A Deeper Appreciation


That’s me, inside the Wave Cave, in the Superstition Mountains. A little backstory …

The Superstitions was my first wilderness stop in Arizona. With my guide and host, and now dear friend, Leanna, we did two hikes, plus a explore a nearby reserve. Then I headed north, but not before committing myself to come back.

This time we did another two hikes, plus a guided night walk. Each new hike built on the experience of the earlier ones. With each footstep, each pause to take in the view, each gasp of exhaustion, each sip of water, the appreciation deepens. What begins as an introduction eventually resolves into a profound sense of connection. Then you reach a certain tipping point where your soul is no longer contained in your body. It has burst out onto the land.

Boundaries break down. You feel your spirit nurturing you from within, but you also sense it in every rock, every tree, every breath of wind. A relationship develops, a sense of oneness emerges, no self, no other.

It’s kind of like that when a friendship blooms. Leanna gave me a strong sense of that.

So back to our Wave Cave. We had a 990-foot ascent in 90 degree heat over a lot of loose rock. Toward the top, it got really steep and I found myself walking like John Cleese doing his Minister of Silly Walks routine.


This is the terrain Leanne and I were scrambling over. Here’s a macro view …


And here’s a micro view …


Near the top was particularly strenuous, and I found myself taking numerous breaks. My legs were rubber. The air I breathed seemed devoid of oxygen. Here is the mouth of the cave, our destination …


That’s me, below the “wave,” playing my didgeridoo. Those last 50 feet to the cave seemed like 50 miles. When I finally reached my destination and cast off my pack and plopped onto the sandy surface, I felt as if I would never get up. Then a funny thing happened. I spotted this guy …


The little guy and his family were about to leave when I noticed his tee shirt. This was too good to pass up. Next thing – don’t ask me how – it’s like I haven’t experienced the rigors of the hike. Next thing, I’m blasting away on my didgeridoo. Next thing, I’m putting on a show. Today, my didge really wanted to play, and the sound fairly resonated off the cave walls. Good vibes. The kid and his family loved it. So did I. Other hikers in the cave burst into applause. Ah, my fifteen seconds of fame …


My view looking out of the cave. The hike down was a breeze. Just one more interaction …


It just happened to be International Hug a Cactus day. In case you’re wondering, I just happened to notice that for some reason this big boy possessed no pointy bits. I think Leanna is getting used to me, by now. Ah, friendship. Tomorrow, I will be hitting the road, but I am hardly driving out of Leanna’s life. Nor will I be loosening my connection to the magic of this wonderful piece of earth.

Deeper appreciations linger. Inevitably, they change you. Inside – and out.



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