J. D. Morehouse
I needed sun on my skin for just a little while, or if not sun, then at least daytime heat. Imagine my surprise to learn that it's as easy as saying, "David I need to be off Wednesday at 2:30." I'd forgotten how to do that! The weather was uncommonly mild and there was a beautiful short hike at Pine Creek to be taken.
One starts out in the desert, but climbs a little into a pine forest environment. There are extremely high mountain faces in almost every direction. The entire hike is peppered with the oddest rocks - colors that rocks don't usually sport, patterns that rocks don't usually come in and shapes that put one's head to the test. Hidden deep in among rock formations, off the well-beaten path and through some shrubs and undergrowth . . . . . is a small, deep lovely pool that is fed year-round by the tiniest waterfall. I've hiked there in the summer when getting there was terribly hot, but being there was wonderfully cool. In the spring, little frogs swim across the surface of the water. One winter, as the Badger and I hiked from Pine Creek pool back to the car, my hands got so cold carrying his tripod that I cried (One of only three times ever that the desert wildnerness has reduced me to tears. Two of the three times had to do with being nearly frozen.).
Although living in Las Vegas is not pleasing, living in Las Vegas does put one on the threshold of a large number of beautiful, natural places. We have innumerable good hikes nearby and a dozen camping places within a couple of hours of the city that we've visited frequently enough to know very well. The Badger has shot pictures of many of these locations for years, through most every season except high summer. I love to give the words to stories. So I'm going to blog a little about our desert southwest in the near future.
For the bulk of my life, I thought "outside" was where one parked the car. I did spend many years bobbing around the world's oceans on my stepfather's sportfishing boat, so I know a lot about ocean environments. That was easy - a chef and four staterooms on board. Now I know about the desert. That's not easy. No part of it. It is harsh in every way. It is beautiful in a way that nothing else is. I was introduced to it at a mature age, when I had developed pretty good powers of observation. I learned about it quickly and deeply. I sport body art that glorifies the desert.
So, Wednesday's hike: it stung to find out that Pine Creek Pool is dry. However, we walked on a bit farther and I found a tiny pond. The Badger was able to photograph some beautiful foliage I pointed out. I'd assumed my favorite position (nose down at the ground, rear end in the air) and was peering into the water. It began to roil . . . what the heezy? Tadpoles! A bazillion of them! And once we'd spotted the tadpoles, the Badger pointed out a few miniscule frogs hopping on the leaves - the tadpoles who'd already sprouted legs, obviously. We lost count of the lizards we spotted. Hiking back to the car, I remarked that the Badger had snapped more pictures than he sometimes does in an entire weekend. The clouds rolled in overhead and he said, "We're getting dripped on." Yep, we were. "Is my new camera getting wet?" "Not much." Hiked on . . . "That's rain!" Yep. He took off his baseball cap and put it on the camera. It did a pretty credible job of protecting that fine instrument, until it blew away during the very last dash to the car.
I was reminded that any time spent outside in the beauty of the desert will fill me up. I may not see the old familiar things I went out there to see, but I will see new and beautiful things. I have the confidence and freedom to say, "Badger, that little vista pleases me. Can you aim your camera and do something with it?" He usually will do so. Sometimes these shots are not up to his sense of fine photography or he'll comment that the light's not right or he can't get in close enough or he can't get the whole field . . . . I'm not a photography scientist. I just know what pleases me.
In my ears right now: The sound of VW gacking up food on the carpet again.
Why I like it: I don't! I buy really fine cat food and she sees the veterinarian regularly. Why do they always barf on the carpet and never on the tile? I need to get some home dudes to my place to clean carpet.
Something that charmed me today: Being in my own home on a Sunday morning, seeing how the sun comes through the blinds. I don't get to spend enough time in my home relaxing and peaceful. It's a quirky little place I'm comfortable in. It resembles . . . . me.