White Birds, Blue Sky

White Birds, Blue Sky

Laying alone, naked in hot springs,
staring lazily at the sky,
a flock of silver white birds flies by.
Tracing a shifting V through the sky,
uncertain behind whom to fly;
unaware of the handful left behind,
themselves followed by more out of mind.
As many flocks as birds in the first,
the groups of silver follow in bursts.
The silver retreats to silent blue,
till one lonely bird at last pushes through.
Feeling alone and sorry for myself,
I sympathize with his desperate self.
Until another flock later flies by,
tracing a shifting V through the sky,
uncertain behind whom to fly;
unaware of the handful left behind,
themselves followed by more out of mind.





Step right up onto the magic carpet
Imagination only can spark it
Once the winds are steadily blowing
There’s no need for tiresome rowing

Before you leave you’ll think of the rest
Then later the places you’ve left
Dream, yes dream on of everywhere else
All but where you now find your self

Those places you visit you can’t take home
In fact you’re more than often alone
On forever a search for renewed beauty
A perfect piece of home-grade realty

Friendly faces will smile and greet
Wishing again someday you’ll meet
Knowing you’re gone on a mission to go
Anywhere but places you already know

Into your book you’ll write down the ones
Where you had the greatest most fun
So that one day when traveling’s done
Once again here you’ll remember to come

Maybe that day you will settle down
A little tired from moving around
You’ll count to your kids all the fun places
All the funny people and their funny faces

You’ll know these lands that you’ve traveled wide
Those very same lands you’ll cherish with pride
The travel was fleeting now you reside
Like your wife who once was your bride

For now though think not of all that
Just remember to wear a nice hat
For the sun is shining strong in this land
The carpet is leaving: hold on to my hand

The Devil’s Dance Floor

The Devil’s Dance Floor

“How did you get there?”  – the ranger asked.

I walked up the hill and saw another,
Still yet somewhat taller.
I walked up the next and saw one more,
Figured there’d be views galore.

Cannot say the hiking was technical,
Though uphills were quite delectable.

“Well then, you should lead a group today” – the ranger felt the need to say.

No one else wanted to go, but after my first time there I already wanted to return – immediately with camera and phone. With views like those I saw, I couldn’t not get a shot, and given the vantage, I figured there’d be cell coverage.

In Yosemite, the hike to Devil’s Dance Floor from Tamarack Flat is a 30-minute trail-less adventure, mostly crossing forest littered with fallen trees and walking up steep slopes of high-friction granite, typical to the Tuolomne Meadows area.

While staying in the campsite after my climbing friends departed from our Yosemite climbing adventure, I got there wandering randomly uphill in search of a view, but what I found was so amazing that I knew immediately I needed to take photos here. So I jogged back to camp and prepared for a second trip: camera, phone, cliff bar and puffy.

By the time I walked back, it was pitch dark. Moving silently over a foot-ball field of granite in the dark vastness of Yosemite was intimidating. Hiking at night often is, especially within bear habitat.

I repeated my excursion the next day, in need of reception and better photos with a tripod. In the absence of a trail, I never walked the same path twice. No matter how you walk around it, the Devil’s Dance Floor is at the top of a dome that requires some seriously steep walking to get on top of it.

On my way back from this last trip to such a trippy place, I found myself once again worried to hike off trail alone in the dark. I kept hearing echoes of my sounds bouncing off the granite walls I passed by. Eventually though I knew that the last sound had not come from me. I turned suddenly and about 20 yards to my left I saw the distinct two dots of light only a nocturnal animal’s eyes can return. Then I saw more pairs of eyes, all staring at the loud, bright human who had stepped out bounds without company.

“Stay there!” I shouted in fear, picking up a staff of wood.

I figure they were simply dear, perhaps coyotes, as there are no serious pack predators in California.

I am definitely keeping this one high on my list of secret gems.

The day this blog started

The day this blog started

I am sitting here in Tamarack Flat, site #3, which all the rangers keep reminding me is the best. Coastline excluded, up here in Tuolomne meadows is just about the only place in California where the weather is pleasant rather than debilitatingly hot.

I may be in the best place on earth, but I am finding it difficult to make the simplest decisions. Should I wake up now? Is now the right time to brush my teeth? Should I stay here another night or head to San Francisco today?

The memories of the past two weeks of climbing tall granite cliffs and domes keep flashing in front of my eyes everytime I close them in an attempt to make a simple decision.

Until yesterday, I was in the company of four amazing climbing buddies. I was energetically hosting democratic ‘Pow-Wows’ to keep the group moving. I was cooking large meals for us and had no qualms asking for help and handing out friendly commands. I had a vision of routes to climbs and a team to lead. Trailing some of them and switching leads with others, I took us up longer and bolder trad climbs than I had ever led before. I felt like I was truly accomplishing something.

Now, I am alone.

I have created this loneliness for myself by succeeding at all my goals. I work a digital 4-hour work week and live a life of perpetual “glamping” in a 1994 Dodge Conversion that I further converted into a full-time shaggin’ wagon of a van. I am living the #vanlife like a pro.

Except that I am living it alone.

I can’t climb alone and regardless – without someone to drag along, pushing only myself to accomplish physical feats in nature is not nearly as fun. Hikes aren’t worth it unless I can share photos of the adventure on Instagram, but not all beauty is photogenic. So I find myself chasing camera-friendly spots like a volunteer photographer, working extra hours for no pay.

I am left alone to battle my thoughts about life, love and tomorrow. Wondering if it is about time I settle and end the heartbreak pattern. Then I remind myself that I have only just started this traveling phase of my life. I decide to stop thinking and get on with the move. Then I remember how hot it is everywhere else, that I am in the best place on earth for today and that I can’t move on with my real travel plans until after next weekend because I promised a friend I would join him on his party bus plans for his birthday.

So I sit emptily; neither thirsty, nor hungry, nor wanting to smoke or even move. I am bored.

I am left alone to battle my thoughts about life, love and tomorrow.

The pattern repeats.

I write until I have emptied out my inspiration bladder. Then I go grab a book I have been meaning to read for a year. Maybe later I will hike to that same spot I was yesterday: The Devil’s Dance floor. The nearly flat surface of a giant granite dome overlooking the entrance to Yosemite valley is the size of a football field and is the only place I can hike to for a view and reception without packing up my van and wasting fuel.

I know that in just a few days I will be surrounded by people whom I love and enjoy. Or so I hope.