On safari near the South Africa Botswana border I stopped and stared for a good 20 minutes. “What are you looking at” enquired Sarah “The light” I replied “It’s different. It’s clearer. Sharper. You can see more because of the light”. It was like looking at a HDTV screen, or a retina screen, when you had only ever seen a standard screen. In Europe our light is standard. In the African bush it is retina. You have to experience it to fully appreciate it.
That was 8 years ago, and now I am having the same experience – only it’s the air rather than the light. The air in the Rocky Mountains is different to the air I normally breathe. I can easily sense the difference between country air and Istanbul air – but Rocky air is on a whole new (elevated) level. You feel the chill of it hit first your throat and then your lungs. After the chill comes the feeling that your lungs are working at increased efficiency and then this air comes back down your nose, opening the sinuses. You feel purified. I just stood still and breathed. In and out. After you have pushed your body hard you get an endorphinal high that wafts through the body causing pain to mix with pleasure. Standing still, breathing in the air at Lake Sprague, I had only the pleasure.