The Bechler

“He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea.”

-Thoreau, “Walking”

It’s autumn.  Eh.

The kids know what this time of year means, not the crystalline leaf-spangled trails of us old folks, but back to school!  Work the last month has been hopping, such that I made a deal with myself Wednesday night: if I got the subpoena I was expecting I’d testify Friday and get on with it.  If I didn’t, I was going to Yellowstone.  I hedged my bets, packed my pack, and loaded the iPod with podcasts, but didn’t buy food or fuel.

I got the subpoena Thursday morning, but the public defender called a few hours later to cancel it.  The hearing was postponed (again).  Suddenly, I felt a bit ill (and not just at the glacial pace of the criminal justice system). By 4 pm I was headed south.  I needed some quiet time to reflect, be alone with myself, and get things back in perspective.

It worked.

Old Faithful, at 7 hours distant, is for all intents and purposes a state away.  I rolled into the Rainbow Point campground north of West Yellowstone around 1030 and stepped out of the car to the calls of a Barred Owl and coyotes.  I fell asleep on the pine needles under the full open arms of the milky way and slept well.  Woke up in the chill of pre-dawn, found coffee and a huge breakfast in an empty cafe, and got shut down buying an on-the-trail Guinness with my early grocery run (you can’t buy beer in MT between 2 and 8 am; which has dented many a well-started fishing trip).  On the trail by 9am.

Rainbows for dinner, Saturday.

I was out for three days, caught three different species of trout in three major drainage systems on both sides of the continental divide, and returned home late Sunday unscathed, but not unchanged.  As it ought to be.

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