It was still fairly early as I leave the Slickrock trail and head for the trailhead to Chesler Park, the hike I came all this way out here for. Bouncing slowly along the dirt road for a spell, I finally find the start of the trail. The silence out here is certainly foreboding. I make sure that I am fully prepared with an abundance of water and gear before getting started. I can feel a snowstorm approaching.

The solitude out here could easily crush one’s soul if not prepared. I felt as though it might get me as well, even though most of my existence has been wrapped in solitary stillness. I see that I can do an 8-10 mile loop through the high desert as long as I keep my wits about me and follow the trail signs and cairns.

I swear I just heard a mountain lion scream in the distance. I pick up the pace, keenly watching the landscape.

Halfway in now and the snow starts to fall. I gauge my distance and think about turning around, but instead I decide to continue onward and hope the snow doesn’t cover the trail. Luckily it was just a squall and quickly moves on.

I come to a cave/fissure and enter to take a break from the cold and get a bite to eat. A single ray of light is shining down into the blackness. An allegory to finding shelter in a storm I suppose, a refuge in a church while madness rages on outside. That is how I feel about Nature and the outdoors in general.

I’m in the final stretch now, only a couple of miles to go. The views as I exit are impressive, each corner I turn holds new wonders and fascination.

There really is nothing like being so alone out in the wilderness, venturing far into the depths of the desert in wintertime, and then emerging from the trail safe, happy and satisfied with one’s accomplishment.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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