Storyteller’s Rock

I struggle to find a comfortable position on the hard surface of the craggy outcrop that is Storyteller’s Rock. Yet, a bird happily chirps away, singing to the sunshine.  We set out as a class, Wilderness Writing, on our first outdoor excursion on a hike up Grandfather Mountain. We started out on the relatively easy Asanti Trail. As we passed under the Blue Ridge Parkway, my body started heating up and I knew I would have to shed some layers. Finally, my lungs suggested a stop so I reached the next intersection and took off a bunch of layers. I wondered how my lungs would deal with the trip – we were only 0.75 miles in and I was already winded. My admittedly out of shape body and short legs were struggling to keep up with the others. We turned onto the Tahnawa trail to catch the Boone Scout trail (I’m messing up these names).  The tanawha trail was fairly on the level. About a mile later though, we turned up the Boone Scout trail and it was fairly continuously uphill. My body was really starting to speak strongly of wanting to stop and rest. We did for awhile, but most of the other hikers were way ahead and would stop to wait up for us slower hikers. Then we wouldn’t get as much of a break as they had. I fell into a slower uphill plod, one of resignation, my lungs constantly struggling, and sweat beading all over my body – a no no for any hiker. But I couldn’t do much else. My walking stick helped a lot of the hike, providing needed balance and stability. As we got to the next trail intersection, we stopped again at the top of a ridge and enjoyed a wonderful view. My body got some respite there. As we turned onto the next trail, the Cragway trail, heading to the Nuwati trail, the situation completely changed. This trail was downhill completely, and was composed of alternating boulders with deep dirt ruts. Going down was much more difficult than going up, although my lungs didn’t think so – my knees and hips shouted that it was the more difficult section.  It seems almost easier because its much more quick and gravity is working with you instead of against you. But the work, in a purely physics sense of the word, is still the same – now I’m exerting muscle and energy to keep me from falling down the mountain.  It was an entirely new feeling bodily.

All that said, as my body objected to the physical punishment I was inflicting upon it, my heart was racing ahead, my soul drinking in the details of the ground in front of me, my mind excited and curious by the granite streaks, diverse lichens, funny fungi. I was happy to just be, even though my body seemed to be objecting vehemently. Mind over matter, spirit over body.  Know your limits but let your heart soar.

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Daniel’s Bowl

Daniel's Bowl

My wilderness values

I value the wilderness on several scales, for its spiritual aspects of peace, closeness to something larger than myself, serenity, harmony. For its adventure aspects of exploration, discovery, pushing the boundary, play.  For its educational aspects of learning of self, nature, and community, science, history, metaphor, allegory.  For the sake of wilderness itself, biodiversity, ecology, change and stasis.  Just a beginning….

Finding Fossils Freewrite

Time blurred.  The sands of the present brought forth a treasure of the past: a shark tooth with once-white enamel now blackened to sheening ebony, filled in by the sands of time.

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Wilderness Boggle – Ashley

freedom

open spaces

wild

yellowstone

mountains

adventure

identity

survival

science

nature

learning

exploring

discovery

plants

animals

elements

stress

vanishing

management

prized

rejuvenation

peace

courage

fear

love

happiness

biodiversity

life

competition

give and take

beyond our limits

pushing

challenging

growing

life goals

breathing

spiritual awareness

awareness

sensory perception