→Exploring the Burn Area←
I never thought that I’d want to walk through the gray chars of a ravaged forest, but as the Poos and I settled in I became more and more curious. To my surprise I didn’t find it depressing but somewhat mystical and certainly fascinating. There was an unusual open and airy quality to this forest and because of this I felt comfortable letting the dogs run without restriction. Normally I take my backpack with at least a compass, water and jackknife but considering the obvious clear view of the camper I decided simply keep an eye on it as we explored. The skeleton of the forest was captivating with its unexpected art created by burned and sooty forms.
→Poodle Color Pallet←
This was a hike more rich in texture than hue and my curiosity propelled me further in to the woods. The fire had triped even the rocks of their shrouds, leaving what looked like carved veins where roots might have been and a labyrinth of loose sand and skeletal rock formations where even the soil had been melted away. Like a cat, my curiosity pulled me into the microcosm and macrocosm of this depleted forest. Despite my presumed wilderness experience I finally looked up and realized that the 360 degree view of charred tree trucks around me all looked the same. I was lost in the midst of 100s of acres of wilderness. In a childlike attempt to be rescued by my dogs, I instructed them to “go home,” “find the car” and “Load up.” The dogs leapt forward with inspired enthusiasm only to be quickly distracted by some new smell. They were useless. I walked a few hundred yards in each direction North, South, East and West. No view looked familiar and in fact every direction looked identical. I returned to my original spot to think. I assessed my options: it was probably around 3pm and I had at least 5 hours of light, I had plenty of time to find the camper… or plenty of time to wander even deeper into the hundreds of acres of abandoned burned out forest and the temperatures were mild. I knew that the most critical thing was to not go further until I got my bearings. The sky was over cast preventing me from calculating direction by the sun’s position. Just as was feeling the stirring of panic, I heard the distant sound of a semi approaching from my left. I might not hear another one for the rest of the day and knew this was my chance. If I could find the road I could hike up it to the camper. Considering the acoustics, it took a little effort to pin point it’s location before I lost it. I moved forward with hesitation because the sound was telling me to go in the opposite direction that I thought I should go. Wow was I turned around! After about 10 minutes I crested a hill and saw the very tippy top of the smooth white camper. Never have I been so happy to see that ugly old eye sore. I was lost for only about a half hour but it felt like eternity. So I learned a valuable lesson, one that I thought I had known and respected decades ago. Don’t leave the sight of the truck without my gear, not one step. Not one, “I’m just going to check around that bush ’cause I know exactly where I am.” Period.
→We call it a Day←