Tag Archives: Hiking

Burning Bear

There is a tale ancient as the mountains. About a bear whose coat was the color of flames.

They say he was bigger than boulders. Claws like a set of hunting knives. Eyes blacker than night.

He roamed the ridges and valleys. And bathed in roaring rivers. Gorging on elderberry and napping amongst the clovers.

Many passed along this whisper through the years. The colorful bear became a legend and a mystery tucked in the fleeting sounds and scents of the forest.

But as with anything unfortunate, not too long ago, a group of local men stumbled on him whilst he napped in a grove. They stared in disbelief at the strange reality brought from the depths of their childhood memories.

The bear’s coat was a furious color. Startling and mesmerizing.

Stepping quickly back to town, they told everyone about the animal. About how the fable became a truth. Dollar signs floated in their heads and plans were vigorously set.

Burning Bear. The name for the sublime creature, crawling on everyone’s tongue. Itching at the skin for their own pleasantries to dawn. A prize to be won.

The men began slowly scouting the forest soon after. Careful with every step and breathe. Wading rivers and wandering through the trees. Full of hope. And greed.

Every so often the would become alarmed. Spotting a dot of orange and yellow not to far. Tracing the path, they would only find fields of flowers so intricately designed. But their eyes never appreciated the fields as they would immediately be perturbed. Annoyed that such splendor was in the way and wasting time in getting what they were due.

But one day, they were sure they had him. Streaks of his coat danced furiously through the forest, leaving glints of color in its wake. Smiling at one another, they readied their bows for Burning Bear was headed right towards them.

Confidence soon turned whey they realized their mistake. It was not the bear but actual fire that had charged them and desired to keep them at bay.

Cries rang out as they turned back for the town. How foolish had they been? How had they missed the dying grey mist that followed the disjointed edges of color? How had they missed the smell of death and the swelter and the smolder?

To their dismay, they found their own path cut short. Escape was not an option as they were surrounded. Feelings of dread and the engorgement of fear. They huddled together and dropped to their knees. Begging in prayer.

A great crash suddenly blossomed in their ears as they looked up and over to find a stack of trees laid just above the ruthless tips of the flames. Thinking it their second chance, they clambered onto the logs, running full speed with no stops.

Halfway across the auspicious bridge, they all noticed an unmistakable outline. Each of the men aghast at what they had seen and what it could only mean.

But upon reaching the end, clear of all smoke and flame, they were saddened to not even glimpse upon their protector. The timely beast had already made his way out, blending with the flames. It dare not wait for its foes, even those it had just saved.

The men gleefully spread this story of an unexpected redemption. And the humor of their salvation.

Though many found it hard to believe, there were many still who swallowed every word. And like a seed, it was planted in their memories. Blossoming in dreams and shaping their beings.

And, like me, one day they hope to thank and see the Burning Bear and his coat twisted in beauty and mystery.

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TABEGAUCHE

Soft peaks and rolling hills.
Sand shaped by the wind.
Undulating and smooth.
Desert valleys begin.

Cracked earth and
jagged white rock
leading to ridges
and flat tops.

This land is alien
and forever empty.
Void of all movement
no living thing to see.

Though it is strange,
there is a sullen beauty.
A digestion of the unknown
and the wonder that fills me.

ELDORADO

The water bade me follow.
It’s path winding and deep.
Every canyon, every hollow.
Never will it find defeat.

Curling its white tips,
it rushes with fury,
hitting the boulderous stones,
crushing them without even stirring.

So deceitful in its calming,
clear surface,
knowing the violence roaring underneath.
I linger a little while longer,
hoping for mercy,
as I bade near for a drink.

THIS MORNING

Was it truly just
this morning
that I ran through the forest?

Over the peak
and
into the gulch,
light’s growing glow,
my cadence
slow.

Trees whisper,
cool winds linger,
my body,
like a feather,
swiftly carving
through the air.

But my mind,
like a dream,
wonders
about the adventure
and the beauty
that is continually
there.

ASHES

When I die,
don’t bury my body deep
with no living thing to see.

Take my ashes
and scatter them wide
across the mountaintops
and canyons
of the Divide.

Where I found my peace
in the solemn beauty
amidst the pines
and roaring creeks
of nature’s glory.

RENDEZVOU

The fly crawled around the lantern. It’s furry, thin legs sticking to the thick plastic, marching with the slow cadence of the light’s hum. A dark shadow bloomed on the tent’s walls, chasing the fly’s short path.

Stephen lay silently on his mat, watching the insect move around. It had almost become a nightly activity with an occasional moth or mosquito joining the quiet march.

He took a peak at his watch and met it with a loud sigh. Not even eight yet. Another long night to look forward to. The fifth in a row in this rolling wilderness.

He couldn’t deny that he was starting to doubt the plan. Jill had begun to fear that they were discovered back in the city. Too many shadows and apprehensive stares were finding them. Then best thing to do was split. It was the best chance of survival.

That was Jill. Always thinking about the end. Stephen tried to convince her otherwise; they were so close to the goal. Two more days and they could have sacked him. But she was firm. They would meet again after the heat cooled. Give it a week, she said. Just a week.

And so he took the first flight to Washington and drove out to the Pasayten wilderness. The first day he spent analyzing supplies and packing up. Soon he was deep into the forest, finding his favorite spot. Stephen took laying low seriously. No contact with anyone and leaving no variables to chance. He controlled everything, even down to drinking water.

Stephen kicked off his light and began to settle in. It may be lonely, but at least it was peaceful.

A pattern of footwork began to become prominent through the night air. Stephen froze, listening closely to the sound. Likely it was just group of backpackers that had made their way off the trail. There was no chance he could be traced here.

Silence followed as the unknown visitor paused just outside the tent.

“Can I help you?” Stephen called out, unsure of what the visitor might want.

The visitor gave no reply but what Stephen couldn’t mistake was the click of the safety sliding out of position. His chest tightened as he flung himself towards his bag and pulled out his gun.

He had barely just flattened himself on the floor as a barrel of bullets began pummeling thought the tent’s walls.

WARM DAYS

Warm days

floating on breezes.

The swift sway

of daffodils on the slopes.

 

Sunlight dazzling

in vivid white and yellow.

It illuminates daylight stars

dancing on the water,

sparkling the ripples

in spite of the stilled surface.

 

Drifting to sleep

are lazy dogs,

comforted by

the soft, cool dirt beneath them.

 

Birds are many,

flitting about,

chirping and tapping,

singing beautiful sounds.

 

The lumbering pines

soak the world in their deep scent

as the aspens let their leaves unroll,

priding a glossy green tint.

 

Clouds are absent

from the deep blue that

paints the sky above.

 

In an awed stupor we stand.

Just watching the amazing life

revealed before us.

 

To the mountain’s cratered edge

we’ve climbed.

Looking for only peace,

it is nature’s purity that we find.