It started while doing something else. Another hike. Through the burn. The giant, blackened burn. “Where does that road go?” We try it in the Jetta. Doable, but far more interesting via bike. Plans for Saturday change from the known to the unknown. Up at 5AM. Get my head right. Pickup the other victim then head north through Los Alamos and into the wilds. Park, unload, stock up, lock down and stroke that pedal for the first time.
Suddenly, there she sits. On the hilltop, abandoned. In the shadow of fire. The road pitches up, straight up. Loose and rocky. Unclipped but daring here and there. Then the walk with the bike. We toss them aside and continue on foot. Looking back down the mountain my light glows like reflection off glass. Eyes narrow to eliminate the intensity. Honed. Focused. You can see to the end of the Earth.
The elements are in control here. Wind, rain, lightning. Always over your shoulder, sometimes friendly other times not. The climb back is a climb, but time to talk. Guys on quads. A woman alone with her dog. She strikes out for the top after probing us for the essentials. The filter of being a woman alone in the wilderness isn’t lost. I’m in awe of her.
“I feel fine,” I think as we draw close to the vehicle. But walking around after I can feel the drain. Tomorrow is a big day. Must conserve. Take it all in one last time. Never know when it could all go away. Rain begins to fall.