forked tongue shooting in and out of it's mouth as it tried to get a sense of us... such a beautiful animal, the rattle snake has taken something of a spiritual significance for me. much like my infatuation with bears, these excursions into nature are always enhanced by the mere chance that i might happen upon such a wonderful animal... jane took it by a stick and moved it further off trail and we moved on.
we found a cold water spring near the destination meadow where we stopped to wash our faces and noticed the aquatic plants releasing oxygen into the water, which would rise in bubbles to the surface. there were also flying insects (may flies?) that were laying eggs in the water. after sitting for a moment we moved further up the trail, crossing paths with elk hunters on horseback (descending the mountain having not seen elk all day).
chris and jane searched out bear's grave while fin and i tried desperately to catch grasshoppers. once bear's resting place had been found, the three adults shared chris's corn-cob pipe of navajo smoking herb. we continued our walk through the meadow, sat for lunch on the west facing side overlooking utah lake.
on the way back down, fin and i collected flat rocks for water skipping (to be used in tonight at sunset).
i like being outside and, there are times in my life when i forget that. my purest passion is in searching out my relationship with the wild. that relationship, in large, has always defined who i am.
i am a bear, i am a rattlesnake... i am wild. and, it takes the sunset (aided with beers) to sedate me.