48 hours ’till Siberia

48 hour 'till Siberia. I'll arrive half an hour after sunset. It'll be dark then. I'm thinking perhaps I'll leave the motorcycle at the ghost town ruins, and night hike immediately after I arrive. Instead of packing the motorcycle with my camping gear, I'll instead prepare my three-day tactical bag, and wear it while riding all the way out to the desert. This is easy to do, as I can simply loosen the pack's shoulder straps and allow the bike's pillion seat to carry the pack's full weight. This way, I just get off the bike when I arrive, tighten the straps, and start walking into the dark.

For this hike I'll go perhaps a mile north from Siberia into the near edge of the Deep Water Wilderness. This will be my first real overnight in the desert-and away from the reassuring touch of civilization-in over three decades. A homecoming of sorts.

The last time I did a night hike like this I was very young. I remember that night well. I remember emerging from my tent deep in the night to admire the rising moon. I remember the warm empty promise of the desert night wind. I remember feeling so small and frail, standing naked and barefoot on the sand in the vast and empty night. The great, dark desert illuminated with faint pale moonlight. The only man on Earth it seemed. It's possible my nihilism can be traced to this moment, or moments like this. There were many then.

I wonder how my much older mind will react to this same experience 48 hours from now? Things are very different now. I'm a family man now. I have solid life objectives now. I have sound principals now. I have deeply meaningful purpose now. I know and recognize The Great Indifference now. I don't fear the empty. Death is a wondrous, perhaps utterly final mystery to me now. I no longer pretend I've out-thought death's mystery, and I no longer pledge allegiance to any comforting story of forever. I now instead await and welcome whatever strange, wondrous or terrible reality really awaits. I think I'm ready for whatever I'll now find in the night.


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