Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Summer in a weekend

When I lived in the rainforest, there were, on average, 84 days of sunshine. I began to believe, like most of the inhabitants, that this was better. That the constant mist, fog, or downright downpour was worth living there. I forgot about the sun. Who needed it, anyway?

But in the end, the sun won out. Now, eight years since I sailed away on a ferry, I still don't take sunshine for granted. Staying inside isn't an option. I also knew I had to roll 120 days of summer here into one weekend, since we are moving soon.  I was up for the challenge.

First off was a trail run on the end of Thursday. Though I had to dodge snowbanks and slosh through mud, the run restored my faith in humanity and my thought of myself as a runner. If all runs could be like that, I would run every day! Why is it that hiking can almost always be the same but running varies from easy to impossible?

Then it was time to kayak.

I had the lake to myself. This will soon change.
I have to admit that I'm a little frightened by the fear-mongering about crowds in Central Oregon. I hope it isn't as bad as people make it out to be.

The flower strewn hillsides of Chico.
When you move to a new town by yourself  later in life, friendships can be tenuous. Most people have a circle of friends and it can be hard to break in, especially in a place with less than two thousand people, where there are no outdoors clubs to get you started. For the first few years I asked more than was asked. For my hike into Davis Creek, I asked P, whom I had only hiked with once. To my surprise, she started talking about how she liked to do double-digit day hikes and would be interested in backpacking. Score!

Once again, we didn't see a soul except a trio silhouetted on Starvation Ridge, high above us.

The lake is located just below that grey rock at the top of  the picture.
Hope springs eternal,  and on the last day I had off from work, I decided to see how far I could push the snowline. Several out of town backpackers had the same idea. Even after I told them that the trail was completely snow-covered and impossible to follow after it climbed out of the basin, they shrugged and pressed on. "We have microspikes," one couple declared. Good luck with that! I decided to turn around and live another day. I was fine with as far as I made it--five miles up the trail.

My weekend of summer was over, and I trudged back to the computer. I wonder though: if I had every day to choose from, would I appreciate it as much, or would I instead fidget over the massive snowpack keeping me at low elevation?  As much as I am glad to be out of the rain, living in it taught me to accept what was. During gales, you stayed on the beach. If it rained the whole five days of a kayak trip, you dealt with it. There was no waiting for the perfect time, the perfect weather, the perfect trail.

Happy summer, friends!


  1. And happy summer to you....with new lakes, trails and hopefully hiking friends, to explore.

  2. Still buried in snow, but hopefully melting soon.

  3. If you waited for the perfect weather to do outdoor activities, you'd miss out on a lot. Some of the best hikes or ski trips I've had were in crummy weather.

    1. Exactly, I see people holding out for the perfect situation, and if they have the time, great, but I don't. I also have a high tolerance for things like "bad" weather or not so scenic trails. It's still hiking! If I had unlimited time, I might feel differently.

    2. That would be me, Goldilocks!

    3. Ha. I do envy your ability to be choosy. Someday!

  4. Still snow in the Selkirks too. This past weekend had the best Memorial Day weather we've had for several years. Warm days, cool nights are the best.

    1. Same here, I walk around in disbelief. I have been cold for so long.

  5. I love that lake. And Chico Canyon!!! I know you will miss your area this summer for good reason, but I am certain you will discover new beauty (and friends??)!!

  6. I may have made this comment before....

    After living 12 years in Sitka and Ketchikan, when I moved to Fairbanks I had kind of the opposite problem.

    I was so in the habit of always making the most of a nice day that it was hard to not wear myself out. It took a long time to really understand that if today is nice in Fairbanks, tomorrow will probably be, too. And the day after that. Not to mention little darkness in the summer.

    It's nice to live where when you get off work you have "only" 7 or 8 hours of bright daylight left--then a short twilight before it gets bright again.



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