There were 6 miles of trail and 2 of bushwhack and 3,200 ft of elevation gain. A coral snake I didn't quite step on. Javelina and deer and tarantulas and red-spotted tree frogs and something with great big shiny-reflective yellow eyes at the top of the peak from which I was able to send a text to my check-in: In a bit of a pickle, er, won't you please call 911 when you wake and haven't heard from me. Hoping I'll be okay.
Also, a cloud that decided to descend on the peak just as I was deciding to try to scramble back down from where I'd climbed up. Three points of contact. It was that steep. Shitty footing. Couldn't see more than 2 yards ahead with the spot light on once the cloud settled in. And all because I was too stubborn (and stupid) to turn around at the End of Trail sign. Too wanting to get lost, maybe. Too longing to be consumed.
I learned some things about myself. So that's good. And it was beautiful. The lower part of that canyon is something made of magic, for sure. The upper part, too, is crisscrossed by game trails, mice, rabbits, garter snakes, shin dagger, grasses, ocotillo, oh! and then there was a lone alligator jumper -- the world all so scrubby and wonderful.
It's just wise not to be too stubborn out there. The wilderness has a way of dealing with your ego.
Like the climbers' saying, Gravity has a way of dealing with those who repeatedly defy it.
In the moonlight, washed milky by humid, dense clouds, I lost the sound of the city for the calls of the poorwills and other nightjars and crickets and owls. And sometimes, for timeless moments, I lost my own sounds and my own human thoughts.
Good. Good to be lost that way.
But better not to do it for reasons that tempt the desert. Never tempt the desert. It will readily remind you who's bigger, who's been here much, much longer, and who will be here still when no one remembers you or your species, when even those scars your species left behind are too old for naming.