Following the end of the community forum which I describe here, my cohorts and I headed to what would become our home for the week. We were staying at the A. W. Way Campgrounds, better known as the “A Way.” It was a pleasant location, mostly open, but with enough trees to provide some shade. We decided to stay in a quiet, out-of-the-way section that contained a good amount of greenery. We pitched our tents, and then most of my cohorts left to check out the nearby swimming holes. However, I decided to remain behind.
I had been carrying a study about the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in my backpack for months, and I decided that this was the perfect time to read it. So I sat down on a nearby bench and began transporting my mind to the Swiss Jura Mountains. But it would not stay there for long.
Upon glancing up, I was suddenly confronted by the splendor of my surroundings. Looming over me was a low but imposing mountain, flanked on either side by tree-covered cliffs. They were simultaneously intimidating and welcoming, and I was impressed by their beauty. But I also felt ashamed. Here I was, engrossing myself in a far-away landscape, while ignoring the natural wonders around me. This is an issue that frequently haunts my mind. Why am I so obsessed with “exotic” animals like jaguars, when the wildlife in my area is just as fascinating? By always chasing distant goals, by always trying to keep moving, am I blinding myself to the opportunities before me? I wonder if keeping my eyes locked on the road ahead is leading me to miss the metaphorical mountain right beside me.
But my pondering could not go on forever. Before long my cohorts returned, and we had a delicious and light-hearted dinner. A remarkable woman had cooked it and driven all the way from Arcata (a journey of multiple hours) to bring it to us. I do not want to share her name to respect her privacy, but if you happen to be reading this, know that I am grateful!
Then after a bit of socializing, my cohorts and I passed our first night in our new home. We had had a full first day in the Mattole, but day two would prove just as eventful.
I apologize for how long it took me to publish this post. I am much busier than I was during the summer due to school, and I must not fall too far behind on more cat-related posts. Therefore it might take me some time to finish this Mattole series.