I needed a few hours of quiet and peace, to aerate my brain and get away from the madness of the news cycle that’s been so hard to avoid recently. An afternoon hike in the Laguna Mountains seemed just right, and I knew exactly where I wanted to be – a secluded little meadow on the upper part of the Sunset Trail that has long been a favorite.
On the way there I saw lots of aggressive driving. It seems that a lot of people are about ready to explode, and I was glad to leave the interstate. Along Sunrise Highway, the Black Oaks had beautiful fall colors – it was probably a week or so past their peak, but backlit by the low afternoon sun this time of the year, they still all looked quite beautiful.
To my surprise, along the road and then also along the trail, some patches of old snow had survived in the shade, despite the warmer weather we had after the first winter storm of the season, early in November. A few mountain bikers passed me while I was on the way to the upper end of the Laguna Meadows, and then it seemed like I had the place all to myself. It was wonderful.
I continued onto the Sunset Trail, enjoyed the views to Garnet Peak from a little rocky lookout, and proceeded to “my” little meadow. I wandered around and looked. Sat on some rocks and looked. Wandered around a little more, looked a little more, took an inventory of the photographic opportunities that I saw. As the sun disappeared behind the little ridge to the west, in the absence of direct sunlight, the gentle colors came out and I began to collect the treasures. It was immensely satisfying.
I walked back as darkness grew, knowing that this feeling of peace wouldn’t last once I’d merge onto the freeway again…