Mountains, Spirits, Stories and Scars

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I have been posting a lot about lessons or perspectives and I have a few whoppers coming. So I thought I would return to my roots and the original reason for my page. Life, from 5280-N-UP…
When I go Jeeping I go for a few reasons but there is one core reason I go; the amazing beauty that is the Rocky Mountains. I am planning more trips as always but they will be different this year. I will do some of the old standards I love and with my club but I am going to do some others as well. Ones that take me back to my roots.

I will be traversing some trails in a very slow way. Pausing often, and sometimes sitting and looking at the creation that the Gods have given us. Today I sat and watched a bald eagle in my tree in my front yard. It may be building a nest there although seems like an odd time of year. But it reminded me how close nature is and how fast we pass by it without noticing.

That ends now. I will invite friends to go with me on some of these journeys. I’ll make some of them club runs being very specific that the run will be slow and fun and never a rush. I have a fly fishing rod, and I plan to embarrass Norman Maclean by using it. I may take all day. I may spend the night.

This past season I was lucky enough to go see a mill in the mountains that will clearly not stand much longer. Although I didn’t see it in its best form, I saw it standing. The man made crutches that are there to hold it up are failing. This is part of why I do this. Also this past year I sat and had lunch near a waterfall and was checked out by two deer and a woodchuck. When I say checked out, I mean one deer did a full walk around me.

That night I sat in my camp, and watched two fox and later a raccoon wander by looking for dropped food I assume. This is part of why I go to the mountains.

The mountains cannot effectively be described or photographed. Their scent cannot be captured or imitated, especially after a rain. The sound the wind makes in tall pines cannot be recorded. And the speed with which a storm can come over a pass and surround you is intimidating. This beauty comes with power. Kinetic power.

I respect this power and beauty and go through a small ritual even my Jeeping friends don’t likely know. The mountains have spirits and they do see, and listen, and know you are there. I talk to them. I ask their permission to visit. I respect their home as I pass through. And I thank them for their gift as I go.

I do this not to minimize risk, but to acknowledge the gift before me, under me, around me and soaring above. I always go prepared when wheeling. I don’t always have everything I need but I am close. I want to go to the remote areas, because others wont. There are still parts of these mountains where no man has tread, ever. Tread lightly …

Although I talk to the spirits, these mountains don’t see you. They don’t know you. They wont care when you are gone. The risk is real, even when just wheeling for beauty in a remote area. This year I will wheel alone more. Not because I want to invite the risk but because I want to embrace the life.

Life comes with risk and risk bites back at times. I’m ok with that. I have scars. I am proud of them. Scars mean you have lived. Not all scars are good, I get that. But all of mine come with a story and a smile and a laugh. Some of those stories are about me being stupid. That’s ok. I’ll be stupid again.

I know not the first time I was stupid
I know when I made my last promise.
I know when I am in Love.
I know when I am scared but not always why.
I know these are signs of life.
I know I want more life, in my life.

I know the last time I fell on Love.

So I will return to my spiritual home. I will remind my home when I am there, that I belong. And I will treat my home with respect because I respect its beauty, its majesty and its power. I hope the spirits welcome me. If not I will have a new scar, but I will have another story to tell.


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