Im sitting out by a twisting lazy river , under a pink sky, at the end of another fine day on the trail . I left Kennedy Meadows around lunchtime today . I had a half dozen MnM pancakes for breakfast along with a half litre of chocolate fudge ice cream . Its all about the calories .
I got back from dinner at ‘The Grumpy Bear’ last night to find Wing-it had cruised into town . We talked till dusk and then I made my way off to sleep in the communal Tipi . A nice experience to have , sleeping as a tribe under canvas , except for the sock smells , snoring and general distribution of random flatulance .
So , its 11am and ive double checked my Ice axe and double knotted my shoe laces . Im getting Wing-it to double check my backpack set up and then a quick ‘see you later’ to all the hikers still sat sunning themselves on the deck.
Later the path flows parralel to a small river , and its so refreshing after ghe dryness of the desert. I pass a sign that tells me that im now in Sequoia National Park , and i notice the trees changing . Now im begining to come across plenty of Cedar and smaller Redwoods . I say smaller , small only by comparison with the mighty Redwoods further into West California . They still tower over me .
I walk a few easy miles untill I come to a little wooden bridge that fords the river , as I cross I look down into the fresh bright water and think ‘Why not?’ , so a moment later im stood in my birthday suit in the cool bubbling mountain fresh waters . Ahhhhh ! Pure delight , im splashing and whooping , and feel the cleanest ive been in more than a month .
Shortly , im back on the path , walking through what remains of a fire damaged forest . Hundreds of the trees are black , twisted and scared . Many have fallen and many more are in the process of falling . Quite a few of them have fallen across the path , creating moments of awkward negotiation for me . Some are fun to walk along and others challenge me . After a while i get tired of seeing this as natures asault course and long for the return of my safe straight path . After a further while , you could say im getting T’d off with it .I get a little philosophical to stop from getting angry .
I stub my toe on another protruding log . ‘Awwww!’ Another minor obstacle .
I suppose obstacles can be navigated the way im dealing with them today , one at a time , as they occur on the pathway . But what do I do when the obstacles become so frequent that they begin spoil my experience ? I try to flow with the minor obstacles , but the major ones often need more of my attention .
Often on the pathway its not just trees that hinder my forward progress , its situations or people . An obstacle that occurs once , can be dealt with spontaneously and with positivity , but reoccuring obsatcles bring with them a very diffrent set of emitional responses . Despondency , boredom and sometimes anger can arise when dealing with the same obstacle on multiple occasions . Why ? Why should these situations be any diffrent from any other ? Well , I believe that these emotional responses are born of frustration . They are responses to tell the self that I am not getting an important message . Im missing the lesson . A reoccuring obstacle , is just that , a lesson . And when i deal with it in a poor way i get a poor result .
Ive been loving the pathway today , dont get me wrong ! The Redwoods in the setting sun , vast open spaces that make me stop in my tracks just to laugh out loud , its all a great beauty . Infact i think its this very beauty that supplies the medicene i need to return to the asault course i find myself on today . To return to face again those obstacles I badly negotiated the first time . Knowing that the next time Im up against the fallen trees of this world i can meet the challenges with more presence and positivity.
The sun sets on my camp tonight . The river is running just a few meters away , its quite a magical sound . The river weaves along side these tall pine trees i sleep beneath . A bed of pine needles beneath my mat . The river knows these trees , knows these stones , the river seems to be a wise place to take ones self to rest . It seems to carry my weariness away as it passes . All of the obstacles of the last 588miles seem to be washed away right now .
Whatever obstacle you have been facing , however insurmountable it may be , i recommend taking it to the river , and letting it go , even if its just for a while .