Big sky

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Boy, this hike has gotten me kind of mood-swingy. I was disappointed to have taken a half hour longer to walk the fifteen-mile outbound half of the hike than it did two years ago. Of course, I have a considerably heavier pack today, but still my pride suffered.

My feet have been a major source of irritation. The sneakers that Grace got me have done wonders for the foot pain I had months ago, and I wouldn’t go back to combat boots if you paid me. But the sneakers are much lower, so more grit, plant detritus and pebbles get in. Also, my darned little turned-under piggie toes rub against the next toes and threaten to blister if I don’t stop and tape them. So I’ve spent a lot more time fiddling with my feet than I like.

Just after I finally got my right piggie toe taped up in a way that satisfied it, I had the most frustrating missed photo op in recent memory. I caught a small bit of motion on the trail that my eye immediately identified as a spider. I saw that it was a cute little orangish-brindle salticid* of a species I’ve not seen before. I waved my hand in front of it enough to make it freeze, and then kept my eye on it as I took my pack off.

It had barely moved by the time I got my camera bag unzipped and taken the Canon macro rig out. I glanced at the camera to turn it on and make sure that the mode dial was in the right position, and when I looked back the little bugger had disappeared. I spent a few minutes blowing on the immediate area in hopes of making it twitch, combing the leaf litter, and occasionally admonishing the spider.

Well, I guess that got the lion’s share of my frustration out of my system, because when I broke out of the tree cover and onto the road, and saw this sky, it felt like a reward and a benediction. There’s nothing like a sky I’ve spent a whole day walking under. It feels like I can come closest to touching it because I’ve come closest to earning it.

*I think it was this species.


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