Friday, April 16, 2010

Go! Explore!

I recently found myself walking up a slot canyon, mouth agape, trying to take in all of this amazing hidden gem. To call it “off the beaten path” is a bit of an understatement. I’ve been sworn to secrecy regarding its exact location, but it is so special, it is under consideration to be designated a Wilderness Area. Grubby Guy knew about it from a previous trip, and wanted to show it to me and look around for some elk sheds. This hike turned out to be an “ah-ha moment” for me. It was nothing short of a revelation! I could look at the rocks all around and feel the history of the area. I found myself wondering who else had walked that canyon…Native Americans, explorers, mountain men, hikers, hunters... I wondered what it looked like for them, what they saw. I found myself wondering what kind of animals lived in the area and what they thought about it. I saw mountain lion tracks, deer tracks, elk tracks, raccoon tracks, beautiful little blue birds, hawks…and two little butterflies that followed me down the canyon. I thought about the amazing forces of nature needed to create the slot canyon. I wondered about the rocks and how they were created, and where they started from and how they ended up in the canyon. I found myself wishing I had paid more attention to my Geology class...My imagination was ignited. My sense of wonder was exploding. For those things alone, this little jaunt was rewarding beyond measure.

So, this is my challenge for you…explore the untrodden places. Go for a walk in a place that doesn’t have an established trail. Drive down a road you’ve never driven down before. Stop at a little pull-out and get out and walk for a bit. Take an entirely new route through your city or town. Pick a place on the map and find your way there. Go somewhere new and different and unexplored by you. You never know what you will discover. I recently read about an archaeologist in South Africa who decided to explore the caves nearby, figuring they held untold treasures. He was meandering around in an area he knew had lots of unmarked caves, and found the skull of a 9 year-old boy who was 2 million years old! It turns out to be a whole new species of man – the first link between the apes and us. And, all of that because he wandered someplace not marked on a map. You may not find a new species, but you never know what you could discover about your environment and yourself!

As Calvin said to Hobbes in the last frame of the last comic strip… “Let’s go exploring!”

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