We sleep outside, clothed in sheep’s wool, wrapped in goose feathers with a thin synthetic wall separating us from the blustery night. Close to the fire, close to one another, in the comforts of camp I feel at ease in my surroundings. Early morning, imbibed by this sentiment, I reach the Hunchback Mountain trailhead where lights are already on at the ranger station. Several cars line the parking lot suggesting company on the hill. I rapidly find my stride up the steep trail, springing powerfully from protruding rocks and roots, arms pumping rhythmically. While still outmatched by my four legged companion, I chase her with zeal typically reserved only for the downhill. I move with seemingly inexhaustible physical strength.
As the trees part, the ridge narrows, giving place to ice swept choss, frosty delight lit up by shy sun. This sight, perfect in every way, is beauty you'd want to steal. And, we do try in these festive times. Cut a tree down, spray it with glitter, cover it in tinsel, so we can curl up on the couch to watch our dressed up imitation of nature from the confines of our living rooms. We seek comfort through control, control through familiarity. I follow signs along the beaten path, where every ounce of wild left out here is shielded from my perception by the arrogant stamp of the human. Or is it?