Ranger Kathryn's Arches

March 26, 2011

Horseshoe Canyon: Getting into the natural rhythms

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 12:17 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Know what I really want to find? Mountain lion tracks.

Tom Brown, Jr., (in Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Nature Observation and Tracking) describes our everyday frenzied/distracted lives as “a little like walking around wearing sunglasses; after a while the world looks a little duller and darker than it really is. Gradually we come to accept the dullness as normal until we take the glasses off and realize, sometimes with a shock of surprise, just how bright and beautiful the world really is.”

I’ve finished eight days at Horseshoe Canyon. I’m “taking off the sunglasses” and getting to know myself better: my body, my mind, my spirit, my will. It is a slow process of learning to pay attention to small things that, in civilization, I glossed over.

I’ve no watch out here. I go to sleep when I’m tired, wake up when I’m refreshed, begin my patrols after breakfast, and try to be out of the canyon by late afternoon. This kind of living without deadlines, without artificial constraints, has a wonderful effect on me. I’m sleeping better and longer. I’m eating foods that nourish me instead of fill me. I’m asking lots of good questions about my surroundings. My body is responding quickly to the intense exercise regimen and I already take fewer rests on the uphill hike out. It feels so, so good. The best part, however, may be the cobweb-clearing that is taking place in my mind.

“Mental purification occurs quite naturally during an extended stay in the wilderness. Like a fountain of clear water, nature keeps pouring into our muddied cup, finally washing away the bothersome elements until we see clearly enough to feel a connection with the environment.”  — Tom Brown, Jr.

Does time in nature help clarify your thoughts and desires? Describe its impact on you.


  1. Only when we go camping..we don’t have any set schedule. Wonderful! Home..yes, everybody is doing everything by schedule and time and not by nature. That is why we like to get away to just forget about things and do what we want to do when we do them.

    Comment by Chris — March 26, 2011 @ 8:19 pm | Reply

  2. you are ending your blogs with a question this season. almost as if we were your classroom. after reading your “blog of the day”, i usually am capivated by what you did, or your wonderful description of it. Now, you challenge us to put ourselves in a similar position. INTERESTING…..

    Comment by john — March 27, 2011 @ 7:13 am | Reply

    • You never need to answer my Q, John — it’s just to jog your thoughts, or stir a lurker to comment. You can write whatever you wish! Or nothing at all! Full disclosure: it’s what they teach us to do in blogging school.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — March 27, 2011 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

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