Remote Learning

Remote Learning Drawing from the Toiyabe Crest's Sage Wisdom

A short, stocky Latino man flashed a smile at me from under his wide-brimmed hat, moving his hands back and forth along a narrow ribbon of dirt that had previously been hidden by a thick wall of sagebrush. I’d watched him approaching from a mile away, free hiking across a massive slope with a flock of sheep following, tailed by his trusty sheep dog.

“¡Aaah … camino!” he exclaimed as he strode along the newly liberated path.

“¡Si!” was all I could muster in response, beaming widely, proud of myself for knowing what the man said. It was the first word I had uttered to another human in four days, because he was the first human I’d seen in four days. I stepped to the side of the trail and waved him through a freshly cut path up to the top of the ridge, where his giant white tent was pitched at an elevation of about 10,000 feet above sea level.

“¡Gracias!” he said, vanishing back into the sage with his flock close behind.

I’m not sure what the sheepherder thought of me, a lone, sweaty gringo covered in dirt, holding a cordless reciprocating saw, mowing down sagebrush like it was my life’s mission. It occurred to me that, in a real sense, this has been a life mission for me—at least ever since I first rode the Toiyabe Crest Trail (TCT) in 2016.

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