I can tell the signs. I’m irritated with everything. I stomp around under a dark cloud, fuming. Too many hours logged at a computer, too many minutes suffering on the elliptical trainer.
It’s time to get out.
I’ve been chained to a desk, the result of a promotion and snowy weather up high. We can’t really get anywhere yet, and while it is lush and green in the canyon, access is hampered, available only at far-flung trailheads down teeth-clenching roads. All of this inside time is taking its toll. I’m itchy and prickly both, a wilderness addict needing a fix.
So I left the office early on Friday and rushed to my old standby, the Chief Joseph trail. Once again I decide to face my nemesis, the BC Ford. I avoided it a week ago by taking a climbers trail that bypassed it, but today I want to see what is going on at the ford.
It started to snow as I headed to the trailhead. Real snow, serious snow. It’s May 21. I paused for a moment to wonder about that. I’ve lived here nine months and it has snowed during seven of them. Another thing I didn’t expect.
The trailhead in snow.
As I headed to the trail, I saw a man with hiking poles walking up the road. Danger! I was too much of a crankypants to have a conversation at this point. So I poured on some speed and lost him.
There was big water at the bridge.
Mollified by the quiet, broken only by the sound of water and light falling snow, I pushed onward, already feeling tension melt away. There is something about being surrounded by natural things: rivers, mountains, forest. I don’t know how people can stand to be without it.
I could hear BC Ford rumbling and knew this wasn’t a crossing day.
I can’t explain why I need the wilderness. It isn't for some spiritual awakening.It isn't because I am a hermit, live-off-the-land type. I like running water. I like my cats. I wouldn't want to live in a tent year-round.
There's just something about stepping into a world that is busily recreating itself every day without any help from me. The river flows; the mountain slowly crumbles. I'm just a piece of the whole.
A crankypants no more.