Despite sore back and shoulder muscles and abundant juniper pollen, our off trail adventure was very rewarding. Hiking amongst the ancient trees, lichens, shrubs, cacti, and amazing rock formations is always deeply moving and connecting with Nature, Earth, and Spirit. Fortunately the scramble up to the soaring rock cliffs was easier than usual.
The only creature we encountered was a dog that had wandered away from someone on the trail below. It had a quick look, and left the way it had come. Other than that, solitude and stillness prevailed.