Jesse James and Finehorn have been watching me very carefully the past few days. I think they must wonder if I’m leaving or if it will be one of them. They stand closer together than they usually do, they whicker in my direction and share their alfalfa with the three young bunnies in camp. When I fed them this morning I told them to eat up because we’re leaving today.
It’s been a bit of a rough stretch, halving the Free Range Rodeo, even though all of the departing members are going on to great things. Gryph is up in Boulder, working hard at finding the right situation for her apprenticeship in circus skills. Daisy and Cowgirl left Sunday morning for Rosamond and in less than a week Daisy will catch a ride north to Redding where my cousin eagerly awaits her arrival. Cowgirl went on her first Pacific Crest Trail scouting trip on Wednesday and I received this missive yesterday:
“she was perfect. She wanted to lead. 4 miles up, narrow rocky trail with a beginner. she was into it.”
I’ve spent the past two weeks working (massage therapy) to replenish funds, soaking in hot water, trying to catch up on a bit of the pragma and wondering what’s next. Today I find out. Setting out “solo” isn’t scary so much as it’s requiring me to jump back on the learning curve -> how to pack Finehorn sensibly and symmetrically sans Gryph and her gear is a challenge I must surmount this morning. Gryph has been the Quartermaster – most of that level of organization fell on her shoulders, to the point where it had slipped off my radar – until suddenly she was gone. The same holds true in matters of photography and food – I’m having to take on three new jobs – essential functions that I have not had to worry about for months!
I realized yesterday that while, yes, I do have a level of trepidation about where I will sleep tonight and how I will sort for the ponies, it’s not any stronger than it had been when there were 6 of us – that’s a daily tension that seems a part of the Journey. It’s been a rare thing in the past 5 months to know where we are going to stop before we get to a likely place and ask. It’s worked out pretty well thus far – blessings on the many “strangers” who have befriended us along the way – and I find myself anticipating that it will continue to work out as I continue to make my way Eastward.
And now it is time to step into the hot tub for one last soak, balance the bags (and see if there’s anything else that i can possibly leave behind), groom and saddle the ponies, load up Finehorn, don my spectacular new hat, zip up my chaps, hop on Jesse James and hit the trail – riding out of El Dorado Hot Springs and into the next phase of the Journey.