I wonder if there are truly any places in existence where one can completely escape the clutches of humanity. I rode my bike up a mountain yesterday. I have done very little riding during the last three weeks, so I had to stop two or three times before I arrived at the top, in order to spend a few minutes wheezing and trying not to puke. Early season mountain biking always makes me feel like an overweight, arthritic grandmother. I also breathed in some manner of flying creature, which is always an unpleasant ordeal. How in the world, with an entire mountain to fly around on, especially this time of year when the insect population is sparse, does one manage to fly into my mouth? I don't consider my mouth to be overly large. I suppose it is similar to animals getting their lives crushed away on a road. Of all the places a creature could roam, they manage to pick that thin stretch of pavement, and cross at just the wrong time.
Anyhow, after many such wheezings and near-pukings, bug breathings and muscle fatigue-ings, I arrived almost at Squaw Peak. Such a phenomenally PC name, Squaw Peak. Passing through a stretch of meadow/trees, I felt alone. There was a huge rock off the trail, so I laid down on it and pondered the mysteries of the universe for a while. As I lay there, my heart rate steadily slowing, the desire to puke gradually dissipating, I tried to listen to the nature around me. The rushing wind, blowing through the trees. The occasional creature, meandering through the underbrush, crunching across the dead forest floor.
Thank the lord these little guys are far away from roads.
After a while, my ears picked up on a subtle creaking sound. It was the sound of two dry limbs rubbing together in the wind. I wondered if anyone had ever stopped at precisely that spot on a windy day, and sat there long enough to hear that exact sound. As my ears adjusted even more, I began to pick up other noises.
Distant cars. Planes. Gun shots from a rifle range.
I realize that I was by no means in the deep forest, but is it ever really possible to truly escape? I would postulate that there are very few locations where there is absolutely no plane traffic in the heavens above. Even when hiking to a remote location, one still probably follows a man-made trail. It is almost impossible to be truly alone with our thoughts. There are nearly always man-made distractions somewhere in the vicinity.
I need to disconnect. I need a real hiatus.