A Morning in Jasper

elk-with-mountains

The tall, scrawny pines sheltered me from the cool morning breeze as I fired up my small camp stove and made some coffee, the smell of the instant grounds aroused my sleepy senses.

The tops of the snow covered mountains were hidden, obscured by clouds and as I scanned above the tree line across the rocky, glacier carved crags the mist turned into a light, fine rain.

It was seven thirty in the morning and already the sun was up somewhere outside of the valley where we’d camped. I love the early mornings afield, the smell of the fresh grasses and pine needles covered in dew, crispness in the air that awakens the mind and a humbling feeling that explorers who’d come this way long before me must have felt as though they had stumbled into a strange, wonderful sort of paradise.

As I try and sip from my favorite camp mug without burning my lips I notice the rain fading, and suddenly a female and a juvenile elk step out from the trees and into the clearing whose edge I am standing at. They are gorgeous, their coats wet and tawny. They both graze for a bit and finally lay down among the grass just fifty yards from where I stand.

At that moment, as the clouds began to lift exposing the snow capped mountain tops I am stunned by the arrival of a bull elk, his shoulders black, his antlers fat with velvet, he steps out onto the plain and bugles as he postures himself. He is regal, majestic and he is bold and I am in awe of his beauty.

There are no pictures that can relay the splendor of this land, no words that by themselves illuminate the imagery that paints one’s soul by experiencing it, but simply being here, standing among the spiritual essence of this place is purely magnificent.

 

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Cool, October Fog

I crawled out from the small tent, my partner still fast asleep. It was already after 8am and I loved sleeping in among the deciduous forest, the fresh air, the smells, the sounds at night of the insects singing, and small woodland critters dashing through the tall prairie grass under gently whooshing trees in the moonlight. But it was time to rise and greet the morning.

As I stood tall and stretched, the cool October air surrounded me, so I pulled on my fleece and looked around. The sun was still below the tree line and barely visible through the thick morning fog that covered the bluffs high above the Mississippi River. I needed to gather water for breakfast and wood for a fire, so I walked the path out from the trees and over hills among the bluff top prairie. Just beyond the fog at the edge of the forest were Birch trees, Maple and Oak, the knee high grass was wet, the dark maroon Sumac leaves dripped, laden with condensation.

There is a place for spiritual awakening in moments like these; I stand there on the dirt path, still, listening to my surroundings. Something moves inside the tree line, possibly a deer, one from the family whom visited our camp during dinner the night before. I can hear droplets of water out in the mist perhaps hitting a rock or a broad leaf. I close my eyes and breathe in deeply, filling my lungs with rich, river valley air and when I exhale my breath almost instantly falls to the ground.

When I return to camp my partner has awaken and has waiting for me a hot, steaming, mug of coffee, I drop the wood and begin building a fire to the hissing sound of our camp stove as it begins to boil water for oatmeal. I look over at her with her long, dark hair, sipping from her mug of cocoa, her eyes still a little sleepy, she is so beautiful, raw, and real and seems to belong here among nature’s finest gifts. We share a love of Mother Nature, exploring the hills, forests, the bluffs and river bottoms, mountains and valleys. It is here we find our spirituality at its purest, it’s here we find the love we share for each other, in its truest, most honest form.

A Morning in Jasper

The tall, scrawny pines sheltered me from the cool morning breeze as I fired up my small camp stove and made some coffee, the smell of the instant grounds aroused my sleepy senses.

The tops of the snow covered mountains were hidden, obscured by clouds and as I scanned above the tree line across the rocky, glacier carved crags the mist turned into a light, fine rain.

It was seven thirty in the morning and already the sun was up somewhere outside of the valley where we’d camped. I love the early mornings afield, the smell of the fresh grasses and pine needles covered in dew, crispness in the air that awakens the mind and a humbling feeling that explorers who’d come this way long before me must have felt as though they had stumbled into a strange, wonderful sort of paradise.

As I try and sip from my favorite camp mug without burning my lips I notice the rain fading, and suddenly a female and a juvenile elk step out from the trees and into the clearing whose edge I am standing at. They are gorgeous, their coats wet and tawny. They both graze for a bit and finally lay down among the grass just fifty yards from where I stand.

At that moment, as the clouds began to lift exposing the snow capped mountain tops I am stunned by the arrival of a bull elk, his shoulders black, his antlers fat with velvet, he steps out onto the plain and bugles as he postures himself. He is regal, majestic and he is bold and I am in awe of his beauty.

There are no pictures that can relay the splendor of this land, no words that by themselves illuminate the imagery that paints one’s soul by experiencing it, but simply being here, standing among the spiritual essence of this place is purely magnificent.