Brad Shurmantine  celebrates solitude and connection in the High Sierras:

Evolution Basin

“Mostly I’ve backpacked alone. Not by choice; just the way it’s happened….Every tree, every bird is just as alone. I’m no outsider. Thoughts and memories and songs tumble through my heart as I walk along, proud of the load on my back and my body for carrying it. I love the huge vistas, the endless mountains of polished granite, the craggy ridges of volcanic rock, all covered or dotted with proud determined trees, laced with cold clear streams.”

“And I love just as much being buried in forest, resting my pack on a perfect boulder as I pant my way uphill, seeing nothing but rocks and trees and forest debris and patches of sky, completely cut off from the world, entombed in wilderness. Quiet. Drinking some water. Hearing bird noises, maybe some branches bending in the wind. Nowhere else to be. No one else to be.”

McClure Meadow (photos by Brad Shurmantine)

from “Sierra Trails,” in the 2021 issue of Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry. deepwildjournal.com/subscribe

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