Rocky Mountain High

Skeleton Gulch trail follows along the Colorado River for the first few miles, then through old growth spruce forests, up steep inclines, and around an old gold mining town. At 10,546 feet, we make camp.

There are so many meadows before we reach this spot.  Large expansive spaces, where fields of grass come up to my knees, where the brightness of the afternoon sky contrasted the emerald forests far beyond.Transfixed, I stared into them as if they are portals into other dimensions.

Suddenly storm clouds block the afternoon sun, and my trains of thought slowly trail away as my body is exhausted. My heart beats become the soundtrack to my hike.Then flow from Sawmill Creek cuts the stillness of the afternoon. This little stream made the Grand Canyon, a fact I learned from the pamphlet I picked up at the ranger station earlier that morning.

There’s a clearing in the forest before me. Fallen logs decompose and return to the earth. I step onto their spines. They are soft, bouncy. They’ve lost their strength, let go of their roots. I nearly collapse into the earth, so I dismount onto bumpy ground.

I thrash my body so my mind slows. An hour before the sun dips below the mountain ridge I lay down for a nap. Emerging from the cocoon of my tent two hours later, I feel born again.

Among the dead there is the living. Young trees sprout up in the place of where the old growths once stood. Slimmer and flimsy, they fight for sunlight. For their survival.

To be one of them, I seek stillness. To be among them, I feel at ease.

#nps #findyourpark #getoutside #rmnp

 

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