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Closer to the Crest

Monday, March 23rd, 2020: Chiricahuas, Hikes, Nature, Southeast Arizona, Wildfire.

After a bad cold limited my hiking for almost a month, I was anxious to rebuild my capacity and do more exploring. And in a time of global pandemic caused by urbanization, overpopulation, and globalization – among other failures of our imperialistic industrial society – I was super grateful that two decades ago, long before this man-made disaster, I’d made the decision to move to a region which consists of tiny enclaves of humanity in the midst of vast open spaces with mostly intact natural habitat. At a time like this, my situation couldn’t be in stronger contrast with the situation of most of my friends, who’ve chosen to live in the midst of vast concentrations of humanity surrounding tiny pockets of severely degraded nature.

So until our failing government declares martial law, I can still spend an entire day in wilderness without seeing another human. “Social distancing” – what a cruel joke on those who prize the benefits of big cities. The skyscrapers, the lights, the bustle, the restaurants, bookstores, bars, cafes, and nightclubs. Same as it ever was – the dangerous delusions of industrial civilization.

Today’s hike took me back to the range of canyons, a two-hour drive from home, to an unfamiliar trail that ultimately converged with the first trail I’d hiked there, back in January. This time, I was hoping to reach the crest, in a 12-mile round trip. But three things prevented that: the extreme steepness of the unfamiliar trail, my poor condition after prolonged sickness, and the need for multiple difficult stream crossings at the beginning of the hike.

Despite these challenges, I was able to get closer than before, within about a mile of the crest. And with many, many stops to catch my breath, I managed to climb a little higher than on any previous hike in the past 20 years or more.

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