Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here, Part 3 is here, Part 4 is here, Part 5 is here, Part 6 is here, Part 7 is here, Part 8 is here, Part 9 is here, Part 10 is here
I spent three days at Grandpa Bear's preparing for my vision quest. He told me how to get to a campsite that would be good for my purpose. He stressed that he wasn't sending me somewhere that was beyond my hiking skills, but I was still frightened.
At the end of the time, I put on my hiking shoes and shouldered the large backpack with just enough food and water to keep me alive. Grandpa Bear warned me not to come back for four days, to give me enough time to recieve the message that the spirits had for me. Then he shooed me out the door with a quick hug.
I picked a pace that I was sure I could keep for several hours and strode along the trail Grandpa Bear had told me about. At first, the miles and miles of sand and brush of the Southwest were intimidating. Then they were just boring.
I sighed and watched my feet as I walked. There was nothing but rocks and skeletal-looking plants to see for miles. I missed tv and people and walls and paintings and...
A tiny gray thing moved right over my foot. I jumped back, yelping, and promptly lost my balance. I landed on my butt with a sharp jolt, but I barely noticed. My eyes darted around trying to find the thing that had surprised me.
I caught a movement to the side and my head whipped around to follow it. My neck popped, releasing a sharp pain followed by an odd warmth that flooded my neck and jaw.
I groaned and flexed my neck, struggling to my feet with the heavy backpack. I readusted the weight, staring down at my boots, before taking a deep breath and continuing my trudging walk.
Around sunset, I reached the small rock formation that Grandpa Bear had described. As he'd said, there was enough of an overhang to provide some shelter for my sleeping blankets. I laid them out with my pack at the foot, then built a small fire just in front of the overhang. A small metal pot and some of Grandpa Bear's vision tea made a comforting drink to go with the bit of beef jerky I chewed on for my dinner.
Soon, the physical effort of my hike and the quickly cooling desert air had me dozing off.