May the Forest be with you, to borrow a phrase…

West Dolores River, Mavreeso CG San Juan NF

…from the coffee mugs we bought at a US Forest Service office.

Fraternal twins hug the West Dolores River about a mile apart.  Small and intimate, they invite lengthy meditation, listening to the many voices of the river, breathing in the fragrance of water and green, and watching the firs and spruces do nothing obvious at all.  Mavreeso Campground and West Dolores Campground keep a low profile among the trees in the San Juan National Forest, not far from the town of Dolores, CO.

Trails lace up the mountain slope through fir, aspen, and open benches covered with wildflowers.  The trailhead for Lower Stoner Mesa serves up an encounter with Christy sitting high on Diva and a brief conversation about trail ups and downs and getting a horse some exercise.  Forest trail lesson: who yields to whom?  Motor bikes yield to hikers and to bicyclists and we all yield to horses.  And even horses yield to the bear who has been regularly lunching in the serviceberry patches that crowd the trail.


Late afternoon brings out a flock of Cedar Waxwings hawking swarms of insects over the river. They start at tea-time, hawk on through the dinner hour and right up to dusk.

This treasure in the Forest seduces us to spend days connected to the real world and disconnected from the digital sphere.  Mavreeso will beckon us back each time we pour coffee into a mug…May the Forest be with you

#publiclandsworthprotecting  #sanjuannationalforest

Leche Creek Trail, San Juan National Forest

If I were doing a wilderness inventory in this little section of the San Juan National Forest, here are the characteristics I would include:  no other humans encountered or signs of human activity; wildflowers abundant; sense of solitude and opportunity to experience nature “untrammeled by man”; human imprint substantially unnoticeable, consisting only of the narrow trail.  This is what wilderness is supposed to be like.  My feet follow the trail across little Leche Creek, stepping on stones, slipping a little, plunging my walking stick into the mud for balance.  Up the side of the hill — do we still call them hills in CO at 8,000 and 10,000 feet? — switchbacking to an aspen park.  Dense and primitive, the forest is a mix of pine, fir, and hardwoods, with an understory of Robins and warblers.  One scat, fresh on the way down; did I miss it on the way up?  Probably cat.

My self opens wide in this place, as it does in the wild lands of the Gila.  This is my sangha.  These places are the balm that allow me to function in the busier world outside.

And meanwhile back in the RV park on the San Juan River, others pursue what makes them happy.

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