One day in late October, with Hunter arriving in a little over a week away, I had the opportunity for a quick jaunt up to the hills to do one of my favorite things while in the mountains. I'm always interested in finding new places to set up a camp which no one has camped before. With winter coming up, I've been interested in finding places to spend a night or two in the snow. So with these things in mind, and a few hours of free time, I was headed up the hill to a spot I have had in mind for a couple of years. My intention was not to go up there and build a campsite, or start a fire, or something like that. I just wanted to check out the area, tune in to the forest and surroundings, and pretty much just "Look" around.
I bring up the subject of "Looking" because that is also one of my favorite things to do while in the woods. Someone brought up that subject a few days ago because he used to "Look" in his younger days, and was getting back into the practice. For him, it involves just looking at things as a sort of meditation. He was not gathering information about what he is looking at, not looking for a specific thing, but pretty much enjoying the visual aspect of Life. Soaking in the subject of his gaze, and burning the images in his mind for enjoyment and the possibility of using the image in the future.
Usually when I am Looking in the woods, I am gathering information about the subject. Tuning in to what I am Looking at or Looking for, so that I can use the information at the present moment and in the future. Seeing, soaking in, tuning into the moment, learning about the mountains, is what I enjoy most when I am on my trips.
I believe good observation skills, reading and understanding the signs, are born and bread into all of us. They come from a time long ago when our ancestors were not so separated from their environments as modern humans are today. It's just a place that some of us like to go to every once and a while. Not talkin' about runnin' around in loin cloths, but getting back to ancient ways - often times with modern gear which allows one to blend into both worlds. It's being in touch with our past and living in the present - in the moment. It's a good way to slow down and just exist.
Few views of the first hills you come to as one travels up higher.
The hike in was about a mile from where I will be able to leave the car in the winter. My destination was across this meadow, through the taller trees at the center of the picture, and up a little creek drainage that feeds this meadow.
Loving the deep forest travel. Tuning in more now as the chance of crossing paths with animals becomes greater.
The creek drainage I was travelling up was dry now. I imagine it pretty much is just a channel for melting snow since there was no spring to feed it. Alongside the creek bed, I found this spot where deer had bedded down sometime in the past. I normally wouldn't use this spot if deer were going to use it for their camp, but they won't be here in the winter. Looking went into full force in this area. Great way to spend an afternoon.
The only thing that concerned me about this area, was that the creek area seemed like sort of a funnel for wind. It was sorta calm on this day, and this ground area seemed protected by the dense tree cover, but there was more than a few broken top trees around. Made me think either it gets pretty windy through here, or maybe it was just an isolated wind event that topped these trees. Well, I'll just have to camp out sometime and find out.
Cave would work for a decent shelter.........in a pinch. Just don't light a fire as the rock may crack!
On the way home I stopped by to "Look" at Redwood Mountain. I can see how it got its name. Just look at all those Sequoias! Simply amazing. First snow's rollin' in......winter is fastly approacing. It was a great autumn outing, even if it was just for a few hours to Look around.
Ok. That brings us back to the present ;)