Into the Mountains


Again and again I am introduced to the Sierra Nevada; locals call it the Sierra. There is only one, it is not the Sierras. In a few weeks, here at 8000′, we will (please oh please) be covered with snow and again it will appear as the vision of Pedro Font, the Spanish missionary who named the range in 1776; the first named and mapped mountain range in North America. The spirit-home of all that I do. 


I’m mountain born. Occasionally I find myself as a desert rat, and I enjoy masquerading as a coastal lurk; but I always come up here to get the thing I need: the miles of perspective I have such an appetite for. Up here, the poems become tools – the words morph into hammers and binoculars, boots and tents.


My rig these days

HAVSTAD HAT – Cate made this hat early on in her career. It fit me so well that she has named the profile “The Obi.”

FROST RIVER – Some folks don’t enjoy the weight of these packs. I appreciate how rugged they are. The perfect Weekender.

WINTER SESSION – Leather wallets, pen holders, and brush holders that have the archivality I require.

DANNER BOOTS – Trust your boots; it means everything.

BALL AND BUCK – I’ve been carrying the same dopp kit around for years. I usually pack with two or three kits.


After a few days, when cities become oddities and tonight’s camp settle into the home it has always been, each piece of equipment becomes a treasured object in my collection, and forever the thing I miss most and remember best is the laughter of friends. 


The camp at the end of the earth; just a sweet speck of home; One of the world’s most perfect moments where I can bury my heart just long enough for the moon to make its round and for the red horizon to flip across my smiling eyes. 


Bent over Heaven’s sculpt –

breaking the locked heart,

the sweet sun taste

and the silent, still earth.

Categories: WILDERNESS