liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

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Weatherford Trail to Doyle Saddle

Went for a hike alone today. I had invited at least a dozen people, but all bailed and in the end, it was fine. I left behind all my musical devices, wanting to hear the wind and let my mind ramble around until it finally got quiet. I did carry my camera. The hike was 12 miles total--6 up 6 back. I listened to my breathing. Above 10,000 feet I have to take more breaths per steps---I play with ratios of breathing and footsteps as a kind of meditation. I could hear a talkative group a few switchbacks behind me for the last couple of miles. At the pass I found a shady spot under a limber pine and took a nap, then went down to talk to the talkative folks. They were a lot of fun. The people you find on mountaintops are the best kind of people. Interestingly enough, of the four people I met, two of them are psychotherapists. One practices in Flagstaff, the other in one of those Mormon towns that has been absorbed by PHX.

I hiked most of the way down with the chatty group, then split off to hike down Weatherford Canyon. The aspens are so thick in is a wonderland. I saw some cat scat----big cat scat. It was on a rock in the middle of the trail, a definite turf-marker but too big to be coyote. And too carnivorous. It gave me a chill to see the rabbit fur tufting out of the turd, and to look around in that thick forest and realize just how alone I was. But I didn't see or smell a cat up there. Back when I used to hike with a small dog, he would get very cozy with me when we were in cat territory. I bet the cat saw and smelled me. I know from my time in Colorado that big cats are mostly likely to attack small women running, so I walked slowly and stood tall. I am not food. Yet.

I'm sore and tired now....will sleep well. I am glad I made this hike. I have wanted to explore this route for years now, and never could find anyone who would complete the high altitude trudge with me. But later this week an old friend Jeff will be here, and we plan to go for the Humphrey's summit.

Tags: altitude, cats, mountains, predators, walking

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