Hiking in the mountains this week, I had the trail all to myself in the pre-dawn and for about an hour or so. I was hiking along, hopeful that I’d see the bull elk I’d heard frequented a certain meadow.
I love to hike in the mountains because it smells so fresh after a rain, all earth and pine. I love the way the squirrels chitter at me, scolding me for coming into their territory, tails flipping in staccato beat.
I love the bird song and especially the buzz of hummingbirds heading off to some vibrant Indian Paintbrush for a bit of nectar. I love the deep shade of trees and the chill that makes me dig out my glove liners to keep the chill from my fingers. I love the glimpse of the mountain vista that I know I’ll see clearly when I come to the tops of ridges.
I get lost in my thoughts, in prayer, in the wonder of creation.
CUE: cyclist on a death run.
Ripped out of my contemplation, I often don’t even hear them behind me. The ones that have little tingling bells are better. But this guy came ripping around a corner and if I hadn’t jumped up the hill, he’d have run right into me. I had many choice words, none of which were uttered as he flew past me. I heard the slide of gravel and a “Sorry bud,” a few moments later and around the next switchback there was another cyclist who’d been coming up the hill and had been forced off the trail by that same guy. Bud indeed!
It’s just like hikers who can’t be troubled to leash their dogs. Or people who carve their name into trees. Or those pesky litter bugs. They ruin it for everyone else.