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

27 April 2017

leaving despair in Sycamore Canyon

4.18.17

I had just returned to work after a few days in Mexico City, and I was excited to tell my friends all about it. I was giving one friend some rosary beads she had asked for, when my best friend appeared at her desk, visibly shaken.

"My fifteen year old niece just died..."

A flood of emotions took me over, and I went right back to that fateful day of my own when I got the call about my own sister.
4.19.17

It's been forever since we've spoke, but I get a message from an old girlfriend about her support group for MS. She is so young to have to deal with this disease. I know all too well it's devastating effects on a person, and I find no words to console her. I tell her she sounds strong, but the words are hollow and empty.

She doesn't reply back.
4.22.17

I wake before the dawn and driving three hours up North. I'm not prepared in any way, no food and little water, but I don't care. I need to get out of my head and into the wild.

I find Sycamore Canyon, just outside of Williams, Arizona. There is an eleven mile loop that will work, and I start walking.

Four miles in and I get lost. I want to circle the canyon, thinking that is the most logical route for the loop, but I am mistaken.

Further and further I go, off trail and deep into the heart of the wilderness. I hear no other sound than my labored breathing.

but my mind is clear.....

I eventually turnaround and retrace my steps backwards. My water is gone, the new formed blisters on my feet are screaming in pain, and the sweat along my brow has crystallized into salt from dehydration.

I find this to be therapeutic to my well being.

4.26.17

In the way of the world today, I see on social media about a family friend that suddenly died. Only twenty two hours earlier she had posted a picture of her granddaughter at a gymnastics meet, and commented on how proud she was of her.....

I'll be having Counting Crows on repeat for a while, and taking in the advice from Anna begins...

24 April 2017

Horseshoe Bend

I had about an hour before sunset when I pulled into the parking area where the trail to Horseshoe Bend begins. I climb the sandy trail as a cottontail pricks up it's ears at me before scamping off into the sagebrush. The wind flute of the Navajo echoes below.

I feel a great presence here.
Tiny human
dots rise on the red rocks, standing before the mighty formation. The closer I approach, the more I find myself catching my breath. Not from exertion though, but from the raw power of Nature's beauty that the Colorado river has created.
I creep towards the edge, then sit meditation style on the rock lip of the great Bend and watch as the sunset lights up the area in brilliant colors.
The next morning I rise well before the sunrise and start hiking in the darkness back to this special place. A coyote meets me on the trail today, but pays me no mind as I can't satisfy his hunger.

My coffee quickly becomes cold in the chill of this winters morn. I lay down on the edge of Horseshoe and marvel at the quiet sound of a sunrise.
Few places bond my spirit back into one solid piece like the mighty Horseshoe Bend outside of Page, Arizona.
******

20 April 2017

The Durango Railroad

Trains are my favorite way to see the world. You get the old world nostalgia seeing the steam rise from the locomotive. Walking past the connected cars as you look for the stairs that will lead you to your seat.

Hearing that final "All Aboard!" call as The Durango & Silverton narrow gauge railroad gets ready to leave the station.
The cars jostle rhythmically back and forth as we make our way up the mountains. Town fades into the distance, farms roll past my window, the ground starts to show the snow from winter.

I get lost in thought as the conductor tells stories of Durango's past.
Higher and higher we rise, and you can open the window to feel the cold slap your skin as you look down the at the sheer cliff's edge. We make hairpin turns as we carve through the mountainside. It's awe inspiring.
We come to the half way point and exit the train so that the engineer can maneuver the train in reverse to turn us around. As we walk in the snow along the river bank, you notice the greenish brown color of the water.

We learn it is from the mines that are still in the canyon, leeching out the toxic remains into the water. It's a sad reminder of the environmental cost of mining.
The train is finally ready for us to head on back. I take one last look at the mighty engine, it's robust machinery and strong back metal frame.
Train 473 is ready to ride the rails once again, bringing safe passage to it's occupants back to the city of Durango.

12 April 2017

Sigur Ros

I had never even heard of the band Sigur Ros before, but I know my instincts well enough by now to listen when I hear the words....
"Go".
I find myself at the top of Berkeley's Greek Theatre, listening to lyrics in Icelandic, having no idea what they mean, but feeling the power of this group's music come through loud and clear.

They were phenomenal!
I can't recommend them enough, and if you have the chance, go see them live. It won't matter that you can't understand what they are singing about, the lead singer's falsetto voice, the light show, the ethereal and hypnotic feeling of the music, and the playing of guitar's with a bow string will be more than enough for you to fall in love with Sigur Ros.


11 April 2017

Guanacaste

Costa Rica would be the first country I would attempt to enter after being denied entry in Montreal. That bitter feeling combined with high anxiety levels were on full display as I approached passport control.

Nothing felt as sweet as hearing the click of the stamp coming down, and the big smile on the officer's face as he stated "Welcome to Costa, pura vida!".
It's dark, almost midnight, as my taxicab drives through the countryside to my hotel in Guanacaste. I've no idea what type of area I'll be in until morning. I check into the unassuming hotel and fall asleep quickly, dreaming of what will come in the morning.

I arise to the salty ocean smell, yet I can't see the water. At breakfast, I ask a young man which way to the beach. He smiles warmly and points down the road.

I start walking. I'm not in a hotel zone with throngs of tourists, nor a busy beachside city. It's a laid back and quiet little town with hostels and hotels hidden in the lush jungle, a store here and many a local's home there.

I come to the beach.
There are no annoying people bombarding you to buy wares or hook you up with things you don't want to do. Everyone is just enjoying themselves. I wander around from sunrise to sunset, sleep in the sand, find a shack to eat ceviche when hungry, a bar to quench my thirst.
Guanacaste province is the perfect starting place in Costa Rica. Let the sailboats gently rock in the morning sun as one falls in love with this country.
******