Back on April 28th, Trotsky and I hiked up to the Eagle’s View in Reynold’s Park. When we got to the 250 degree view at the top with a sea of green trees below and unique rock formations poking through and the snow-capped Rockies way out in the distance, I must have gotten a little dirt in my eyes because they got red and watery. Okay, okay, fine. I confess. I teared up. I had waited so, so, so long for this winter to be over, to be able to linger in the sunshine at the top of a trail and not hurriedly push through, shoulders hunched against the cold. To inhale the scent of the pine needles with every step and listen to the birds singing about the arrival of spring. To find a dry spot to sit down and share a picnic with my old dog. I was unbelievably happy in that moment and got a little carried away.
My old dog struggled up the steep, full sun hike, often having to pause and stand completely still for a few seconds before being able to move on. That’s probably another reason for the prickling that accompanied my overwhelming emotions. I’d wanted summer to hurry up and arrive so Trotsky and I could have one more season of hiking and camping. I’d been worried about something happening to him before the good weather arrived. But then finally, there we were, in our shared happy place but my heart still breaking a little at how difficult the climb had been for him. Of course, as we descended the other side, which was mostly shaded and followed the stream, Trotsky turned into a puppy once again and bounded out way in front of me, looking back every few minutes, ears perked up and head tilted, questioning why I was the one taking so long now. And as the water gurgled past, something irritated my eyes again. I could have stayed out there with him all day.
Sometimes I feel a little ridiculous at how much nature affects me. But then I remember that I’m not the only one. Ten days after that hike, three friends and I were in a rental car going through a tunnel, the end of which would reveal the stunning Yosemite Valley. One of my friends said “Don’t judge me if I start crying when I see it.” I smiled. We all had a little something in our eyes as Half Dome and El Cap and Bridal Veil Falls and miles and miles of imposing granite walls and rivers flooding the land with fresh spring runoff came into view.
The next few days were filled with hundreds of smiles and “holy shit”s and dropped jaws and phototaking both in the park and in the surrounding Sierra Nevada. We hiked, we trail ran, we explored, we pointed and stared, we literally hugged rock. We let ourselves be taken away and no one felt embarrassed about getting a little teary.