Ranger Kathryn's Arches

April 24, 2011

Up side / Down side

Find our yellow tent hiding in this photo.

Just for fun I’ve tried to summarize my backpacking trip into two lists. Here they are:

UP SIDE: Being in the fresh air 24/7. Stunning scenery. The smell of sage. Finding artifacts everywhere. Sleeping on the ground. Pushing my body nearer to its limits. Climbing down a ladder into an ancient kiva. Sound slumber. Relying on maps because there are no trail signs anywhere. The fine taste of camping food, no matter how humble it is. Learning about ancestral people from a millennium ago, solely via what they left behind. Silence. Getting along fine without a toilet or outhouse. A Mountain Bluebird that made us do a double-take, it was so blue.  Lavender-scented sunscreen. No cell service. Drinking our tea out of the pot because we had no mugs. Seeing few humans. Watching what the sun does to the rocks at day’s beginning and end. Being okay with physical discomfort. Claret Cup Cactus with many scarlet buds. Finding out how strong women really are. Stumbling upon a Peregrine Falcon pair. Training my eye to see likely places where we’d locate ruins. The fine taste of filtered spring water. Lizards. Studying a strand of black hair mortared into an ancient granary. Never having to go inside. Holding pottery shards. Attending to the sun and the sky. A cozy sleeping bag. Rock scrambling. Feeling a strong sense of connection with everything around me. Hiking twenty miles.

Does tree-climbing increase happiness? Or do happy people climb trees?

DOWN SIDE: None. Except possibly the pricklypear glochids that lodged in my left thumb when I reached out to stabilize myself. But I got ‘em out. Mostly.

Put those two lists on your scales and weigh them. And then borrow a backpack and go into the wild! Take a child, a parent or grandparent, a sibling or a friend with you. If you have limitations that prevent you from going, rent a wonderful documentary about backpacking a major trail, pop some popcorn, and enjoy it vicariously.

August 1, 2010

Odds, Ends

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 8:19 am
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Ant lion on stucco, with my fingertip for size

1. This Ant Lion is an odd creature; the female will mate with the male and then decapitate and eat him… supposedly all for the good of their future babies. (Does the male not know what’s coming? Don’t the guys talk to one another?)

2. James, the injured boy in the last post, was helicoptered to a distant hospital in Colorado. When I called there today to check on him 24 hours after the rescue, he had been released, which was very good news. He’s going to be fine.

3. I’ll be gone for the next three days in the backcountry, tracking radio-collared desert bighorn sheep in The Needles with our resident wildlife biologist. It was decided to skip the monitoring of peregrine falcon nests this time around as the two main falcon canyons are currently laden with quicksand.

I'm happy to help search for large elusive mammals in Canyonlands NP

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