In the wilderness, so many unexpected traces of humans.
In a roadless canyon we came upon the disintegrating remains of a camp Jan had stumbled on, just abandoned, in the 70s. It must have been a hippie camp, he said, because there were tipi poles and a dew-swollen copy of The Hobbit.
Poles and book were still there. The book was unidentifiable now, gray with sun.
Bushwhacking in the dense piñon-juniper and oak brush that covered the mesa, on a windy day that obscured all sound. I was newly aware of how one tracks companions by constant, quick glances through the twiggage, near-subliminal glimpses every four to eight seconds: a scrap of color, a blink of movement out of place against the moving background. It’s an almost-unconscious art, and takes practice. First we lost Rob, then Gary, then John.
They all straggled in later at the car, remarking on how, in countryside like this, a group can get separated in less than a minute. Their shouts had been inaudible in the wind.