Saddle Up Saloon; Walk About

Written by D. Avery @shiftnshake

       Read my writing and see my books at

July 6, 2020

Saddle Up Saloon

“Dang it, Pal, what’s she doing here? I told ya! Barely been a week an’ here she is. Cain’t jist leave us be.”

“Lighten up, Kid. Don’t fergit, ever’one’s welcome at the Saddle Up Saloon, even our writer. Now shush…. Howdy, D. Avery.”

“What d’ya want?”

“Nice to see you too Kid. Hello Pal. I was just out wandering.”

“So yer lost?”

“No! I recognized the Saloon, thought I’d wander in.”

“Ya got lost!”

“No, Kid, all who wander aren’t lost. More important, even though I don’t always know where I am, I know where I’m not.”

“So here ya are. Jist ignore Kid. Seems ta have a permanent burr unner the saddle. What ya been up to?”

“Walking old trails, Pal, checking out new ones. Look at this.”IMG_1830.jpg

“Oh, thet’s purty. Thet along one a yer trails?”

“Nowadays it’s a public trail, but as a kid I used to fish that brook when the softwoods were so thick it was like cool dark night at noon time along there. It’s out back of my old high school; friends and I used to ski this area in our free periods. I’ll admit, it’s much better skiing now with the groomed trails. There’s a lot of steep back there.”

IMG_1835“So, you like ta jist check up on things in thet neck a the woods?”

“Yeah, I guess so. And it’s an honor to be one of the featured poets on the Poetry Loop. That Loop got me thinking that maybe you two might want to blaze a trail from the saloon.”

“Hate ta admit it, Avery, but that ain’t a bad idea. Could start at the Poet-tree.”

“You’re smelling what I’m stepping in Kid.”

“An’ this bein’ a world wide establishment, we could cut quite a trail! Mebbe ask folks ta share their familiar favorite walks with us here at the saloon. Mebbe they’d share an inspiration from their walkin’ place. Wouldn’t be at all surprised ta see the Poet Lariat spin some syllables.”

“Why here she is now! Hey Jules!


fearless too young to

understand consequences 

adventure drew me


Now I’m on the flip side getting senior discounts. But I still like me a good stroll in the woods. Theres a special word for that shirin-yoko – forest bathing. And I got to venture up some really nice trails up at Hawk Mountain which is part of the Blue Mountain Ridge and Appalachian Mountain Range. Besides the hawks you can see Bald Eagles and just a great expanse of the valley below. But you need to be prepared. Bring your own water and snacks and always only leave footprints. Best to do with a companion or group… though that takes away some of the being alone and enjoying the woods. 


old enough to know

wandering off alone might

not be at all smart


0.png“Thet one’s a trailblazer in poetic forms I’m thinkin’.”

“Yep. Might jist inspire other folk. ”





“Kid, ya reckon we should enlist the Ranger ta hep folks along the trail? Ya know she’s a tramper of moors. Here’s a picture from the route a her guided walk through Jane Eyre territory. If’n ya zoom out ya kin jist ‘bout see the manor house which is supposedly Charlotte Brontë’s inspiration for Thornfield.”

North Lees from Cattiside 8 March 2020

“Jeez, Pal, ya almost sound like ya know what yer talkin’ ‘bout. Here’s what Anne Goodwin has ta say ‘bout all her moor trampin’:

A bee buzzes past my ear as a meadow pipit springs from among the purpling heather. A tortoiseshell and small heath butterfly weave in and out of each other’s flight paths. Across the shoulder-high bracken, the knock-knock of a stonechat. A patchwork of field and forest spread across rolling hills. My conscious mind on nothing else, I’m surprised when it comes to me: the resolution to a plot problem; a delicious image; a perfect phrase. A story that unfolds a little farther each time my boot hits the peat.

Of course, some gets lost in the drive home, but nothing beats a walk across my beloved moors to progress my writing. Treading familiar paths, I recognise, not just the landmarks, but the ideas I’ve formulated there over the years. The steady rhythm puts me in that state of reverie that nourishes creativity. A long walk not only carries me over the hurdles I’ve met in my fiction, but ameliorates the physical ills generated by long days at a computer.

Anne’s talked b’fore how her walkin’s related ta her writin’. An’ lissen ta this from her Early morning walks in the age of covid, her latest Carrot Ranch flash:

Home to breakfast not rocked with rage but inspired by writerly blossom.

Wunder how many folks is like that when they git out an’ walk.”

“Mebbe they’ll let us know in the comments. Hey, is that…?”


“Look agin. Thet’s Charli Mills hersef, come by ta share her walkin’ place with us.”


Over gnarled roots gripping ever-eroding dunes of silica sand, I step. The settled grains of quartz form a drum skin and my steps become a sacred beat. I pause. Breathe deeply of cool air and sun drenched pine needles. The surf is lulled tonight, casting pinks and lavenders across the lake that is absorbing a molten copper sun. I walk on the edge of forest and beach and tumbled rocks of the earth’s record. Trivial matters of modern living fade with each step. I am the drummer. Absolved.”

“Whoa. Thet’s some real fine writin’ Shor— Charli Mills.”

“Ahem. Ms. Mills? You know that’s eleven less than ninety-nine, right?”

“Now you lighten up, Avery. Thet don’t matter. Folks kin write any amount they want fer this, an’ kin write any form or genre they want.”

“So I could use this haiku?

walking in circles

all who wander are not lost

simply on their way


“Yep. Seems like thet circles back ta where we started, with ya wanderin’ in from the Poet’s Loop.”

IMG_1834.jpg“It is quite a loop. The selected piece for station #11 is 99 words written for a Carrot Ranch prompt! Superior was inspired by a day at the inland sea up at World Headquarters. Guess all roads, even roads home, lead through Carrot Ranch.”

“Reckon. If yer roamin’ this way. Hey, where ya goin’?”

“Me? I’m going for a walk!


taking a first step

getting out of my own way

feet lift off the ground


See you later Pal. Kid. Good luck catching stories and poems of Ranchers’ walks this week.”

“Yep, folks, do tell. Where do you walk? What inspires the walk? What does the walk inspire? What’s yer walk about?

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  1. TanGental

    Is this a cheat
    My latest book, out last month takes its setting from a week’s walk I undertook with my dad and friends. The walk stretches from Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds just south of Stratford and finishes 110 miles later in Bath. We had a delightful time which is more than can be said for the three friends in my novel. The only link is the rain!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Not a cheat, but a colorful and clever response to the prompt. Will you ever write the actual week’s walk with your father as a memoir? A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson, is an amusing read about walking the Appalachian Trail.
      Wow, so your walks generate full novels. Walk on!

      • TanGental

        The scene where Katz’s snicker bars bring a bear and Bryson’s attempts to work out how to use his anti bear protection has to be one of the funniest written. If i could capture that…

      • TanGental

        You kindly read it when it was dreadful . It’s been rebuilt totally. If you ever felt like reading it now to comment…!!

      • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

        I’ll gladly add it to my TBR pile. I think it’s very hard to write about characters as a group, although can be great fun to read and write.

      • TanGental

        I’ll happily send you a copy if you remind of your address via email!

      • TanGental

        Great if you did. Still happy to send it at an author’s copy price.

    • Charli Mills

      Not a cheat, just dang good timing! Love the cover!

      • TanGental


  2. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Reblogged this on ShiftnShake and commented:

    Walk deliberately or just wander over to the Saddle Up Saloon. This week the saloon has become a trailhead, a place for you to share a comment, short poem or prose piece, or even a link about walking, favorite walks, or the relationship between walking and writing. Leave footprints!

  3. Jules

    Thanks for Pal and Kid and D. Avery for inviting me to blaze some trials here by the Poetree.

    They selected some fine parts of my offering. I’ve added some different photos that I found of the boardwalks when they were new… they didn’t quite look that way when I walked ’em .And included a bit about when I got my rebel self lost as a youngin’ Trailblazing?

    There’s something soul soothing about the shade of trees. Even when a body has to watch out for biting bugs and plants that make you itch.

    Another trail I wondered was somewhere in Up State New York, back behind an old cabin we used to go up to some summers. The Fire Trail and other trails kept changing… but supposedly a Native American princess was buried up there. I think some other’s found some arrow heads. Though I never did.

    Here’s to happy trails… That reminds me of when I was a little tyke and Roy Rogers and Dale Evans used to sing “Happy Trails to you until we meet again… ” Let’s make some new good ol’ days!

    Stay safe everyone, The Poet Lariat ~Jules

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Thanks Jules.

      I almost always come home with something from a walk, if not an arrowhead, at minimum a rock, sometimes a find that requires return with a truck. Sometimes the find is simply the hint of another trail to be explored another day.

      Might be a typo but I am eying that line “another trail I wondered”…

      • Jules

        I suppose it could go either way … but probably should be wandered. If I think about it … I might fix it. Thanks.

      • Jules

        Oh… And yes… I am always on the look out for treasures. The other day I found a small feather on a park trail and knew it belonged to an owl because a few years ago an owl left me a big feather in my yard. 😀

      • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

        My voice recognition software constantly confuses wonder / wander!

      • Liz H

        Wonder…wander…if it can work for a Christmas carol, why not here?

    • Charli Mills

      Cheers to happy trails, Jules!

  4. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

    Thanks for featuring me and my walks at the saloon. Smiling again at your contribution to the poetry trail. And I have a Hardwick walk 5 minutes’ drive from my house!!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Most every New England state has a Hardwick. Okay, most all our town names are from Old England.
      I like the idea of the Poetry Loop, 12 stations along the way, little weather proof cases along the way enclosing a poem and brief bio. I’m included because, well, sometimes it’s who you know.
      Thank you very much for sharing your walks and insights! I can think of a few flash pieces and poems of mine that came directly from impressions or observations from a walk and a walk often gets the puzzle to fall into place. But never if I actually have a pen and paper with me.

      • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

        On longer walks if I’m out all day I sometimes jot things down record on my phone, mostly because I know I won’t have time to write it properly when I get back. What’s working really well for me right now is an hour’s early morning double circuit of nearby fields and back to my desk – and breakfast – with the inspiration gleaned.

    • Charli Mills

      And the Ranch my family worked when I was born was the Hardwick Ranch. The Old namesakes continued west.

      • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

        I’ll fight you both for the original – mine is Bess of Hardwick, a woman of many marriages and many notable buildings in this part of the world – I guess she didn’t design them but did commission and pay for them.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Oh, be careful bringin yer Bess a Hardwick roun here. She might become a character. So you say she designed and commissioned marriages, ay? I heard she use ta run with Monreal Dorb.

  5. H.R.R. Gorman

    Very clever way of zipping all that together!

    I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachians, and I find it interesting there’s also a Blue Mountain Ridge! That’s grand. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      I could get lost with interchanging names, H.!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Was up by Mt. Hunger the other day. Not to be confused with Hunger Mountain.

      So? You a walker or a wanderer?

      • H.R.R. Gorman

        Walker – I usually have a goal with anything I do.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Walking or wandering will get you where you end up.

  6. Liz H

    So this is my bit on walking, which is mostly about skiing, but is also about coping with COVID fears and heatwaves. Perhaps “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…”

    (I have a wonderful photo of a snowy January morning, from a trail by a running creek, but have not the technical skills or web-programming know-how to embed it in this comment…)

    Six Months Ago…

    It’s been hot here in the Twin Cities.

    Hot and humid.

    Hot and humid and COVID.

    So much so, that folks are divided on whether to wear masks or not, and what the actual distance of six feet looks like: whether distance is different in an enclosed space versus an open space, whether the current air filtration system is adequate to dispel the exhalations (the coronavirus soup), whether six feet is buffer enough when one is active, whether adding a drink or two to the mix makes for exponential risk…
    [To see the photo, and the rest of the post]

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Thank you Liz! I strolled over to your Valley, and sure glad I did. I love skiing. (Cross country- is there any other kind?)

      • Liz H

        I’ve heard tell of downhill in stiff boots…but I prefer my own fairy tale slow glides.
        (Oh my…that sounds just…wrong! Definitely need to get off the computer and out in the fresh, clean air…!) 😮


  1. Six Months Ago… – From the Valley of the Trolls - […] Carrot Ranch Saddle Up Saloon (07/05/2020): Yep, folks, do tell. Where do you walk? What inspires the walk? What…

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