As we hiked this wilderness corridor from Mexico to Canada, we spent about 75% of the time hiking alone and about 25% of the time hiking with small groups or other solitary individuals. The collective energy of the group usually stepped up Stacey's pace. As people engage in talking, they often forget they are hiking. So instead of focusing on what many people feel as going up yet another hill or mountain or pass, they get lost in telling or listening to a story being told. The next thing they know, they are at the top of the mountain.
This is a clue and wake up call to a person on a quest. If one doesn't think negatively about what they are doing, the action becomes easy. The negative thoughts create an internal friction that eventually contracts the muscles. Therefore, positive thoughts, or no thoughts at all allows an individual to engage in the flow of Life and Living.
Along the trail one often comes across abandoned cabins and mines. History is in every object. Everything tells a story if one is inclined to listen. Stories embedded within other stories abound. However, if we become too involved in the old stories, there is little room to create your own unique and personalized tale.
Like flowing along the trail, there are no two spots alike. One finds commonalities, such as repeating species, but they are then found in relationship to differing species or unique terrain. Nothing is the same. Here one finds yet another clue.
If every species is unique due to its differing relationships, then we too are unique and one of a kind. With this knowledge, how could anyone want to be like someone else. If anything, one learns to focus on how we can shine and stand out as someone or something that has never been seen before.
As seen within the Joshua Tree, no two mature things appear the same. Their branching is unique based on their relationships to how beetle insect larvae stimulate growth by destroying leafing buds at certain points of flowering. Therefore, instead of flowering at a particular juncture, the insects stop the flowering process and stimulates additional growth. To most human eyes this is an unseen process. Just imagine all of the factors that molds and changes the earth from moment to moment.
The day before reaching Walker Pass, a large unexpected storm crossed the region. Six hours of solid and very cold rain poured upon the high desert and Sierra Nevada's, testing the long distance trekker yet again. We knew that some hikers had even sent their tents and warmer clothes ahead to Kennedy Meadows. Would and could they survive hypothermia, being unprepared as they were?
Stacey and I had to keep on moving in the rain. With each hour passing we could feel our core temperature diminishing. We pulled up early for the day and set up our tarp and took off all of our clothes and jumped into our sleeping bags to stop shivering. The hikers who lacked their gear, made their way to a nearby cabin where they built a fire. A day hiker to the back-country cabin evacuated two of the chilled hikers to a nearby town for mental and emotional recovery. Its good advice to listen to the Boy Scouts, and to Be Prepared for anything.
At Walker Pass the next day, we dried out every ounce of our gear, and were treated to "Trail Magic" at the passes campground and picnic area. Cold drinks, fresh fruit, and assorted exotic goodies entered our stomachs. New friends were made and stories of trails past were shared. Warnings were even issued through notes left at the trail-head for those hitching into town to avoid certain hotels infested with roaches and entrepreneurs wanting to take advantage of hikers. Extended family truly watches out for one another.
At a small pass just after Mount Jenkins, a trio of events captured our attention. Firstly we noticed an ant hill and how the ants were busy bringing out grains of sand one by one. Then a bouncer ant came out with an ant that was all balled up. He was deposited with the other debris. However, the balled up ant unfolded himself and returned to within the ant hill. The bouncer, five minutes later, then escorted him out again. The banished ant went back inside despite its ejection. This cycle repeated its self at least a dozen times till we had enough of this odd entertainment. What had the ant done to become an outcast? Was I an outcast trying to get back in?
Then moments later a peregrine falcon came speeding within a few feet of our heads following an American Robin. The energy rush and transfer to my being was intense.
Finally, up from the canyon below came flying three colourful balloons attached to a box. It lifted up into the atmosphere being followed by an inquisitive swallow. Up and up they both went beyond sight and recognition.
Was I being chased out and up into the world from the depths of society to find a new home........Were we being kicked out of the nest. These were unique signs that made a lasting impression on my life.