Here’s a photo of the entrance to the Volcano Wilderness. The dry river in the foreground has cut through several hundred feet of hard lava to create a channel as flat as a highway. I was pretty nervous approaching this place which is evident in my anxious talking in the video I made for this trip (not yet uploaded). I don’t ever remember that level of anxiety in any Japan wilderness, which is strange as the dangers there from bear, boar and giant hornets were much more real than any animal threat here in the desert. I suspect it was the utter remoteness of the area and the huge amount of time and effort it took to trek across miles of trackless desert just to reach this place. And then to enter, well that was another thing… Once inside I kept my wits about me though the utter silence (between the sound of jets passing in the upper atmosphere) is something to get used to. I have a habit of talking to myself when exploring alone and I found myself speaking in a whisper to avoid offending the silence. Without maps or GPS I wound up exiting the wilderness somewhere other than I had hoped which is always a welcome bonus and surprise. The best part of the journey of course was the solitude, which remains with me still despite my return to home, work and community. I sat through several meetings at work today where I felt my mind was sharper and my thinking more clear and sustained than it might otherwise have been had it not enjoyed a respite of nothing, enhanced with emptiness and sustained at last with a taste of the deep and solitary wild.