When hiking around LA, every time I reached a peak and would look out over the city, or into the rugged mountains of the San Gabriel's, I would search the skies for birds. Usually I would see one from a distance and wonder, "Is it an eagle? Is it a hawk?" To my disappointment, 99% of the time I would discover that it was just a raven. "Oh, it's just a raven."
This routine seemed to unfold time and time again.
I don't recall when the switch in my mind occurred. Eventually, as I climbed the mountains, I would see a bird in the distance and wonder, "Is it an eagle? Is it a hawk?" Then exclaim, "Oh, it's the raven!"
While on the PCT, the routine changed a little more. While hiking along a high mountain ridge somewhere, the question became, "Is it the raven? Yes, it is the raven!!"
They have become constant companions in every mountain range my feet have stepped upon. Without fail, despite the weather, despite the elevation, the raven has been there to offer its greetings when hiking through and over the mountains. Now, no longer a pest, I am happy to offer my greetings as well. I still cringe however, when I see such magnificent beasts eating trash in a filthy ally. "Don't eat here," I want to say. "Head for the mountains!"