Welcome to my Wilderness Journal

You may enjoy my September 2012 blog: Sharing Experiences of Great Mystery, which describes the purpose of this wilderness log, photo-art gallery, and poetry corner. In Peace, Bob

Friday, October 19, 2012

Yosemite: Hawkshead Point

Cathedral Peak and Tenaya Lake from Hawkshead Point © Bob Hare 2012

Poem-Journal: September 19, 2010, Yosemite National Park, California, 9,200' Elevation

Hawkshead Point 

Last night’s freeze was hard and the last High Sierra Camp
closes today
Grey clouds are scudding in from the west
So I’m heading down to my valley winter home
But I can do one last climb if I drive home in the dark

Pulling past Olmsted Point
I sidle off Tioga Road and get my gear ready
I look up at a granite point like a hawk’s head
that I named last year

When you name something
you pull it out from the background
and look at it as something significant for the first time
I want to see Cathedral Peak with the Hawk’s eyes

No name, no trail
The way I like it
Skirting two ponds and stepping over logs
I climb up a draw--bedrock shelf by bedrock shelf

Western White Pine on route to Hawkshead Point © Bob Hare 2012

I flank around west to mount the Hawk’s tail
And climb up on his broad granite back
Clearing the treetops
Cathedral Peak rises majestically into view

Cathedral Peak and Tenaya Lake from Hawkshead Erratic Field © Bob Hare 2012

But the temperature is plummeting
And the wind is becoming fierce
As I top out I put on my watchcap and all my layers
But I’m still cold

I frame my shots shivering and study the clouds in all directions
Clouds are blowing in from the west and dissipating in the east
Just beyond Cathedral Peak they dry out
Tioga Pass and Conness are in blue sky and sun

The Central Valley is bathed in late Summer sunshine
So I expect the clouds to pass over me and bring me sun
But when I really look I realize the clouds are forming just west of me.
Sun all around but not over me

Hunkering Down Erratic on Hawkshead Point © Bob Hare 2012

I eat my sandwich and hunker down behind a large precariously perched erratic.
Still three cold hours to alpenglow
When I awake the clouds are gone
and Tenaya Lake is in shadow. 

Cathedral and Tenaya Peaks in Alpenglow from Hawkshead Point © Bob Hare 2012

The shadows climb the peaks all around until only Conness
The Cathedral
                                    And Clark are left in pink light

Then Tenaya and Cathedral wink out
And then the alpenglow moves up into the heavens
To strike errant clouds and the aluminum bodies of jets
The shadow of the Earth rises to the east heralding the first bright planets and stars

Suddenly I feel very alone and vulnerable
An ancient human memory stirs deep in my brain
The wyrd feeling of a dying sun in a freezing wilderness moves me to quickly pack up
and get down off the Hawk while there’s still twilight

I knew in my head I really didn’t need to rush. I had a flashlight.
But my body wanted warmth, shelter, and company. This must be what moves animals to prepare so furiously for winter.
A stumble in my hurry warned me to…Slow down

Now carefully but still quickly back down the Hawk’s back
Past the erratics
Turning east down his tail
Ducking south back under the treetops

Growing darkness in the ravine
Picking my way carefully down the rock shelves
Crossing the creek through the brush
Over the logs past the ponds

Car sounds and headlights
My headlamp unused
One hour up to Hawkshead, twenty minutes down
Find my keys, start the car, head home to family and friends for the winter

Hawkshead Point from Upper Olmsted Point Ridge © Bob Hare 2012

May all Beings be well, happy, and free! Yours in Peace, Bob

Note: Unless attributed to other sources all text, poems, photographs and artwork in this blog and other blogs entitled "Wilderness Adventures with Bob Hare" are copyrighted © 2012 by Bob Hare. The phrase "Wilderness Adventures with Bob Hare" is a trademark of Bob Hare.