by Daniel Montero
I love to walk. For itself, not for exercise, not for a purpose, not even with an end in mind. Just walking. So on the final day of our Southern Nevada/California expedition, with a bit of time on my hands and fresh snow in the Sierra, I decided to go for a walk.
My original intention had been to get all the way home from Bakersfield (the back way) the day before, but then I had gotten tired and stopped in Bridgeport. When I woke up I decided to take the full day off from work (not that I would have made it anyway), and to start the day off with a soak at Buckeye.
With my only object for the day now to get from Bridgeport back to Reno, and with the higher parts of the Sierra clothed in fresh snow, I drove north looking for likely walking places, of which there is no shortage. I took Little Walker Road, a few miles before the turn off for Sonora Pass (which was already closed), and drove as far as I liked in the Prius, to about Obsidian Campground. It was a warm, sunny day, and I had no object, no destination, no end goal other than to wander a bit among the mountain meadows that spread around me.
I followed the road up a little, but then ducked off. There was snow, in patches, but more than less, and the basin I was in was dotted with willow and aspen. As I walked I realized that it has been a while since I’ve done this, that many of our recent hikes have had a purpose, been toward a peak or other mark, and while we are not obsessed with ends rather than means, it still is a different thing to be just wandering with nowhere to go. In this case, even more so than normal, the end is the journey, and it was a pure pleasure to just pick where I was going based on exactly where I wanted to go, not because I was headed somewhere. Of course, avoiding marshes and finding creek crossings was essential, and I did point toward rocky points or winter meadows, and was turned back by a No Trespassing sign near Cow Camp Creek, which I only knew because of a ranch painted sign and because I looked it up for this writing. (Speaking of, now that I have looked, I realized that I spent most of the day along the eloquently and somewhat terrifyingly named Poison Creek.)
I don’t need rules for walking (even the absence of a rule becoming a rule eventually), and probably the next time I got out it will be toward a peak or some petroglyphs, but it was such a nice reminder that sometimes the best destination is no destination at all.
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