I can see far and wide, near and small. I pass through mature second growth oak/fir forest(second growth because of the annual fires set for a few thousand years by the native americans, but now aging into old growth), young fir replanting at different ages, dry banks and wet dark permanent tree shadow. I can see clear cuts, mature second growth, new replanting, selective cuts, and the tips of a secret BLM patch of gigantic old growth trees. I watch for wildflowers sprouting and blooming. I listen to birds and watch them fly into the west in courtship or soaring thermals. I see where the sun sets each night as it travels across the horizon through the year. At one end stands a lone old growth doug fir with a 8' dbh(I named it Treebeard), at the other end is a long vista through a slot in the repeating hills. I walk in cold, hot, ice, sun, and even rain, and watch weather roll overhead.
I keep a log of miles, if only to imagine when I've walked to Alaska, or Patagonia. Since the fall of 2004 I've walked 1508 miles on this 1/2 mile stretch, worn out two pairs of boots. Barry Lopez sums it up pretty well for me, below.
“Whatever evaluation we finally make of a stretch of land, however, no matter how profound or accurate, we will find it inadequate. The land retains an identity of its own, still deeper and more subtle than we can ever know. Our obligation toward it then becomes simple: to approach with an uncalculating mind, with an attitude of regard. To try to sense the range and variety of its expression--its weather and colors and animals. To intend from the beginning to preserve some of the mystery within it as a kind of wisdom to be experienced, not questioned. And to be alert for its openings, for that moment when something sacred reveals itself within the mundane, and you know
the land knows you are there.”
--Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams, p 204