Monday, September 28, 2015

eclipsing the sky

The last lunar eclipse I saw was six months ago in San Diego. It was early morning, the day we were to begin our walk through the desert on the PCT. Flash and I were only hiking 110 miles but the rest were beginning their Canada bid. The sight of the moon disappearing seemed like an omen of something big. Now, the people who started on the same day as we did are finishing, congratulations!

It turns out I had a whole canyon to myself. This is one of my favorite places, so big and wild and empty.  I don't tell many people to go here, and the steep uphill hike weeds them out anyway.

I saw J coming down from Sky Lake as I was going up. She was solo too. Which got me thinking. There's been a rash of books/accomplishments about long distance hiking, written by women who are using the trail to heal from something. Me? I just like to hike. I don't expect the trail to do anything for me.

Sky Lake--the perfect place to watch an eclipse
I couldn't resist day hiking up on the pass. Nobody in sight.

In the past, I believe I've been too personal on this blog, which resulted in people who don't know me making assumptions that really did not mirror who I am. I've backed off from sharing too much, but I can say with confidence that the wilderness, while a healing place, is not where I go to fix myself. It's where I go to be disconnected, to hear absolute quiet, to be away from people staring at screens, and to get a good workout. Wilderness lets you take a good long look at yourself and see what needs to be fixed--but it can't fix you.

I crawled in my tent after gnawing on a bagel. The eclipse, over pale mountains, was outstanding. I couldn't get good pictures with my point and shoot, but that's not really the point. I don't need to post it somewhere to remember.



13 comments:

  1. Awesome Mary,
    I've done the loop hike past Sky, Swamp and Steamboat Lakes, truly a magical place. You were blessed to witness the eclipse from that beautiful place.

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    1. I haven't done the full loop but I want to!

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  2. Saw the eclipse over Lake Superior on Grand Marais harbor...beautiful over water. Not wilderness at all but nearby some wild places we had visited that day. Enjoyed your trip, and especially your take on wilderness and what people expect from, and get from, their time there.

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  3. We were lucky in Holland to have a clear sky and an excellent view right from our front steps. Not a workout, but great to sit in silence and contemplate.

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    1. I was surprised how fast it was. The next time I woke up the moon was way across the sky and full again.

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  4. Sigh....I was lazy, went to bed, and missed the entire thing! You picked a gorgeous place to watch the eclipse.

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    1. I'm usually lazy but it was early! I did fall asleep for awhile though. In a tent, I wake up frequently, so I saw most of it.

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  5. I go to wilderness to connect I guess, because the day-to-day world is so disconnecting to me on all levels. Everything just falls into place when I get out there. I does 'fix' me I guess, but only when I'm out there. When I come back it's the SOS (same 'ol shit) and I'm longing to be back out there. Still haven't figure out the bridge to making what heals me be my life.
    Interestingly, my photos of the eclipse were better than what I saw with my eyes, much more color and definition.

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    1. Yes, I guess wilderness does fix me in that sense because I feel the same way you do. I think in the bigger sense, if you have something deeply wrong like an addiction or a traumatic event, the peacefulness can help, but you also need to do the work back home. I don't think a trail itself can heal you if that is the case. But I could be wrong--I'm sure others will chime in if that's the case!

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  6. As Aunt Kina used to say, in her delightful southern accent, "It would be so boring if we were all alike."

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    1. True. I struggle with blogging sometimes because the blogs I skip over are the ones that are like journals "I hiked here, camped here, got up, hiked". But at the same time you don't want to reveal too much because it puts you in the realm of inviting armchair analysis. You can't show all of who you are in a blog, and what you keep writing about may be just you trying to figure out one small thing. But people see it and think it is your main focus. Oh, first world problems!

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  7. I saw the eclipse from a Dairy Queen parking lot in Roseburg, Oregon. Even in the middle of a small city, it was serene and beautiful. A stark contrast to what happened today in Roseburg. :(

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