It is a trying time for those of us who live to be out in the wilderness. Yesterday I struggled against a powerful wind, carving out my first run since the knee incident. (I'm glad to report that all seemed fine, although my knee is turning an intriguing shade of yellow.) At one point I was basically running in place, the wind was that strong. However, some people who were sitting at the trailhead in their car gathering up their courage saw me and were shamed into getting out. I'm always glad to do my part.
Today I arrived at the lake trailhead only to find an ominous sheet of ice covering the tread. Normally I would have donned my spikes and forged upward, but memories of my fall lingered and my new mantra thundered through my head: Must not get injured before JMT. Crankily I drove to the gym.
Right now we are under a flood watch, the rivers rising rapidly and turning chocolate. Snow is coming to the mountains and rain to the lower elevations. What that means for us is mud and more mud. My driveway has turned into a sloppy, bottomed-out mess that defeats the Fed Ex guy and scares the neighbors. I lurch along it in 4WD. The dogs merrily track mud everywhere and they are turning brown instead of their normal white.
Perhaps because of this, we sit and detail all the hikes we plan to do when we can get into the wilderness. We know it is months away. Even the canyon is lost to us right now, the lone access road a snarl of slippery mud that I am not willing to take on.
What do you do to keep your spirit alive when you can't do what sustains you? I look over JMT guidebooks and bully my hiking partners into making decisions. I make backpacking plans for the rest of the summer. I make gear lists. I keep writing my Alaska memoir, kind of, and my seasonal park service memoir, mostly in my head. I run on the moraine and in endless loops around the tiny state park. I work on cabin remodeling. Although these are all worthy pursuits, I feel like I am in a holding pattern. I wait for ice to melt. I wait for snow to recede. I wait for the rivers to calm, the country to soak in all the rain and the hillsides to turn green. The years go so fast now but the seasons so slowly. Winter was good but it's time for it to move on. Time to put on a backpack and head out.
|The lake with whitecaps today.|