Day 7: Rest (7-28-12)

I am often surprised at my own ability to just sit quietly, to soak in the sun, the reflections off the water and granite, the only noises of cascades and birds and wind. The sun had crested the ridge above camp, and I was awakened to a twinkling on the walls of the tent. I stretched and groaned, rested my head on my pillow for five more minutes before unzipping the door. I stared up into the branches of the pines and rubbed my eyes to ensure I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing. A gentle breeze riffled the surface of the lake, and all the trees held the twinkling lights reflected in the morning sun. The trunks and branches sparkled as if wrapped in Christmas strands. I perched on my cooking rocks and stared as I slowly boiled water for coffee and breakfast, fastened duct tape around my injured fishing pole, organized my tackle box.

Along the southeastern shore of Tamarack Lake, shallow slab extends fifty feet out into the water, never more than a foot deep. Small trout dart back and forth in the shallows, occasionally cracking the surface with their mouths or tails. My knees tucked into my chest, I absently filed my nails and squinted up to the spires towering to the north. What a magnificent day! In the warmth, I strolled into the lake and dunked my head before sprawling on the rocks and slathering sunscreen everywhere. My journal in hand, I scribbled an endless stream of random consciousness onto the pages. “What a wonderful thing to have a day of no priorities! No rush to pack; no last-minute glances on the map; no worries about starting late in the heat. How am I going to eat all this food???”

In the back of my mind, I could hear the echoes of my peak-bagging friends: “But what of Triple Divide Peak or Lion Rock? You’ve come all this way! They’re right there.”

I was purely and thoroughly content to sit still.

Have you ever taken the time to lie in the cradle of a sun-warmed boulder? Allowed its warmth to permeate you, even the hair on your head? How fast can you feel yourself melting into the granite, cares and concerns fading as you close your eyes? Birds might think you part of the stone and venture close. The breeze feels chilly compared to the rock. The textures soften, the curves fit my own as I sigh and start to dream.

The buck appeared first in the mid-afternoon, creeping up from the outlet and narrowly circling my camp. His antlers covered in velveteen, he circled and searched out my spots for peeing, pawed the ground in an effort to feed on the salt, I presumed. He played briefly with a female nearby, but was rebuffed in a crash of branches and rocks. He’s brave: I chased him off twice to keep him away from camp, as I tried to avoid getting kicked.

Sunset burned the high peaks once again as I finished my tea. I think the rest day helped, although I yawned through dinner and was happy to clean up my camp and head to the tent for bed. I know tomorrow’s climb to Elizabeth Pass is daunting, but I am looking forward to both the challenge and a new strategy for getting up the hill. As I shut my eyes, I could still hear the buck nosing around the trees, and I envisioned grand corridors of pressed, perfect, granite canyons beyond the spires above me.


One Response to “Day 7: Rest (7-28-12)”

  1. The photos is beautiful. I love the way you write. I feel like I’m right there experiencing the trip with you.

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