Screamin’ Great

Enough was enough: I pulled my backpack off the door and hit the trail.

The hike all the way up a certain canyon almost within sight of where we live is three or four miles one way, who knows. Takes me 90 minutes on the first leg, and the climb is mostly gradual. That was three and a half hours total today, counting a detour two-thirds of the way up an enticing side canyon. The main trail eventually ends up in a grassy meadow high atop a ridge. I took my pulse halfway to the top: about 120-126 beats per minute. it was almost that high coming down. Over three hours at that steady accelerated rate has got to burn some fat. When I got back, I looked 10 years younger. If I did this three times a week, I could leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Trees and sky not far from the summit

The side canyon was amazing. The signs of heavy water flow in wetter times are everywhere in this landscape, if you know how to read the rocks. Just look at how eons of running water must have cut a channel through the outcropping in the picture below. And then look more closely for something I only saw myself after I came home and looked at the images! Unbelievable, but this is what you may discover if you hike intuitively and give yourself over to whatever’s there to guide you (if you’re seeing nothing, relax your gaze and look again). I’m convinced that there is great non-verbal intelligence and information in undamaged natural landscape, and that it THUNDERS in a frequency most of us never get to hear. That’s why we have to leave what’s left the hell alone, so we can have the Goddess back. It ought to all stop now: not one more acre of this sacred globe. That’s it, enough.

Canyon portal

i found that without looking for it. That’s generally how I move along a trail or off of it. If something pulls me to one side, I take the time and go exploring. Side canyons are hardly ever visited, no footprints in the sand, and that alone is priceless. These places usually lead somewhere, either to the top of a ridge or through it, where you might find a mysterious new vista. Walking through wild country where I’ve never been before, especially where no one else has obviously ventured or made a mark (debatable, of course) is one of the greatest thrills I know. I’m totally engaged when I do this, in a state of raging excitement with great concentration on my surroundings. Doing it alone is also very special.

And speaking of Earth mothers, rejoined kingdoms, compassion and such, the most surprising thing about this walk was WATER. Because of a winter with more historically “normal” snow, I found myself hiking alongside a running stream for at least one-third of the way. What a difference from the last time I was up there, and how poignant at the same time. Now the grove of dead cottonwoods halfway up the canyon made some sense, likewise the isolated patch of wild plum trees. There once had been a great deal more water up here. Even now, there was quite a lot: I had to splash through several small flooded meadows that could best be described as grassy swamps.

The gift of life for all who dwell here

It was very quiet everywhere I went, and I never encountered another soul. Several times I did hear the thumpety-clack of large animals I couldn’t see moving farther away as I went by.

Higher up the mountain, I saw elk tracks in the mud.

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John Hamilton Farr lives at 7,000 feet in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore tells it, John is “a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” This JHFARR.COM site is the master writing archive. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page. For a complete list of all John’s writing, photography, NFTs, and social media links, please visit JHFARR.ART  

  • carolfrombatonrouge May 14, 2007, 7:23 AM

    I see it/him/her…….
    I was in dire need for a water/woods fix myself.
    So, we went to our camp and I passionately explored the creek bed for miles… quite, yet so alive with sounds, smells and the wonderful feeling of running water on my feet. And sand and rocks on my hands, while looking for arrowheads or what ever else passed through my fingers. Nature is the only thing that soothes my civilization-overloaded soul.

  • John H. Farr May 14, 2007, 6:24 PM

    Sounds like a great place to be. An actual creek is an ever rarer thing. If only we still considered creeks and springs to be holy places the way our ancestors did, the world would be quite different.

  • tom tynan May 14, 2007, 9:49 PM

    I see them – two ancient panthers guarding or growling over the stream. i am with your sense on the walkabout – go with the energy that takes you – you will always be rewarded.


  • carolfrombatonrouge May 15, 2007, 7:11 AM

    Tom, I see the panthers…..but that’s not what I saw first. The rock wall on the right side looks like a left-side view of a noble man’s face.
    Okay John, what did you see??

  • John H. Farr May 15, 2007, 9:36 AM

    Hah! Well, I didn’t see any panthers, but the big face on the right side. And now I’ll have to take another look. 🙂

    Actually, there are more figures, facial profiles, on the LEFT side of the cut in the rocks. Smaller ones, looking over at the big one on the right.

  • Carmel May 15, 2007, 6:34 PM

    I see rocks. That’s enough.

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