Friday, April 11, 2014

A Day in the Backcountry


On my fourth hike of the residency in Red Rock Canyon and surrounding areas, I headed off into the backcountry. The Black Velvet road is a less visited area, at least by the larger crowds. It is frequented by mountain bike riders and trail runners, so I'm told.

I posted more pictures here:

The trail was mine all mine, with a couple of young bike riders passing me in a hurry. Here are some of the musings I wrote upon my return.


Last hike at the pine creek, I was surrounded by the sounds of the birds scratching into the dirt, calling each other, rustling the leaves high in the pines. Today, the few birds are distant and my footsteps silence their calls, warning each other of approaching danger. I'm not dangerous, I call out and am answered by more silence. A road runner clacks his beak as he scurries across the trail but too quickly for the camera. As I follow his path, a huge hare stands tall, ignores the road runner but, ears awind, sees me and takes a few hurried steps toward safety. I decline the invite to follow; when I get to where it had disappeared it would be long gone anyway.

The narrow trail is easy to follow and devoid of rocks allowing me to keep my gaze high on the surrounding red striped peaks, enjoying the mottled sandstone and savoring the lure of the distant canyons. There! Where the two polka dot skirts meet the Velvet desert, there is where the desert calls from. Another canyon, lush with vegetation as it climbs the path of the seasonal descending water. Steep climb among boulders, oak and spruce hanging on to the vertical sides and shading the lush guarded life.
At the top, the gift of another endless view sitting on a boulder slapped by the cool breeze and listening to the sound of my tired breath. Later I return to the trail, grudgingly. I am regaled this time with the delicate cream flowering yucca and just when I begin to marvel at that and the sunny yellow daisies against the purple desert sage, I spot the unbelievable magenta color of the prickly pear blooms.

Sunday I teach a workshop and will report on that awesome adventure!

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