After leaving Warner Springs, where I had taken two “nero-days” nearly 24 hours off trail and non-hiking, non-carrying 40 pounds on my back and definitely a solid dinner at the local Country Club! Combine this with a bucket shower and some new hiker friends and I felt like a million bucks! An easy calm walk took shape for the day up Agua Caliente Creek to a lovely beachy campsite along the creek. I pitched my tent under an old wise Oak Tree, and soaked my feet in the cool rushing water, then walked barefoot in the sand, feeling the cool massage of the pebbles pressing against the contours of my sore feet. My hiker friend, Bobcat, built a fire where a ring had been left by other campers, along with some nice perfectly dry wood. We warmed our tired feet on the hot rocks, cooked our simple food and chatted. We even listened to some music and I suddenly felt myself as if in a movie, like those You-tube videos you watch before you go hike the PCT. I was be-ing that movie, I was living that moment in real time. This short hiking day was a perfect re-entry after being off trail for a bit, knowing the following days would be long, hot and we would start the morning with a lot of Up. Bobcat and I put our sleeping mats on the sand, with the fire still cracking along, and we just looked up at the diamond stars.
When I rest by a creek, my sleep is so intensely sound. Perhaps the constant of the moving water lulls me into a deep sleep brainwave pattern, I seem not to dream, and I also seem to wake up more refreshed than on creek-less sleeps. In the morning, I sat by the creek leisurely like I do mornings, meditating on the sound of the flowing water, feeling grateful for real, fresh, spring water, that came down from the sky to the mountains, to the Earth, to my feet. What a tremendous gift in this desert. Listening deeply, to that sound, of water gliding over rocks just relaxes every muscle fiber in my body, making me feel as if there is no time, no schedule, nothing to do but just flow. In my gentle transition from sleep to waking, I brought my cup of hot coffee down to the creek, crossed my legs and started some deep breathing and meditation. Entering that world of existence/non-existence, I disappeared into that creek, and it’s waters washed over my soul. How deep that creek became, how expanded my soul into each tiny drop, into each star that was still there but now not seen. Refreshing my brain, my spine, my lungs with the clear crisp air of a brand new day, time again disappeared. Then, suddenly, the loudest “ribbit” I have ever heard jolted me like lightening right back to my body, where I was exactly in time and space, and made my adrenaline surge, and my blood pump through my veins, my heart-beating rapidly. The tiny frogs there in that creek that I had listened to last night night apparently also liked to talk during the morning. Were they conversing with the birds? Were they playing a joke on me? It was an odd ribbit too, just one loud burst and that was it, and I could not tell if it was behind me, in front of me or inside my head, yet it was enough to wake me up from my meditation and I just had to laugh at how this tiny creature had startled me!