Thursday, February 24, 2005

Big Bluff Fog

Sitting in the alcove on the Goat Trail running across Big Bluff, I felt that the fog was thick enough to support my weight should I decide to step off and walk on air. The river three hundred feet far below, was silently being stifled by the thick fog and the multi-colored bluffs stood quietly by it's side. Everything was silent; in fact the silence was almost stifling. I close my eyes and take a deep breath, feeling the moisture laden air flowing liquid-like down my throat and filling up my lungs. A long exhale purged it out leaving behind a faint hint of pine from the trees below. I have been coming to Big Bluff for almost twenty years and this was the first time I had been here in a fog. Absolute beauty.

The Goat Trail is a portion of an almost sheer five hundred feet bluff, where water etched out softer rock millions of years ago and left behind a concave scrape much like an ice cream scoop in a new container of ice cream, only vertical. It is possible to walk clear across this trail 300 feet above the water but at times, it narrows down to just a few feet giving me an immense sense of vertigo. A third of the way across is a deeper recess or alcove with a clear view of the river upstream, downstream and of Bee Bluff directly across the valley. It is here that another one of my magical places exists where I feel the bond between me and the world around me gets infinitely stronger. I have been there in the sun, fog, rain and snow, and each time I leave for the three-mile hike back up the mountain it is with much regret.

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