Thursday, June 13, 2013

Red Walls And Babbling Brooks

The last of the snow had melted and it was spring green. So it begins. Our first camping trip of the summer.

Three weeks ago, C and I explored new territory in our Great Plains state. We've covered a lot of ground over the years, but the map always offers one more blue dotted line we've yet to follow.

A tiny, dusty railroad town, where horses roam freely, led the way to mountains and canyons the color of cinnamon. On the dirt road we climbed higher and higher, and with every turn, all I kept saying was 'wow'. The landscape looked untouched and still, yet thriving with wildlife and wildflowers and sweet sage. Antelope with their big brown eyes were everywhere. They grazed together in groups, unafraid. Bucks sparring and playing along the side of the road or sitting alone like statues in the prairie grasses.

Next to a clear running creek, under a canopy of spruce, we pitched our tent. We toasted with cranberry juice and laced up our hiking boots without saying a word. We've been through this ritual a hundred times before, just in a different time, a different place.

We hiked along an animal trail that eventually followed a stream. The water was flowing steady and sparkling except for one stagnant pool that we came upon. In it was a brook trout. Stranded. We looked at each other, then in both directions of the creek. You must save the fish.

It's not the first time C has come to the rescue of a fish, or an animal or a human. In time of need, he's always there. Like my father says, it's his nature, to save things.

C uses his Tshirt as a net and scoops the little guy up, runs like a deer downstream and within a few seconds the brookie is revived in a deep and swiftly running part of the stream. We smile and cheer as we watch him swim away.

As the sun goes down we head back to camp. We spot five elk making their way up the mountain, in all their strength and graceful strides, they disappear like that, up and over the other side.

We've got the small campground to ourselves, except for a pair of red tail hawks that are doing some tree hopping and squawking. It looks as if they're trying out the view from the tallest spruce trees. Or maybe testing which one would make the sturdier nest. Whatever they are doing, the communication between them is back and forth, vocal and persistent. They soar and land and cock their heads. We crane our necks and squint and smile.


I'm going to make a suggestion here. Before you take off on a long dirt road to your camping destination, grab a coffee to go from Starbucks or wherever you like to get your 'road joe'. Just make sure you take a cup of something on your trip. Otherwise, you might get to camp, and find out you've forgotten to pack your blue enamel camp cup. This paper cup that held your dark roast this morning will serve as your every beverage cup for the remainder of the trip. You can use it multiple times (fingers crossed). I used this cup for lots of cranberry juice, water, hot tea x 4, and two cups of coffee with honey. That last hot beverage, before we left camp the next day, I had to drink quickly, as the paper was starting to leak a little and the cup turned into a soggy wad in my hand.




  1. ohhhhh
    love love love this!!!!

    oh sister
    feeling the goodness here deeply

    thanks for this beautiful post

    love and light

  2. This sounds and looks like it was such an amazing time. You really do capture some amazing moments both in your photos and in your words!! I so wannt travel out west someday and visit all these amazing areas!!

  3. sounds like a wonderful trip through some beautiful country! I haven't been camping in a while and am feeling a little restless about it. we are headed back up to maine next weekend for a brief visit for business and a little fun, so I can't wait for that!!!
    I always love reading about your adventures...

  4. oh how fun, and this is just the beginning...I wonder about that little fish...I bet he did not think that he was going to be rescued : ) How lucky to have had that paper reminded me of when I was in school...weekend hiking always started with a giant cup of coffee and two donuts (so weird) but my girlfriend and I loved

  5. Nice photo and Very interesting posts. Thank for so much. I love it very much and will recommend it to all of my friend. I would also like to invite you to visit my blog at and share all the baby thing with you.

  6. ahh, my red dirt girl....i'm going to "pretend-camp" this weekend and start out with a paper cup of chai, saving the cup just to see how long of a life it has. i think i shall camp out in my bookshed, and hang prayer flags from trees, and just meditate in all the goodness around me. and pretend that you are right there next to me....

    loving you lots.

  7. Amazing - I would have been in heaven here. And I'm so glad you had that paper cup! :) Wonderful - re-re-re-recycling.

  8. Hi-ya. Nice to meet you. I hiked over here from Optimistic Existentialist's blog, and I'm glad I did. Your photos are wonderful. They, in themselves, tell a story, and then you add your words to complete the tale. I'm looking forward to seeing more beauty from your part of the country through your eyes and camera lens. As Schwartzeneggar said, "I'll be Bach." Count me in as your newest groupie.