We ease past the grand blue wooden sign. “Solitude”. I always thought the name to be a way of expression towards a somber connection to nature and the nearby world around oneself at any given time. As a first-time summer explorer at the resort, I’m taken back a bit. The leaves and various plant life covering the mountain, filled with hues of greens, yellows, and oranges, feeding off of each other to bring the landscape to its flavorful orchestra of colors. The season was coming to transition, and boasting the best it had to offer. The wheels rolled to a stop; a lot almost vacant in comparison to the average winter rush presented itself to us. Hints of crisp dew on the nearby plants washed through my sinuses, bringing all of the senses together to sculpt this amazing venture into the wild.
Charlie and I travel with purpose, accompanied only by our bags of various colorful plates, the crunchy leaves swaying about ever so gently over the trail, and under our feet. The short trail excursion to start the course off has shown to be a beautiful introduction into the forthcoming wilds of nature ahead. Rocks dig in slightly through the soles of my Asics running shoes, giving me a feel for the landscape. We come up on the first tee box, passing by a vacant winter ski lift seeming lonely, forgotten, and longing for attention; its time will come soon enough. We turn to look over the course, gazing over the immense landscape laid before us, ever so calm, quiet, and empty. A deep realization comes to me noticing just how much we are truly in actual solitude in such a place; I guess the name stuck for a reason. We give ourselves a few moments to breathe and absorb all of the beauty around us, taking a break from obligations to get back to our natural roots. It’s a truly a humbling and amazing experience.
Hole 5 comes about eventually, and both Charlie and I have started to get a feel for the course. It’s hard; real hard. I feel the land out with my toes carefully and cautiously moving about for stability and consistency. The rocks turn into tree bark, as I look up towards a grove of pines. I press myself up onto a collapsed trunk. Many logs now lay in lieu of recent high winds blowing the seasons in. Scanning the wooden graveyard, a slight glimmer of reflective tape circled on top of an orange plate catches my eye. I get two feet closer and stop in my tracks. Looking up to check my target destination, I notice out of the corner of my eye a massive display of natural beauty and intimidation.
“On second thought, I think I’ll drop a disk,” I announce to Charlie, now standing as still as possible.
“Good idea,” he affirms, eyes laid on the majesty before us. A thundering moose.
We stay for a few moments, and I reflect on just how fortunate we are to witness this when all around the world, wildlife areas are suffering from deforestation and losing such beautiful creatures. As Anthony Huxley has written, “They depend on the plants for food, or some part of their life cycle (as indeed many plants depend upon animals). Large-scale forest or grassland destruction wipes out literally thousands of animal species of every type, large and small.” The only thing keeping our moment of amazement and appreciation is the National Forest representation it withholds. From the left, crunching leaves and sticks catch my ear. Calmly swaying my head to the side, I can see another moose has its front hooves planted over some brush, both staring us down now. We decide to make our leave, offering our spot on the hole to its rightful owners.
Huxley, Anthony. Green Inheritance. Fwd. David Attenborough. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1992. 177. Print.