May 23, 2011

Above the Clouds

There are those things that make you feel above the clouds, and then there are those opportunities that literally take you above the clouds.

On a May Gray Sunday morning, not quite hung over from a depressing and unfulfilling Saturday night, I was awakened by a text message: "Go on adventure today? Amazing place in mountains."

I replied, "Yes. My hair is dirty and my neck is sunburned. I'm yours."

I couldn't imagine a better way to wake up, after a night of fitful dreams, coming home early feeling old and unwanted and pathetic and hopeless.

An hour later, only 16 hours after having returned from the Carrizo Plain National Monument, I was back in my car, headed back up north, this time into the Angeles National Forest on the Angeles Crest Highway rather than through it on the 5.

We stopped at the Mt. Wilson Observatory, a place I've wanted to visit for at least a year. After we parked the car, we walked out to the precipice of the grounds, and looked down at the clouds. My hiking buddy pointed outwards to the thick carpet of white and said, "LA is down there."

"Somewhere..." I said.

I couldn't quite believe that I'd found such a kindred spirit to take me into the mountains, show me places he loved, and teach me the trails.

I found myself apologizing for being a hiking novice (comparatively), feet accidentally plunging into stream off slippery rocks, even when he'd rearranged them to create a path on which for me to cross.

I didn't take a lot of pictures.

We didn't talk much.

He didn't slow down for me. He didn't ask me how I was. 

But he never left me behind. 

Our heart rates increased together, our breathing became labored together, and when we reached the end of our trail, we sat on rocks together and ate oranges together.

After all the solitude I've sought, and after all the trails I've hiked alone, out of necessity and defeat, I would not have spent my day any other way.

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