Monday, January 6, 2014

Sorry its been awhile

I apologize for the hiatus, I've been stuck in my head for awhile now, and blogging seemed to drop to the bottom of my list of things to do. I'm not sure if my life is leveling out, but for the moment I have a bit of a return to normalcy. I find that while I'm hiking in particular I'm really able to sort through my thoughts and have fun coming up with long rambly monologues, so here goes, a very long winded update on my recent head space and sad lack of outings.

Lately I find myself somewhat disconnected from my thruhiking daydreams. Something that makes me melancholy and a bit more bitter than is probably appropriate. Other thoughts and worries crowd my head. I have not yet fallen into the marriage or baby crowd but I find myself seduced by another equally huge commitment, a mortgage and a house. As I mindlessly scroll through trails and contemplate possible trips I also find myself thumbing through the local (and not so local...) real estate offerings. Small fixer uppers with garden boxes and walls to tear down and paint to my fancy, small cabins in the middle of nowhere that beg the question of just where the heck would I work and how much of a hermit am I truly?

Then there is work, I enjoy my job but it is by no means easy. I am constantly learning and humbled by what I do not know. I tell myself to study, the training and certification I am working on will not only help me become better at my profession but also make me more marketable when it comes time to find another job (if that's even in the cards). But instead of things like left ventricular end diastolic pressure and tamponade my brain continues to swirl with the Canadian Rockies, the Uinatas, square feet, number of bathrooms, commute time and foreclosure status. My brain is filled with technical medical jargon as I stare at maps and I find myself even more conflicted about life plans.

I am just one of a million people at a crux but its all a bit more relevant when its your own mind that is conflicted and overflowing with possibilities. Settle down, run away, weekend warrior, eternal bum? I hate decisions and these are big ones, avoidance is not working and I find myself constantly making no decisions, which is a huge decision in itself. Self pity much?

Back in November I made a quick trip down to the bay area to visit my mom, with a morning to myself I decided to head up to Barnabe Peak. I had fond memories of the hike and I had been sadly house bound for no good reason for ages so a good hike seemed like just what I needed.

Dirt roads, rolling hills, coyote brush and oak trees, this is what I grew up with and is usually such a happy place for me. And while it was nice to be back in the hills they just don't have the majesty of snow capped mountains. I've known for awhile that while I'm not sure where I'll end mountains are a necessity for me. During this holiday season I find myself constant defensive about the place I currently call home. Say what you will about Reno, my day hikes put me in the sierra foothills. I watch the sun rise and set into the mountains every day, I love rolling hills but they simply do not bring the same peace and majesty I find in the mountains.

I head towards the trail and quickly find that some adjustments need to be made, trail closed. Hmm okay fine the fire road still takes me to the top and I'm yearning for a good climb which I'll still get on the road.

Out of the trees and out into the open, the lack of rain shows me more brown than I anticipated and a sullen haze hangs over the water in the distance. It is still beautiful but not as satisfying as I usually find it. 

Nearing the top I catch a glimpse of movement. For a split second I think I see wild horses and then remember I'm not in Reno. Those are only cows.

The hike leaves me melancholy and with a bit too much time alone with my own thoughts. Back in Reno I work and look at houses. I watch too much TV and never study, hiding from the low temps (3 degrees does not inspire me to venture outside). Days pass and I work overtime while avoiding life. 
The weekend brought a much needed change. I make plans to hike up Mt Rose Sunday with 2 of my amazing coworkers that I am lucky enough to call friends. It will be a full night of work and hopefully a quick nap and a lot of caffeine. Two of us stay over into day shift for a few hours (overtime is abundant this nasty flu season) and after 16 hrs of work and maybe an hour of sleep my phone buzzes reminding me I have plans. It feels like seconds later that I somehow find myself blearily snacking on cookies driving up the mountain. One thirty finds us at the trailhead. Its chilly and a bit hazy down in the valley but gorgeous out. Meghan and I are finally starting to wake up and soon enough find ourselves skating over icy patches of snow looking up at the summitt. Both Jen and Meghan have been in Reno for years and never made it up the mountain so this hike has been in the works for quite some time. We hit Hunter Creek Falls and realize we will never make it back in the light of day. Shrugging it off we continue on, not ready to make that decision quite yet. 

Tahoe shining happily under the deceptively cold sun

After a small break from tramping on continuous snow its back with a vengeance

Almost to the top the views open up even more

The sun is rapidly setting and the temperature is dropping. We book it after a few obligatory photos and hope we can make some good time in the twilight. 

The one incredibly icy section where I doubted the wiseness of our adventure and was reminded of how scared I am of true winter snow travel
And then it was sunset, where I proceeded to take 50 photos of almost the same amazing view. 

Its 24 degrees, my fingers are cold and the car feels cozy and glorious. My friends are bruised and smiling, I luckily avoided any crash landings during our 5 miles of darkness and ice but my friends were not quite so lucky. Meghan in particular is sporting some pretty spectacular bruises and knots. Yet I can't actually count how many times I heard "Oh my god that was amazing." 
I feel slightly disconnected. Standing in the parking lot atop Mt Rose staring out at the sky I remember spending night after night under open sky. I desperately want to keep going, I want those early morning starts and the constant ache of hiking for miles back. I am nowhere near done with longer trips but the appeal of a home base and a paycheck simply won't leave my poor conflicted brain. Poor me, living at the foot of the Sierras, with a job and amazing friends. For now I have no idea what the upcoming season holds but I do know I am excited. Trips continue to rattle around my brain along with square footage, septic systems, cardiac surgery and a million other such minutia. Happy New Years, I'm hoping for a good one. 

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