When we acknowedge the wild beauty of God, we begin to glimpse the potential holiness of our neglected wilderness. As humans ,citizens and believers we have become domesticated beyond belief . We have fallen out of rhythm with our natural wildness . What we now call ‘being wild’ is often misshapen , destructive and violent.The natural wildness as the fluency of the soul at one with beauty is foreign to us. The call of the wild is a call to the elemental levels of the soul , the places of intution , kinship, swiftness , fluency and the consolation of the lonesome that is not lonely .
John O’Donohue. ‘Divine Beauty’
Well i know that I maybe getting a little ‘clingy’ to the trail right now , but i also know the trail is not a romantic dreamer , and if im to cover this last thirty mile to Beldon im going to have to do some walking today.
Its solstice today . The day is resonante with this fact . Slow power seeps from dawn and i bow in gratitude towards the Sun .
The moments i spend with the woodpecker shooting video footage this morning are a true joy . Im knee high in a wash of golden fiery headed flowers . The day is just begining and Im already smiling from ear to ear .
I continue on , along the ridge . The larvic rocks conjuring up shapes and images . They fall inside my active imagination and bubble within the cauldron of insperation. I stop repeatedly just to look again at ‘The Rockery of the Gods’ .
Im chatting to Dad on the phone . Its special , solstice , fathers day and full moon all at this time . It offers me lots of reflection . I enjoy musing and walking. I tell my folks all about the Deer i saw last night , im practicaly bouncing . I realise my enthusiasm ,and I love sharing this wonderful place . Technology is pretty good sometimes .
I bounce into a northbounder called ‘rainbow’ . I chat a while , but i can see he wants to push on . I forget , i have no agenda . As he is walking away , i see a spider web high in the trees flickering rainbow colours over the forest path . I wonder if all hikers notice these little details . Now im slowing down , maybe im also opening up.
This is a special day !
I know , i know , i know . ‘Everyday is special’ but today somehow has been highlighted and underlined .
Time after time i stop and be . I start to drop down into a creek . Id like to stop at ‘cold creek’ for lunch , maybe get the solar panel out and take off my shoes for a while . … Ive been sat at the creek about half an hour and am finished with my green tea and enjoying a little light kindle reading when im startled from my chilling-outed-ness .
Im visited by no less than seven horses all with riders dressed in authentic blue coat costume and brandishing sabers , pistols , flags and cigars . They ask me if i have seen and “rebels or hostiles” , i briefly contemplate turning myself in as i am possibly guilty on both counts .
They water the horses give me genuine smoked meats and dried peaches , done the old way , and i smile really really deep inside . People are so amazing !
I stop on the track , as afternoon comes , i talk to ‘Diesel shack’ and ‘Brownie and Dizzy’ who all enjoyed stoping to talk , we throw storys of the path at one another in a well polished way . These dialogues between hikers have become such a pleasure . The sense of community that I feel when im talking to other hikers is a great treasure . In our modern ‘communities’ we have less and less purpose to talk about shared issues . Farmers talk about weather , hikers talk about trails , what does the local community dialogue about ? Without this depth of shared purpose our local villages have disolved and dispanded .Without common ground and natural issues to unify us we have become disparate and long for reunioun with our neighbours .
Later i am in a high field , just doing the last few miles to camp. Im negotiating a pasture that has recently had a lot of snow melt and the soil is wet and boggy. Im trying like ‘crikey Moses ‘ to keep my feet dry and channeling all my focus into this , when i look up im aware of a big (should i say huge) furry shape in the middle of the field .The big brown furry shape pauses momentarily looks up from its snuffeling and gives me the once over . Im absoloutly no threat at all. Bear goes back to his snuffling. In this moment i feel both out of place and complete .
I try with shaky hands to catch a photo and video . There is a huge respect in me at this moment . I know this is not my place , its his . I slowly walk backwards . Adrenalin is flushing through me , my heart beats hard as i look at my options , should i try to go around him , should i sneak back for another photo , should i just sit here and wait it out ?
I finaly decide on the text book aproach which is to make a whole lot of noise . Banging my hiking poles together i shout in my best highland accent “Buggr orffff!!” Then ,slowly walk back to the path . He has gone . I miss him already .
That was my last full day on the PCT.
Im making my dinner at camp , looking back on it , its possibly the most amazing day on record , but over the past three months , i seem to have had an awful lot of those .