Meet the Flowers of Hike 30

July 27, 2011

“A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody.”*

And so it is that I embarked on a trip not alone, but with a companion. We both, by accident or design, had time off of work on the same day. I had hoped to be able to bring not a prioress, but rather my sister by blood, on one of my expeditions, but we have on several occasions had conflicts of schedule. Finally we experienced constructive rather than destructive interference and, instead of canceling, grew in amplitude.

Together we set out, appropriately, towards Sisters and returned to Alder Springs. Though I had been there before, I was able to see the world through a new pair of eyes. A wish was no longer just a wish, but rather a pappus. Every plant had a name, every part of the anatomy a purpose. The fields full of horsetails were topped by strobilus and the communing apiaceae were exposed for the many-headed creatures they were. Names bring the world to life. Rather than a loose association of weeds, the individuality of each plant sprang forth and vied for my attention.

Summer has marched on in this arid environment and many of the flowers that once were are no longer. I encountered an old friend perusing the umbels, having been forced to abandon the other withering blooms.

We early reached the campsite, but hurried on, hoping to find the end of the maintained trail. I tried to do so on my last visit, though the rain became an unbreachable wall and forced me to retreat. The dark threatened, but still we pressed ever onward towards a potentially disappointing conclusion. Though the destination proved to be far from disappointing, it was the ever-changing landscape that made the trek worthwhile. Plants, rocks, life, death, spirits; birds, bugs, fire, water, dirt; diversity reigned.

The night concluded with an abbreviated game of scrabble in our tent. Meaningless words left abandoned without context accumulated on the board. We hadn’t the energy to question a single one. In the dark the world went on without us. Insects crawled and flew and ate and thought. The trip may have bled into the next day, or it may have ended that night; it’s hard to say. I’ll leave you with the world as it was that evening. The following day was inconsequential. We were too focused on returning to the comfort of the car to think much of the world around us. Let it stay black.

*John Steinbeck (Of Mice and Men)


4 Responses to “Meet the Flowers of Hike 30”

  1. The tree trunk seems anthropomorphic to me. Do you see it that way too?

    Steve Schwartzman

    • 300hikes said

      I do. In fact, I took another picture of the same tree that give an even stronger impression of a face. I left it out because it seemed a too obvious.

      Thank you for the comment!

  2. pixilated2 said

    I never knew that horsetail reed bloomed like that! Very cool and very strange looking.

  3. kenozoic said

    I love the tree husk photo.

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