A Day Things Changed ForeverThe afternoon trek I made from my camp by Pine Creek Lake stands out as the greatest ever for me, and it cemented my love for sights, thrills, challenges, scenery, and solitude that trails do not give me anymore. My favorite trek of all time took me atop the trailless ridges above Pine Creek Lake and led me to views of wild country that almost no one sees; even fewer touch it. The climb was difficult but exhilarating--- I faced scree that made me lose much of each ascending step, sharp rocks that punished hands and boots, and narrow ridges little wider than my foot and which threatened fatal falls of hundreds of feet; sometimes much of my body leaned out over that empty space, and one loose rock or lapse in concentration could have led to a premature union of my body and the earth. I had never before felt such awe, accomplishment, and ecstasy all at once, and I have not since. Whenever I think of what made me so reclusive and disdainful of “regular” people and life, so devoted to maintaining the fitness and the will to taste true wilderness and splendor, and so removed from mundane concerns and attached instead to something higher and grander, I think of this day and what I did here.
And at the end--- walking, often sliding, down a small glacier back to rock fields and then to a stream from beneath the glacier and finally following that tumbling stream past small waterfalls to the head of Pine Creek Lake was a fine finish to a finer day.
Rapturous--- that may be the word for how I felt this afternoon while on this adventure. There I was atop the world, far from its concerns, up where the world is nothing but rock and sky. I have never since felt so alive as I did this day--- pure elation.
I did not want to leave. In a way, I didn’t. I probably think of this place every day. It defined and defines me. A part of me is always out here.