Painted Bluffs – 3/14
The miles dragged one after another, each slowly wrung out of day. My body felt like an engine that couldn’t get into the right gear, paying for yesterday’s mess.
I trudged through Eagle Creek’s fifty fords.
My head felt screwed on backwards. Calculating. Counting miles. Dividing the rest of the trail into days instead of being there in Eagle Creek, splashing from one bank to the next, staring up at the red cliffs, taking in the sea of yellow flowers coating the hillsides.
I sat down on the rocks and took out my maps.
“That’s as far as you’ll go today,” I told myself. “Quit thinking about roads. About tomorrow’s miles. Just be here.”
But it’s hard. Half speed isn’t my way. It’s always been all out or nothing.
When I linger, I want to stop moving all together. I want to sit and stare and never get up. And when I go, I hate stopping. I like feeling the miles melt away.
But there has to be a balance. I can’t push forever. I’ll break myself in these endless canyons and mountains.
But I can’t stop either.
I lay down at my spot on the map, camped under the orange-white cliffs of the Painted Bluffs and stared up in the night. Half the sky glowed with stars, the other half blacked out with stone, balanced and beautiful.