Incomprehensibly expansive vistas and impossibly vast ridges pale in comparison to a single pine cone. While this week, ending in Reds Meadow, has been easily some of the Pacific Crest Trails most scenic, my focus has been on the micro.

Reds MeadowSoon into my first day I was at 10,000 feet, wide eyed and gaping at one of the most glorious passes I have ever seen. Later that day I had a trail conversation with a photographer, the pictures he took surprised me. Among all the grandeur of granitic cliffs and nearly glaciated streams he showed me pictures of dead trees. To be fair they where not all dead but at least well along on the process. His photos where incredible and admittedly far more interesting than mine. The contrast between our photographs led us to a conversation about ‘capturing’ nature’s beauty through the lense and how the modest trees and shrubs can be as remarkable as anything else out here.

Tuning into the microThe conversation led me to slowly meandering the few miles I had left that day. Every small detail I past intrigued me. I stopped and observed a troop of ants scurrying about on their daily business, contemplated dead trees and inspected just about everything else I would usually glide by unaware, trying to fulfill my 15 miles ad day quota.

Ants at workThankfully this appreciation seems to have stuck. However it is harder to dial into the small joys towards the end of the day, as my attention wanes. Yet the immense detail, color and life in the micro cosmos continue to amaze me. This theme reminded me of a verse by one of my favorite nature poets, Gary Snyder,

One granite ridge
A tree, would be enough
Or even a rock, a small creek,
A bark shred in a pool.
Hill beyond hill, folded and twisted
Tough trees crammed
In thin stone fractures
A huge moon on it all, is too much…

As I continue sharing my journey with you I hope to include the miniscule glories I find along the way. Investigating the rumor of an abandoned hot springs near Reds Meadow is the next item on my agenda.

Until next week, Slug

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