The morning drive was quiet and unhurried. Through this stretch of roadway radio signal is nearly impossible giving the airways a static hum that, at best, is annoying. No matter. A touch of the power button and what remains is the sound of wind gushing through the opened windows.

A dirt road. Often traveled as it provides access to plentiful fishing and roadside camping. The fire from two years ago leaves stalks of charred trees chunking off their outer burnt bark and leaving ghastly white shells beneath. What the fire didn’t char, beetle has killed. Enough time has elapsed that nowhere is a pine needle in view. Instead, thick luscious grass, tight bundles of purple and yellow. Spits of red. Flowers abundant in a ground scape renewed with its soot and plentiful sunshine clearing.

Big game moves into openings of a burnt forest. The thick grasses are filled with water laden blades worth a nibble. A 10-point buck hesitated momentarily to determine if I was a threat or not before moving back a few feet and renewing his forage. Still in velvet, his antlers were still not fully grown but will finish and reach their royal height in a few months’ time.

Clouds moved northward. Building and breaking. Monsoon season has nearly arrived and will soon spread droplets on a nearly parched land waiting for a renewal after six plus weeks of no rainfall or precipitation. The waterfall will extinguish the threat of fire or hasten its arrival with flashes of intense light and heat that regularly accompanies the rain.

We’ve loaded packs and panniers. The closed in trail waits for boot prints, leather gloves and cross-cut saws. A crew of five plodding its tread clearing a way for others to follow on their way to exploration and study of nature doing her thing without the endless interaction and exploitation of man.

The trail calls – and I must follow.

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