Tuesday, March 19, 2013

a normal day

Occasionally I stumble upon outdoors blogs where the authors seem to live in a dream world. No job to tether them, but enough money to freely wander. I open up a post: "Guess what! We're in Thailand!" These are people who obviously have it figured out (I wish they would share how).

Alas. Most of us struggle along, saving up for our next trip and waiting for the glorious weekend. Take me, for example. When I started this blog I was a wilderness kayak ranger in Alaska, with plenty to write about each day. I also had shallow roots and a man who was noncommittal as the tide. Things have changed.

So you probably won't be seeing "Hey! I'm in Iceland!" anytime soon. In fact, I decided to write up what an average day looks like. Because really, don't most of us only write about our adventures? It can leave an impression that isn't really true. For all the hours I spend outdoors there are many more that I spend doing this....

0500. Wake in inky blackness (darn time change). The cabin is cold; its sole source of heat beyond a small portable oil heater is wood. Fire has gone out. Once again was too lazy to bring kindling inside. Stumble outside in robe. Hope neighbors don't notice. Husband is up at other cabin taking care of injured dog. Don't hate me because I have two houses. The combined square footage is less than your one house, I am quite sure.

0530. Get out of robe. Working at home lends itself to lazy dressing, but I decided long ago I would mostly forgo the yoga pants and unbrushed hair for a professional appearance. It kind of helps...

0600. Turn on computer. Wait interminably for it to boot. Take deep breath. Where am I working today? I work on recreation and wilderness projects around the country. If it is Alaska today, I close my eyes and remember the musky fish and sea smell, the dense evergreens, the slide of rain off of my face. If it's the southwest, I feel the bake of the sun in the high desert. It's a cheap form of travel.

1200. Time to exercise. What to do today? Quickly assess the situation. Wind, snow, ice? Run in the park? Ride the bike? Power hike? Run it is. I layer up and race outside to make the most of my hour. Think about work as I run. Try not to think about work. Think about weekend instead. Is it going to be warm enough to backpack? Wonder. Worry about mysterious hip pain. Run some more. Go home and shower.

1300-1630. Work, occasionally interrupted by Jehovah's witnesses, a man selling "Meat" from a vehicle (really), Fed Ex (Gear!), a phone call telling me I've won a trip to Bermuda, fire management in the wood stove, persistent pets wanting attention, and having to reboot computer.

1630. Done! Wait interminably for computer to shut down. Pretty soon there will be hours of daylight, enough to go on a short adventure. I live for those days. Now there is only time to attend to the typical: obsess over gear for PCT section hike, check on husband and dog, split wood, work on new novel, yoga. Okay, I'm kidding about yoga. I need to start doing yoga again. 

Get up. Repeat. 

I've said this before, but after twenty something years spent serving the recreating public, most of whom could care less, my heart is finding it harder each day. It's not that I don't think my job is valuable and that I am not grateful I have one, because I do. It's a growing feeling that life is super short combined with a glimpse into a black future, jobless, without health insurance or retirement. How to balance those two things? If you have figured it out, let me know.


  1. I think you need to take that free trip to Bermuda :)

  2. Sounds like you are about due for a new computer!


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