On the way into Pass Creek a few hours before, LC and I had noticed a side road (actually a rough looking dirt and rocky double track) that looked as though it led to a canyon.
In our eagerness to explore on a beautiful fall day, we decided on the spur of the moment to check out that road and see where it led, once we were done with our wanderings in Pass Creek.
Hours later (and still about 40 miles from the house) we pulled out of Pass Creek, drove a very short distance and pulled into the turnoff.
From our vantage point by the road the double track looked as though it traveled alongside the property line of the farm adjacent to the pass, and then took a sharp right turn before heading into what looked like a steep canyon.
Tired, but curious where the road led and what we would find, we eagerly turned onto the double track and headed off into the bumpy and sometimes muddy unknown................
We should KNOW this by now.
Distances are so deceiving in the vast expanses of the west.
When we turned onto the double track we thought we would reach the hills in only a few minutes.
Thirty winding, meandering, muddy, bumpy minutes later we finally approached the hills only to realize that the road was taking us to the left and not the right as we had fully expected.
More meandering and wandering and finally we reached the entrance to the trail.
Instantly the terrain transformed from the flat, muddy and open terrain we had been traveling through, to a world filled with rugged rock hills on both sides.
The trail became very rocky...............
The trail continued to deteriorate, the hills continued to get steeper and more jagged, and after four wheeling for a couple of miles we decided that - on this day - we would call it a day.
The day had just been too long and at this point in our quiet adventure, this trail that we were now on was just more adventure than we needed.
We were both enamored with the terrain - a combination of steep and rocky hills, evergreen trees, endless rock, and views of the valley that was now far below us - and we were curious where this trail led.
But at that point we had no idea where we were headed or what we were heading into.
We'd find out another day.
It was time to go home...................
Mountains are both journey and destination. They summon us to climb their slopes, explore their canyons, and attempt their summits. The summit, despite months of preparation and toil, is never guaranteed though tastes of sweet nectar when reached. If my only goal as a teacher and mountaineer is the summit, I risk cruel failure if I do not reach the highest apex. Instead, if I accept the mountain’s invitation to journey and create meaning in each step, success is manifest in every moment............TA Loeffler