I work in the forest everyday, but this wasn't typical country. I was up over 10,000 feet and very near treeline. Gamble Oak ceased to be the main vegetation cover and more and more fir's lined the road. It was cool and the wind was blowing a fierce storm towards the peaks. I had made a couple stops when I explored around a spring some. I knew I was close to the point I needed to find, but I couldn't see it anywhere. During said search I didn't feel like I was at work at all. I wandered silently along a cow trail and spied a deer, I wasn't obtrusive in any way and even though it's bow season she didn't give a care. I came upon a meadow, the grass was still wet with morning dew and it was wonderfully quiet. Quiet in the way lonely mountains are. There was no incessant babbling, no clomp of others footsteps, no roar of an engine. There was just me in this calm and serene place, the only sound coming from the whispering of the wind through the quakies. It did wonders for my soul!
I continued to climb into avalanche territory, which is just phenomenal to me. There were several hunting camps along the way but the feel was just different. The weather played a big role in this as well. There's something fantastic about the calm before the storm. The last place I checked was another meadow sloping down into a spring. If I didn't turn around and look at the bald peak behind me I could almost imagine I was back home. Walking around in country as familiar to me as any. It was beautiful and the grass, oh the grass! Who knew so much grass could grow in the South West?!
As I headed to my next point I came across a rancher on a big buckskin paint, his little Border Collie Pug right behind him. I'd only met him once before but we had a nice chat, we left each other with well wishes and a hope of staying dry. Less than 10 minutes later it started to sprinkle, followed by flashes of lightning. I headed back to my pickup with no wish of being struck. My next route was a rough one, barely good enough to drive a pickup. By the time I arrived the rain was coming down in torrents. With my windows up the thunder still crashed with incredible sound. I've never been that close to the sky when it broke open. A part of me wished I didn't have such great cover, that I was out in the open and could really watch the show above. It was magnificent and with wipers on high I reluctantly turned around and left. I didn't feel confident enough to try and risk the road that appeared to be little more than a trail in such a storm. I can't wait to go back and finish. Next time though I hope to check the last section a horseback. To be able to ride in country such as that is a dream.