Saturday, October 10, 2015

Driving Off The Spleen

The famous opening lines of Moby Dick:

"Call me Ishmael. Some years ago — never mind how long precisely — having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off — then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me."

Yes, and if you replace "Ishmael" with my name and replace "the ocean" with "the woods", then you get a good understanding of the feelings that I often cherish myself.

Today, my younger son and I hiked a moderately difficult (easy for him, difficult for me) trail in the Golden Gate Canyon State Park, west of Golden, Colorado.  The trail was called Burro Trail (marked on the map below by the symbol of a burro's hoof) and began at the Bridge Creek trailhead.  We saw no trace of burros.

The hike was a 4.5 mile loop with an elevation gain of 980 feet.  I lacked the stamina today to follow the adjacent spur to the top of Windy Peak.

The aspens were displaying their beautiful fall colors

Such was the calming effect of the hike that I felt no urge to knock off the hats of the people I met along the trail.

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