Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Time To Regroup

Imagine two rooms that will one day be a store, that are completely filled with boxes stacked five feet high.
Imagine a house completely filled with boxes stacked 8 feet high and with only narrow pathways cut out to allow you to move from room to room.
Imagine a too-small storage unit, three vehicles and a boat completely filled.
Imagine half of your store gear at the house........somewhere.
Imagine half of your house gear at the store.......somewhere.
Imagine having to make logical sense of all of that and then imagine finding a rightful place for all of that.
Imagine sorting out a cluster of a house and making multiple trips to a larger storage unit.
Imagine opening a store..................

Imagine a brother-in-law who moves in and announces an agenda, which turns out to not be his agenda at all.
Imagine dedicating weeks to that agenda - the physical, emotional and psychological energy expended to try to make work what he says he wants to make work.
Because he is not strong enough to do it for himself.
Imagine that brother-in-law being his normal demanding, toxic, energy.........sucking self, while you are trying to open a store and settle into a new life in a new state.
Imagine that this is the second time he has done the same thing.
The first time was the LAST time we had just moved to Cody.
Almost exactly the same song and the same dance as last time.
He finally went back to Minnesota this morning with his tail between his legs and his hat in his hand.
Just as he did last time.
Only this time I told him to not ever do that again.
I don't think that he's used to telling the truth or hearing the truth.
Only I told him the truth.
And when I hesitated (trying to say what I wanted to say without destroying an oh-so-fragile-ego) he correctly filled in the blanks.
He knew.
He knows.
He's gone...............

I have had these pictures downloaded and in "Draft" for well over two weeks.
But there was no energy - no physical energy and certainly no creative energy - to blog
That and carpel tunnel.
That I am beginning to battle regularly now.
Too much time on the computer?
Too many months of moving too many boxes around?
Also maybe..................

On this day I walked with my dog.
Retreating to the silence of BLM land and heading into the cold and grey hills of the outer rim of Oregon Basin, just on the outskirts of Cody.
And with relish she and I quietly climbed higher and higher, following one of the trails that she and I both know well by now...............
We have had two snowfalls since these pictures were taken.
The snow has been heavy both times, but both times it has all quickly melted.
Korys' print in what little snow remained on this day.................
There is always a point in a hike when you break over a rise and the endless world finally opens up to you.
This was that point.
These pictures are interesting enough but there are no beautiful pictures.
The sky was grey.
The landscape was beige.
Nothing was yet growing.
The non-descript transition period between winter and spring.
But none-the-less this was the point where my happy and endlessly investigating puppy and I had reached freedom.
 A point where mountains were visible all around us..........
Click on any picture and they will all enlarge............
Once we reached the top of the trail we had been following for the past 45 minutes, Kory and I had a couple of choices.
We could drop down (a lot) into the basin proper that was directly in front of us.
Or we could take a short trail to the left, drop down (a little) and check out what appeared to be interesting rock formations.
We had never taken the left trail so quickly chose Door #2.
As always puppy led the way and I smiled as I watched her.
A new trail for both of us................
At the end of the short trail I began to pick my way over and around low sage bushes, heading for the sandstone rock formations that were off to my left.
Looking around me I realized that Kory had disappeared.
No matter.
She was close and we would find each other quickly again.
Years of hiking experience with her told me that.
I turned my attention back to the rocks, enamored as always, by the interesting and artistic shapes that the wind, snow and rain had carved out..............
Scanning the area around me, Kory was still nowhere in sight.
As I headed in the direction of the overlook I called to her.
The world wasn't beautiful - no bright sunshine and blue skies, no glistening and pure snow blanket, no green grass or budding spring wild flowers.
But as I headed for the point, I realized that I was greatly enjoying myself.
I love the city of Cody, but needed to get out of town regularly in order to regroup and rejuvenate.
Needed to be in nature.
And away from people.....................
Clearing skies by this time late in the morning................
By the time I had snapped a number of pictures on my way to the point I realized that Kory had already beat me there.
Smiling at the sight of her and silently gratified that all was well, I watched her disappear into the trees..............
The sandstone rock (as it was with the much more interesting Circle Rock) had been smoothed by the elements, making the going easy and straight forward.
I climbed from one large smooth rock to another, gradually making my way up to the point - that I had never stood on before, but which I knew would open up to huge views of the Oregon Basin.................
As I stood at the point looking out over the vast, open expanse of emptiness I watched in silent alarm as Kory stood at the edge of the rocks.
We were at a point, but in reality we were standing on a ledge.
A rock ledge perhaps 50 feet long, and all of which dropped steeply into nothingness.
We were 100 feet above a series of hills that led down into the Oregon Basin.
For a moment I watched her as my dog looked down, and I knew her well enough that I could tell she was evaluating the possibility of climbing down.
Just as I was about to call her back, Kory scampered backwards a few steps and then turned to come back to me.
Sigh of relief...................
I watched Kory for a few minutes as she walked along the edge of the rock face, stopped occasionally and then continued walking away.
Thoughtlessly, I forgot about my sweet girl for a few minutes, while turning my attention back to the extraordinary views and picture taking..............
When I heard the noise behind me I turned in surprise and scanned my surroundings.
Until that moment Kory and I had been enveloped in complete silence aside from my occasional calls to her as we had traveled the trail.
My hand instinctively went to my left hip and I felt the reassuring hardness of the grip.
There were mountain lions in these hills.
But the gun would thankfully stay holstered.
The noise was coming from my dog.
In alarm I looked down at Kory.
She had made her way down from the huge rock ledge we were exploring, and was now sliding down a huge bolder.
Toe nails were scratching into smooth sandstone as she tried to stop her forward momentum before falling off the edge of the boulder and landing on the basin floor far below.
When she finally stopped skidding I yelled at her sharply.
My tone of voice told her that my words were not a suggestion, and I held my breath for a few seconds as I watched my dog work to break the negative-gravity that wanted to pull her downwards.
The weather-worn, smooth sand stone.
The rounded boulder that led to nowhere.
I watched her work to claw at the smooth surface under her paws, but thankfully a few seconds later she was back up onto the ledge we had been sharing..................
I power snapped a few more pictures, but after realizing that my adventurous pup was continually drawn to the edge of the steep drop-off, quickly decided to move on.
This was no place for my dog.................
We headed back the way we had come for a few minutes, but once we reached the trail again I stood for a few moments considering options.
We could go back the way we had come.
Take the trail up to the top of the hill, and then pick up the long, steep Power Line trail that we had walked all the way from the truck.
Or................we could bushwhack across country and pick up another trail.
There would be plenty of muddy hiking, and two very steep climbs, but that was the way I decided to take us.
Cool!  More adventure!!.............
Looking back the way we had come.................
And finally climbing back up high enough to be able to see the tops of Cedar and Rattlesnake Mountains (after hiking up and down steep hills for the past 30 minutes)......................
One more climb and we'd pick up this new trail.................
Kory is an extraordinary athlete.
She is about 8 or 9 years old now, but I watched her as we were hiking up and down hills while on our way from one trail to another.
Picking lines.  Scrambling up rocks.  Jumping over sage brushes.  Jumping over wash-outs.
It is all so effortless and natural for her.
She is the most athletic dog I have ever personally known.
And eventually we found ourselves at the top of the second trail.
We had a long walk back down, but it was all downhill from here, and it was a beautiful hike.......................
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity..........John Muir

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