The Trail

Backpacking

Like a ribbon,
That snakes from here,
To there.

Starting,
Then disappearing,
Into thin air.

The path,
The way,
The natural trail.
Where does it lead?

Dirt, sand, gravel, and rocks.
They’re all a combination
Of individual grains
That rest against each other
And connect the first one,
To the last.

It begins,
It ends,
With plenty in between.

Just because
The whole of it
Can’t be seen
All at once, together,
And from start
To finish;
Doesn’t mean
It isn’t going somewhere.

A Long Bridge

Hiking in the Rain

Soaked and cold
Through and through.
Dirt’s turned to mud,
The rocks are slick.

No more sun,
But lots of fog,
Clouds, and a wind
That stings the skin.

Too cold to stop,
Too tired to walk.
And raingear gets you
Wet from sweat.

Inside your boots,
Feet are sloshing.
While in your mouth,
Teeth are rattling.

Saturated, frigid,
Miserable, and brutal.
Words of pain,
Share the air.

Bone-chilling
Comes to mind.
But you slog on anyway
Toward the darkening sky.

Because you know,
That just beyond
The ridge ahead,
Awaits a cabin
And warm bed.

Rain Brewing

 

Recipe

On the Summit

Water,
Sand,
Snow,
And rock.

Fly fish,
Cycle,
Ride,
And walk

Gravel,
Grass,
Mud,
And scree.

Backpack,
Wander,
Scale,
And ski.

Mountain,
Cavern,
Dirt,
And ice.

Explore,
Trek,
Cave,
And climb.

Talus,
Forest,
Stream,
And crag.

Summit
Surf,
Sail,
And cast.

Tundra,
River,
Lake,
And hill.

Yoga,
Swim,
Camp,
And chill.

Ocean,
Desert,
Cirque,
And peak.

Prepare,
Proceed,
Persist,
And Seek.

Simple,
Treasures,
Pure,
And sweet.

On the Road

The Night Sky

The Milky Way

The sun goes down
And once again
The nightly spectacle begins.

The stars begin arriving early.

But wait!
The bright light of the full moon
Is overwhelming
The masterpiece of the skies.
It makes everything else invisible to the eye.

But thankfully, like always,
The situation is only temporary.
And the show will go on.

So, for the moment, I relish the things I do see.

I stretch out in my sleeping bag
In an open meadow and look up.

I stay awake
Long enough to
See the moon set.

The temperature is dropping,
But my sleeping bag
Is made for that.

So, I warmly
Look up as the stars
Begin to take control.
And I imagine.

The afternoon’s storm
Has long passed
And cleaned the air.

The night is brilliantly clear.

And suddenly,
The Milky Way
Shows up in all its glory.

To the south,
The constellations of the Zodiac
Are on the march.

One of them,
Scorpio, Scorpius– the Scorpion, is particularly obvious.
At least for the moment.
But it’ll soon disappear into the horizon.
Because it always does.

For me, it’s the constellation of summer,
And adds to my warmth.

But it also makes me think of Orion,
My constellation of winter.
Though unseen,
The thought of it sends a chill to my feet.

Almost overhead,
Mars casts its red light
In untwinkling brilliance.
The untwinkling part is proof that it’s a planet.

I scan the sky for another planet.
But everything is twinkling.
Points of light are everywhere,
Inundating my senses.

My eyes are full of stars and galaxies.
But what of the millions
That are there, but beyond
What I can see.

And then, the fog begins to roll in.
Think fast before it fully arrives, I conclude.
Did my Kentucky great, great grandparents
Look up at the same sky, I wonder?
Is their vision of what they saw floating around out there in space?
Is a vision a concrete thing?
How far away can anything go?

The questions begin to accumulate.
Will they be answered before
The clouds takeover?

Then suddenly, I arrive at a non-answer
As I decide to figure it out later.
And the sky goes dark
As I drift off to sleep.

Before the Stars Arrive

Campfires

Campfire

Tender, kindling, fuel
Dry grass, sticks and logs.
Combined,
Then set afire.

Suddenly, there’s
Light, heat, and movement.
A whole new world
Is born.

A thing to stand around,
A reason to pull up a log and sit,
Something to stare into,
Reach your hands toward,
And turn your back to.
And always,
The smoke follows beauty.

And then,
A tale is told.
Which leads to another
And another.

Flames come and go
They ebb and flow.
Roaring, crackling.
Simmering, and flickering.

Embers, coals.
Constant change.

So much to see,
A lot to hear.
Things to say.
Stare, think, and gaze.

One fire is never like another,
Except that it is.

And once again,
A great story unfolds.

Seeing the Sunset

Goin’ to Golden Lake

Golden Lake, Wind River Range

No set trail will get us there,
But we’ll get there just the same.

It seems at first a lonely place,
Of monstrous rocks and alpine lakes.

But the Golden Trout are many,
The mountain climbs aplenty,
And the wildness more than any.

So, deep into the Winds we go,

Up there,

The fish are bightin’, the creek’s a roarin’,
The waters clear, and the mountains soarin’.

The camping’s good, big rocks for sittin’,
And pondering there, is only fittin’.

The place’s tales are sometimes frightenin’,
But in the end they’re all enlightenin’.

Through the trees the wind is whistlin’,
Talkin’ to those a listenin’.

Gettin’ there takes plenty of walkin’,
A good bit of guessin’, and lots of talkin’.

How was it found, all are wonderin’,
Was it fate or all that thunderin’?

When we reach the lower lake,
We know we have arrived.

Whatever hardships block the way,
Are just the price we pay.

It will be there, it always is,
Because
Its embedded in our minds.

The Rock at Golden Lake

Re-finding the Silver Trail- Copper Canyon, Mexico

Hike-a-bike on the Silver Trail

From the mines near Batopilas,
To the bank in Chihuahua.
And then by train,
To El Paso.
Haul the silver,
Hide the gold.

125 miles of trail.
Trains of mules with steel shoes,
Tarahumara’s with none.
Five stations along the way.
Mountains with pines,
Canyons with rocks.
Following the path,
That leads,
To the wagon road,
At Carachic.

A generation of travel,
Stopped by time.
Trees grow,
Meadows change.
The route forgotten,
Except for what,
The mules cut,
Into the rock,
With their hooves.

Forgotten stories linger:
Pilares, El Patron,
La Laja, Los Conchos,
El jefe with the knife,
Teboreachi,
The piano,
Huajochi.

Eventually, the day arrives.
And we go.
60 years later.

Years of talk and wondering,
Turn into action.
How hard could it be?
Mountain bikes, walking, and camping
Many questions asked,
But few answered.
Is this the trail?

We do it backwards- from Carachic.
First to El Ojito, then on south.
Past La Herradurra,
Night with Gabino Flores at Huajochi Station,
Walk through the Arroyo de las Iglesias,
Camp at The Hot Springs,
The next night with support at Pilares Station.

On to Siquerichi.
Cold night at La Laja Station.
Camping near Teboreachic Station.
Past Coyachique,
Then down to the Batopillas River.
From there, it’s ten miles of gravel road,
Finally, we arrive in Batopilas,
And Casa San Miguel.

The trail re-found
Was it ever lost?
Reconnoitered, mapped,
Ridden, walked, photographed,
Written and talked about.

Then,
Like before, the Chabochis
Move on.

But the trail stays.

Morning Dawns in Huahochic

Mystery

 

Going Somewhere

Walking somewhere,
And not knowing why.
To lands unknown,
With limitless sky.

Step into a world
Without any walls.
Possibilities are endless,
Mystery calls.

Climb the mountain,
Because it’s there.
Gaze from the summit,
The feeling’s rare.

Savor the moments,
When discomforts befall,
And you figure it out,
To answer the call.

Consider tomorrow,
Yet today’s cold and wet.
Cause a place warm and dry,
Waits for you yet.

Clear rivers roar onward,
Canyons bleed blue.
Caves shatter darkness,
Colors for you.

It’s always around us,
Wherever we go.
To bolster our moments.
And add to the show.

Canyons of Blue

Getting There

Nearing The Top

To the top!

Sweat mixed with rain,
Too hot for jacket,
But cold makes for pain.

Take a step forward,
Slide half a step back.
Gentle breeze pulls you onward,
Brutal gust makes you crack.

Stop, rest, breathe.
Sip some water,
Have a cracker,
And then, move on.

If you look up,
The top seems a long distance.
But keep moving forward,
And show your persistence.

The load is heavy,
And it only gets worse,
As the grind gets longer.
So don’t try and converse.

Stop, rest, breathe.
Sip some water,
Have a cracker,
And then, move on.

Each step gets you closer,
Believe it or not.
Rest assured your effort,
Won’t be for naught.

You’re undoubtedly tired,
And perhaps you’re wet.
That your legs are like rubber,
Is a good bet.

More than likely,
Your hands are like bricks,
Your feet have no feeling,
And your arms feel like sticks.

But suddenly, you’re there.

Stop, rest, breathe.
Your goal achieved.
Lookout and remember,
What you’ve received.

Sip some water,
Have a cracker,
And then, move on.

The Summit

Tarahumara- a poem

Tarahumara Man- Copper Canyon, Mexico

 

Drum,

Beating slowly,

And filling the air

With distant

Thumps.

 

A sound that connects

One canyon

To another.

One village to

The next.

 

Like a heartbeat,

Faintly pounding,

Almost rumbling,

As the people

Move their feet.

 

Walking

Somewhere, always somewhere.

Down the arroyo,

Across the meadow

To the big rock,

Never talking.

 

Soft, but hardened,

Mostly happy,

Sometimes sad,

And often burdened.

 

By others,

Who want something more

Than….

 

Semana Santa,

Matachines,

Tesguinado,

Rara’muri.

 

Many

Places to go,

People to see,

Things to do,

And a world to ponder.

Semana Santa, Noragachic