Rich

backpacker walking down a dirt road in the mountains with the Aspen trees turninggolden.

Count your wealth
In soaring trees,
Dunes of sand,
And sprawling seas.

In Limestone rocks,
Granite faces,
Grassy meadows,
And open spaces.

In thorny cactus,
Whitetail Deer,
Rolling plains,
And rivers clear.

In moonlit nights,
Gentle snows,
Trails of dirt,
And cawing crows.

In Bison herds,
Buzzing bees,
Starry nights,
And cooling breeze.

In boulder fields,
First raindrops,
Boggy creeks,
And mountain tops.

In waterfalls,
Cedar breaks,
Grizzly Bears.
And big snowflakes.

In gurgling springs,
Hungry snakes,
Wild raspberries,
And alpine lakes.

In Aspen groves,
Wild mountain honey.
Spring wildflowers,
And days all sunny.

In vast pine forests,
Pecan bottoms,
Briar patches,
And colorful autumns.

So count your blessings
Not your gold.
Nature’s rich,
“Look, behold.”

Audio Version:

Boquillas Canyon on the Rio Grande

 

So Much Beautiful

 

Late afternoon light- Batopilas Canyon, Mexico

The Sun rises.
It brings light
And warmth with it.

A violent thunderstorm
Heads on to the east
And a double rainbow
Forms where it used to be.

Eight buzzards catch an updraft
And soar effortlessly
Above the valley.

A young family piles into their car
And heads to town
For donuts.

The Herefords stop grazing.
They turn their butts into the wind,
Face the sun, and close their eyes
To soak in the warmth.

The slow, gentle rain stops.
Almost instantaneously,
The green of the meadow
Begins to glow.

A Tarahumara man sits down
And leans against a tree.
Then, he plays the violin he made.

The stoplight turns red
And the cars stop.

A mother Golden Eagle
Spends the day
Teaching her babies
To fly.

A salesman is late to an appointment.
He pulls off to the side of the road
And helps a stranger
Change their tire.

A crumbling old man talks to his cane.
A young woman
Sitting across from him answers.

An old dog crawls from under the porch
And sprawls out onto
The cool, refreshing dirt.

The drizzle stops,
The fog lifts,
And the clouds disappear.
And within a moment, blue skies erupt.

A kid stops, reaches down,
And picks up a nasty used Styrofoam cup.
She stuffs it into her back pocket
To throw away later.
And no one is watching.

Spring arrives in the mountains.
A snowdrift melts and
Is replaced by
A Calypso Orchid.

A volcano blows its lid.
Lava begins to pour out
And a new island is born.

A mountain climber reaches the top.
Before celebrating and relishing the view,
He turns and belays up the person 50 feet behind.

A dead Spruce tree
Falls and blocks a trail in the forest.
A new path begins.

The Sun sinks in the west.
Alpenglow briefly consumes the mountains.

The couple sits on their deck.
They ponder the horizon,
As a full moon rises over the hill.

Small, but integral parts
Of a beautiful day
That never ends.

———————————————————–

Audio Version:

Sharing in Ecuador

Steps of Faith

4  people crossing the Kahiltna Glacier in Alaska
                                         Crossing the Kahiltna Glacier, the Alaska Range

Cross the glacier,
And probe the surface ahead
With a pole.

Reach below,
And feel for hidden holes,
Filled with emptiness.

It’s a profound place
Of majestic vistas and open spaces.

Crisscrossed by mysterious cracks of darkness
Known as crevasses.
Which lie in wait–
Hoping to swallow you up,
And drink you into,
Their endless world of ice and cold.

Some are open for all the world to see.
Others are hidden under a thin shield of snow
And the sea you walk,
Is constantly changing.

The shape of each crevasse,
And where they are,
At any given moment in time,
May never be known.
But can be better understood.

Feel the edges underneath,
Where the breaches end,
And the solid glacier extends.

And follow the path of most resistance.

If you do,
The going is slow-
Circuitous and wobbly.

But perhaps you won’t fall in,
And will get where you’re going.

Audio Version:

                                                                             Crossing a wide open glacier

 

The Mountaintop

A Colorado Mountaintop

Finally on the summit,
The top’s beneath my feet.
For a moment I rest upon the throne,
Where the mountain is my seat.

I gaze into my surroundings.
Distances of every kind,
Add to the puzzle,
And overwhelm my mind.

I see the route that led me here,
And the places I could go.
For an instant, the world is at my doorstep,
And possibility stirs below.

The “what might be” almost overwhelms,
As “could” fills up my mind.
With thoughts of hope and treasures,
And riches of every kind.

Then a new plan comes to life,
And it’s time to head below.
I’m excited by what awaits,
And the places I may go.

Continue reading “The Mountaintop”

Infinitense

Rejuvenance awaits

Head west and follow the sunsets,
Toward horizons always yonder.
Keep the distance in your sights,
As you hike the trail to infinitense.

Beyond the edge of what you see,
Countless moments wait to be.
And once you’re there,
You’ll set them free.

Distant magic waits to happen,
Out of sight, but not of mind.
Wake it with your presence.

So, cross the valley,
Ford the river,
Climb the ridge,
And engage the magnificence that awaits,

Infinitense beckons.

When you get there,
Drink in every drop of what you find.

See the
Thundering waters and towering waterfalls,
Huge forests teeming with life.
Desert mountains full of quandary,
Rolling prairies of waving grass.

But don’t just saturate your heart with awe.
Embrace the treasure,
Join the moment,
Replenish, refresh, reload,
And remember…

When you reach one horizon,
Another is born.

So, keep hiking.

Infinitense never leaves,
It’s forever just ahead.
And there’s always a trail that’ll take you there,
To the place beyond compare.

Audio Version:

Indian Blankets for a moment

Bonking (also known as Metabolic Acidosis)

 

Mountain biking in Colorado
Mountain biking in the Tarryall Mountains

Ryan had never bonked before, at least in the metabolic shock/ overexertion sense of the word. When he started to bumble around and lose more and more of his edge, I knew that something was up and figured that’s what had happened. Not realizing what was going on, he kept on trying to mountain bike further up the Colorado Trail, although with diminishing returns. The big patches of snow that remained on the trail, even though it was June, were probably a good thing since they ultimately turned us all around. His disrupted mental and physical state likely made the retreat more palatable to the 13-year-old, since he wasn’t one to be prone to turn around before his goal was reached.

Continue reading “Bonking (also known as Metabolic Acidosis)”

Mired in the Mud

Backpackers crossing a creek
Crossing a creek

Backpacking down the trail.
I come to a creek,
And look for a crossing.
It’s a dry one I seek.

Suddenly I’m stopped,
Mired in the mud.
A boot gets stuck,
And I fall with a thud.

I feel my body,
And nothing seems hurt.
I decide to get up,
And wipe off the dirt.

Except…

The dirt that covers my hands and legs,
Is gooey, wet, and awful sticky.
And to clean it off now I realize,
Will be a task that’s mighty tricky.

So, I wade into the stream,
Where the water is wet.
Wash off the mess,
And loudly scream.

Now that I’m clean,
But thoroughly soaked.
I continue across,
My dry crossing revoked.

I clamber out of the water,
On the other side.
Drenched to the hilt.
And I begin to slide.

The weight of the backpack,
Pulls me back.
Toward the water,
And I begin to totter.

Once again I fall,
Onto my back this time.
My pack’s submerged,
But without the grime.

My stuff’s all soaked,
My elbow aches.
Getting up is hard,
And my body shakes.

Finally, I’m up,
And proceed once more.
This time careful,
As I reach the shore.

Then, it’s out of the water,
Up onto the bank.
This time it’s easy,
I have two fails to thank.

Audio Version:

backpackers on the trail
Backpacking

The Mountain Bike Race

A muddy mountain bike racer

The race is on.

Spin the pedals,
Faster, faster.
Time is of the essence.

Reach the forest first,
Gotta make them chase.
Hide the pain,
That’s on my face.

Take the inside lines,
Make passing tight,
No time for crashes,
Show no fright.

Spin the pedals,
Faster, faster.
Time is of the essence.

Push the pace,
Stay in the lead.
Heart is pounding,
Keep up my speed.

I cannot crack.
Must maintain edge.
See big root,
And watch for the ledge.

Spin the pedals,
Faster, faster.
Time is of the essence.

It’s okay to breathe loudly.
Ride the rut.
Must miss the tree,
Can’t feel my butt.

Getting thirsty,
And hungry, too.
Now, I creep,
Before, I flew.

Spin the pedals,
Faster, faster.
Time is of the essence.

I hate to ride,
I’m sure I do.
These times of pain,
Are surely through.

But then,

I cross the finish line,
And the race is done.
I love my bike,
I had so much fun.

Audio Version:

Rider in a mountain bike race in Moab

Wilderness

A photograph of a mountain lake reflecting the surrounding mountains

The wilderness welcomes with whispers and wind,
Vast deserts, huge mountains,
And forests unthinned.

A place where rainstorms, blizzards, and droughts,
Coexist with the fog,
The clear skies, and mist.

It beckons and hides,
Lures and derides.
It comes and goes,
Just like the tides.

It conceals vast treasures,
But opens its arms,
To all who would seek them
And sounds no alarms.

Constantly changing.
Extreme to serene.
From wildfire and thunder,
To calm and wonder.

It comes in all shapes
And in many sizes.
Its horizons expansive
And full of surprises.

Even though
Many folks never go
To lands faraway and wild.
It’s good to know
They still exist.
That frontiers yet persist.

Whether you hike into such places
With your body or your mind,
Rejoice in the magic that there you’ll surely find.
As you immerse yourself in its wonder,
Take a moment to relish and ponder.

And don’t try to make it better,
Nature’s working on those tasks.
Just leave it like it is,
That’s all it ever asks.

Continue reading “Wilderness”

Nine Square Feet

A Lot to Focus On

No matter how big the face,
Or how full your plate,
When you climb onto the rock,
A new realm you’ll unlock.

The world suddenly shrinks,
To nine square feet.
Living in the moment,
Is truly a treat.

No worries about what tomorrow will bring,
Cause your future rests solely on what you can cling.
The past is a jumble,
Most problems have gone.
What most concerns you,
Is what to step on.

The cracks are for the hands and feet,
And jams are mostly for arms and fists.
A pocketed face looks mighty good,
And a chimney’s for climbing and not for wood.

While getting to the top may be the goal,
Even the holds within reach could be beyond your control.
If you can’t make the next move,
And are stuck in one place,
The top no longer matters,
And a new goal you’ll then chase.

If you try while you’re climbing to think worldly thoughts,
The vision you conjure may be of knots.
But when you make a move forward and stand up on a nub,
The moment will win,
And you’ll understand then.

Audio Version:

ro k climber ascending a crack system with water below
Climbing a crack
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