Sunday, October 29, 2006

In an earnest attempt to get to a little round lake on the lee of Thousand Lakes Mountain, we came into direct contact with the affects of a recent rain and snowstorm in the desert.
Trundling around in a search for a road we knew went to the lake, we found gullies and ruts where there were none in any previous trip. Finally, and quite predictably, a gullied wash faced our little transport. We knew we were foiled without at least an hour's work with shovels we didn't have, so we turned around and revised our plans.
With red rock and high desert all around feeding our senses with ripe-peach like gulps, we decided to follow a track neither of us had traveled the length of. With shadows still long and the light still full of the morning, we talked of politics and beauty, tyranny and hope until we saw an odd set of tracks heading off to the side of the road.
"What's up with that?" was the nonchalant and collective query. We drove on fair oblivious. That's not really new, though.
When faced with another ten-foot tall gully, the reason for the tracks clicked. Backing up, we again realized that we might be on another of our fool's errands, but it sure was great to be out.
After gingerly following the short sidetrack to its terminus at the other side of the hazard, we drove on, watching for signs of detour. Consulting the GPS for further clues in contour lines and projected route, I was less-than-delighted to see that the confounded device had dropped the very map that we were about to cross into. Entering blue gridwork signifying 'insufficient information' at the other side of the electronic fount of topography on the display, we had to kick dirt with our boots and scoop with our hands several more times with very little warning past our God-given field of vision. A couple of times we scouted the road past flood washes and debris fields, perhaps just as it ought to be when out exploring the beloved desert. Silly electronic crutches, anyhow.
What we saw and touched while on the way back to a paved highway brought joy to the hearts of the travelers. We ambled the thirty miles at a leisurely pace, vagabonds for beauty every step of the way, though near the end we knew that the whole thing had taken much more time than our dear wives back home had budgeted. I'm sure payment in full will be extracted in due time from our repentant, though for short while, fulfilled hearts.

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