The backcountry Yurt

“Put in the extra work to reap an unknown reward.” The words danced around his head as the man was strapping gear to his bike and body in the early morning. The Nordic Center was setting up for a wedding later in the day, but he had other plans.

Two backcountry yurts were up in the Coconino mountains, where one could either hike or ride a bike to reach them. The man chose the closer of the two, a little under two miles from where he had parked. He had a minimal amount of food, plenty of water and a ratty old sleeping bag that kept bouncing off his leg as he pedaled up the dusty trail and out of sight of the wedding party.

The bike chain broke halfway up the mountain, scattering all of the gear across a golden field. He walks the rest of the way, eventually reaching the yurt by mid-morning. A sign warns him of a bear in the area, and to keep all food locked down tight. There is no other sound around.

It’s a place where one can try and put to rest the stressful demons of modern day life. Chopping wood for warmth, as the yurt itself only has a small wood burning stove to keep him somewhat comfortable at night, as the temperatures will easily drop to below freezing. Rationing water, the most precious of commodities out in the wild. He eats when hunger calls, sleeps when his body is tried. Out here, you don’t follow a clock, at least not one made by man.

Wandering, wandering into the lonely forest, looking for the bear that is ravaging these woods for a last great meal before the long hibernation of winter. The bugling of nearby elk fills the air.

Night comes, as it inevitably always does, and the stars fill the night sky in a sparkly brilliance.

The man remembers that the light from the stars above is older than anyone can truly imagine, and that the stars above are now dead, and he only is seeing the memory of their wonder in the universe. He likes to imagine that the light his own body is emanating may be seen in another corner of the galaxy, at some point in the vastness of time.