There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work

25 February 2017

alone on Ajo Mountain

Across the desolate highway is a dirt road with a faded sign that leads to Ajo Mountain.

The wanderer crosses the blacktop like a hurt tortoise, then meanders onto the desert sand, and starts the journey under the mid morning sun.

The rain clouds follow.
It doesn't take long before all signs of civilization vanish. The imposing cactus tower his vision, the desert starts to play it's tricks on his mind.

Careful, don't fall down the rabbit hole. Stay focused.
Clouds gather and disburse quickly along the skyline. The Lizard King spews an ancient truth in the afternoon wind.

"The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can't be any large-scale revolution until there's a personal revolution, on an individual level. It's got to happen inside first."
He listens to the wisdom of the past as it sets a framework deep in his mind. The trail feels surmountable now, and he rambles on into the late afternoon, worry free and present about his own personal revolution.
******

23 February 2017

Devils Tower

I feel deeply the change in the air the further I go into the Bear Lodge Mountains. The window is down so that the air rushes over me like a cascading waterfall. The leaves are bright orange and red this October day. The buffalo grazing the last of the green grass, and prairie dogs eagerly pop out from their underground homes to look at the newest arrival.

The ominous tower appears before me over a ridge, and my heartbeat undeniably quickens. 
A sacred site of the Plains Indians and many other surrounding tribes of the Black Hills, I respectfully and silently approach the massive formation. Many a wonder I've been lucky enough to behold, but I can honestly say that none have had such influence and spiritual power over me like Devils Tower.
I start to trek around the entire circumference, taking in each crack of stone, the bend of the trees as they seem to bow and worship to a force of Nature that is found here.

Clouds whip and caress around the mighty monolith. My senses become heightened as time loses its bearings. I am transported to another dimension.
The electricity in the air heals my tired and aching muscles as I continue to make my way around. The closer I get to the tower the more intense the feeling. I fall to my knees next to a old Indian woman, close my eyes and listen to her prayer chant in her native tongue. She leaves a colorful garment tied to a tree.
No sound in the forest except for the wind, as though all the animals know to show respect in the Tower's presence.

The sunlight is a glowing comfort as its rays slowly glide down through the thick branches to the forest floor.

The hike around the Tower feels akin to a long and laborious birth, and when you finally reach the end and come out at the base of the Tower, you look around and let loose the discovery found inside yourself.
Perhaps this does not make any sense to you, but as with any spiritual journey, it only matters to the individual making the trek.

20 February 2017

the last of the Badlands

Ancient spirits float on the howling wind, stealing your breath away in the badlands. You are powerless to fight it.
If ever a place felt it was not for man, it was here. The call of the wild is strong on the great prairie, the landscape cuts deep into the soul of man, ripping him wide open to expose his hypocrisy and lies. The layers unveil a million years of truth, creationists be damned.
Indians of the Great Plains hunt for weak prey. I must either face the truth, or run and hide with the grazing sheep.
My Arrival time has come.

I know who I am,

and what I must do.

16 February 2017

The Pickin' in the Pines Festival 2016

For three glorious days up in the cool pines of Flagstaff, Arizona, you can hear some of the greatest bluegrass music our country has to offer at the Pickin' in the Pines festival.

Held in September each year, last years festival was my first time attending. From camping with a village full of bluegrass lovers to the bands playing at the Pepsi amphitheater to the workshops and classes being offered, it is a full bluegrass experience.
I'm salivating just thinking about it, and hope to return each and every year. Until September rolls around again though, I'll settle for this reminder of the great music to be found,

Enjoy the steeldrivers, just one of many great acts to be found last year. Long live Bluegrass!

15 February 2017

Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad

The train depot, built in 1896, is where I pick up my ticket before getting ready to board the train that will take me on the second highest tracks in the USA.

The Leadville Colorado railroad train, already at an elevation of 12,500 feet, will rise another 1,000 feet on this train ride.

That's high my friends.
As I board, I find that I have my own seat in the caboose, all to myself. I sit back in the chair, open the window, and let the Rocky Mountain air cool my skin as the whistle blows.
The beauty of the Arkansas river valley below is stretched out before me as the train makes a wide turn that shows off her power. Two of Colorado's highest peaks, Mt. Ebert and Mt. Massive, create a spectacular view. A female deer and her young doe stare at me for a moment before hopping the tracks and disappearing into the trees.
After a bit we come to an old water tower, marking the mid-way point of our ride. You can see the Climax Molybdenum mine and Fremont Pass from here. I feel like I can see the entire State from this vantage point. A light rain starts to fall.
I head to the dining car to get a snack and see the other train cars. I walk drunkenly along the rickety cars, loving the side to side motion as the train rolls along.
The rains passes almost as quickly as it arrives. The air feels even fresher, if that was possible. My smile is not contrived, but a true reflection of how happy I find myself in this moment.
So, if you ever have the chance to ride a train, any train, I highly recommend it. The sweet sounds of "All Aboard!" may be just the ticket you are looking for.