“Am I the only one born out of time, out of place? Or is the mystery deeper? Is each of us secretly adrift? And if so, are we all not explorers?”
William Sullivan “Listening for Coyote”
A couple years ago I began The PCT. A walk that would’ve taken me 2650 miles from Mexico to Canada . Coming down Glenn Pass in the Sierras I had a postholing incident that took me off the trail. I came back a couple weeks later to continue on. 50 miles later I could barely get off the ground. I had 5 bulging discs, tears, herniations and a whacked SI joint. I was grounded.
I decided to follow my friends via my vehicle. I gave them rides to towns and support in anyway I could. After they reached Canada and I gave them rides home I continued on. I found myself exploring and adventuring into Eastern Oregon, Montana and Wyoming. A dream I had while cowboy camping changed my life forever.
A coyote wandered into my camp. I was in my tent that night, which wasn’t my norm, but I was feeling a little uncertain for some reason. I was camped alongside a river. It was misty. It was cold. I felt like I was dreaming before I even fell asleep. I awoke, in my dream to an animal outside my tent. I had the flap open and I could see it was coyote(or perhaps wolf) . I had always had a fascination with these two animals so I was quite excited it had come to visit me in my dream. I put my hand out to pet it. My arm was grabbed by its ferocious teeth and it started shaking me. Back and forth. Back and forth. I was screaming. Blood was pouring out of my arm. That which I thought was friend, had come to hurt me. I awoken from the dream. Shaken to the core.
The next day I gave deep thought to the meaning of my dream. I wandered about just pondering, trying to figure out the message. I realized that coyote/wolf was trying to get me to wake up. I was walking around. I was living day to day. But I wasn’t living. Coyote/wolf became my teacher. That day, colors were brighter, winds spoke to me and birds sang. The rivers flow filled me with acceptance. The mountains shared their strength and their knowledge with me. It was then I discovered my true home, my natural teachers. Tears fell like rain to the earth as i felt like I was seeing life for the first time.
Since that dream life has been an amazing journey of epic proportions. I moved out of my “home” on the west side of town. It is a beautiful house, in a beautiful neighborhood, but I couldn’t call it home anymore. It wasn’t home anymore. It was a place full of memories. I have lived in an RV on and off for 2 years with my boyfriend. There are times when I wander back to the town of my birth to visit friends, see family, smell the ocean air. But then I always end up back to the simple life.
We have explored California,Nevada, Arizona and Southern Utah. We have climbed peaks and watched the sunrise from those very peaks. We have self supported a kayak trip along a section of the Colorado River. The mountain biking in Moab was beyond sensational. We supported each other in a bike/jeep adventure along the 105 miles of the White Rim Trail. I had never hiked down into the Grand Canyon, so we spent two days doing that. Down the Brightside Trail and up the grueling Kaibab trail. We have mostly boondocked. There are places all over the Western US where one can camp for free. Whether it is BLM land, National Forest Land, or State Trust land… we camped in it all. It was spectacular. It was living simply. It was and is a dream.
We lived for a number of months in Hope Valley on the Eastern Slope of the Sierras. It was so special. Coyotes call at night. Sunshine waking us every morning. We lived and breathed as the days commanded. We were and are natures children. As the sun rises, so do we. As the sunsets and our campfire is raging…we give our thanks to the Great Spirit, let the fire die and fall asleep. We mountain biked as often as we could, exploring all the nooks and crannies of the region. While Michael worked I explored. Running and hiking the multiple trails in and around Tahoe . We kayaked multiple lakes including Lake Tahoe.
Winter sent us to Arizona. I had just attempted twice to hike the Arizona Trail. For some reason it took me down both attempts. I didn’t have it in me. Dehydration getting the better of me. The trail really demands focus. My mind on both attempts was elsewhere. I wasn’t smart out there. I didn’t heed natures calls for some reason and I got sick. When we located ourselves in Arizona I rebelled. The desert just wasn’t the mountains. While I enjoyed trying to adapt, trying to inhale its gifts, it just wasn’t enough.
There is so much to see in this world. There is so much to experience and feel . There is so much more than the 9-5 existence. Material possessions don’t mean what they used to. I gave away so much of that which I at one time thought I truly needed.
Nature has taught me in ways books never could. I have learned the truth of impermanence. Nature has showed me that things change and come back often times better than they were before. I have learned that things happen. Life gets tough. Cancer happens. My children will grow up. They will get married and have children. Family members get sick and pass on. My body will hurt. My heart will cry at the injustices of the world. But life goes on. It’s my choice how I decide to live. I chose joy. I have chosen to learn from the past but not to carry it with me anymore.
It has been a dream.
“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” Thoreau
I dig the journey. I will continue to explore the entirety of my life. It is after all one grand adventure. Is it not?
Walking on with so much love in my heart….