Nirvana, enlightenment, peace, homeostasis…….whatever you would like to call happiness, I have found it here.
I happen to believe in the old Native American lore and magic so I have no problem admitting that I feel it emanating from the very rocks that form these mountains. I feel it in the confident way the animals here gaze at me, the water bubbling all around breathes with a life of its own, the light touches things here in a way I haven’t seen before. No, I didn’t smoke any weed today, this place is intoxicating all on its own. Please stop paying a therapist and just come here for treatment if you need a reason to live. I think sometimes getting lost is the best way to find yourself. I feel the little annoyances from daily life dissolve into oblivion as soon as I cross the first cattle guard into the refuge.
Say hello to the bison, turkeys, deer, elk, prairie dogs, geese, and the Longhorn Cattle that roam this paradise. The best way to describe this place is like having a dream that you are in the old west before white men arrived. I keep expecting to see a Native with face paint appear on the ridge in front of me. There are of course some modern day man intrusions that you may find helpful like a few restrooms along the main road and a visitors center that offers helpful advice from park rangers and maps, I highly advise utilizing all of these before heading out into this wonderful wilderness, at the very least get a map, if you decide not to I feel sure you will regret it. I explored some new trails in the Charons Garden Wilderness area and it was stunning but very confusing. I now understand the interesting warning at the trail head that explained a search and rescue helicopter would cost in excess of $30,000.00, at first I just laughed……then I saw the reason for the warning. The trails are not really marked, just suggested, and there are countless numbers of wildlife trails to confuse with the human one. I have to give Aleu credit for keeping me on the right track because I simply trusted her lead and thankfully no helicopter was needed to return me to my car
This is my second time here and my first time to come in the winter. The park has such a different face in the winter, the spring was energetic and busy with colorful lizards and rich greens, the winter brings this wonderful calm peace, almost a grandmotherly hug. Come let the mountains hug you this winter and save your therapy money for Christmas presents.