Sunday, January 10, 2021

Building the adventure list

 "Working sux," I texted to my friend.

She responded immediately. 

"OMG, you read my mind."

I love my friends. They get me, and are a bright spot in a world that seems completely insane and mean. (New Zealand, are you sure you won't take an old gal with no marketable skills?)

I fumed at my desk, trying to find gratitude. This year, an immense number of my co-workers were able to retire at very young ages, thanks to being hired in their early twenties and completing the minimum years. While I would not trade my twenties for anything-they were adventurous and so, so fun-I admit to some jealousy when people take to Facebook to ask snarkily what day it is, concluding "Every day is Saturday!" and stating that they can hike whenever they want.

"Your quads are really tight," my friend the physical therapist pronounced. "That could be your problem. Also, your back is weak." I felt a little outraged. After all, I lift weights a lot! I stretch! But although no other problems have emerged as a result of getting older--I can still hang with the best of them--it is this: your body can only compensate for so long, some muscles uncomplainingly taking over the roles of the lazy others. The truth is, my job is sendentary most of the time. Sitting still, or even standing still at my standing desk, is really, really bad. 

With the above factors in mind--surviving more years of the 9 to 5 (or, more accurately, 0630 to 1630), I decided there was only one thing to do--build a 2021 Adventure List. I needed things to look forward to, and make all the stretching and strengthening worth it.

In a normal year, my Adventure List would have more long distance trails on it. But since I won't be able to get a vaccine until the dregs of the barrel, I had to think about more local pursuits. There are about six lakes left on my Eagle Cap Wilderness named lakes to visit. These are the hardest, the most out of the way, the ones needing GPS and maps and a buddy. It's on, lakes!

I studied the maps to stitch together a couple of routes that would encompass a 100 mile hike in the wilderness. This wilderness is narrow, and our common saying is, "if you want to go long, you need to include the Minam." That is a long river corridor from which you must climb on little-used trails, cursing the day you ever had that idea. But I really miss those longer trips, where you can completely escape. Bring it, Minam!

Because the mountains will be shrouded in snow for months, I had to come up with some winter pursuits as well. There's some cabins to ski into, and the canyon opens up early enough for some spring backpacking. And just in case, I sneaked the Arizona Trail and the Grand Canyon on there. Might as well dream. Friends flew to Hawaii--maybe I can go to Arizona safely?

So nothing epic, hyper-local mostly, but if this year has taught me anything, it is to re-evaluate my surroundings, take in the the little things, and be grateful for what I have. To let go of what doesn't work anymore.

This was me on the PCT in 2014. Someday the world will be open again.

As for work, there is no getting around it. I'll keep stockpiling my salary for big adventures, should they ever return. The other day I saw a woman on video camera who was obviously using a mini stepper. A lady after my own heart. Keep on rocking in the free world, workers! We will all make it to the other side.

Do you have an adventure list for 2021? 


11 comments:

  1. Hang in there! Retirement will come quicker than you think. I like your attitude about looking around for local adventures. Of course, you live in a wonderful place so I'm sure it won't be hard to find them.

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    1. Everyone says it will go fast but those people are all retired. Ha. I am lucky to live where I do. Years of adventure.

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  2. My No 1 adventure for this year was to hike the Mont Blanc Circuit. That is certainly not going to happen. I thought I had found an Aussie replacement but even though our Covid is pretty much under control, border closures may prevent that. I've been waiting 5 years to hike Queensland's Caernarvon Gorge, with a friend. It looks like this will finally happen in May. Good luck with your plans.

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    1. Ooh I want to hike that Circuit too! But nobody wants Americans! I am looking forward to reading about your adventures.

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  3. I saved my money and got out as soon as I could. I live in a pretty boring place compared to those mountains you have, but I average 280 miles a month of walking and jogging. And the weights are right here in my house where I can use them. I don't apologize at all for enjoying 2-3 hours of exercise a day. My cubicle was killing me and I'm glad I got out.

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    1. I am right there with it killing me. I would love to exercise that much! You are doing great!

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  4. I just ordered a walking treadmill for under my desk. I stand all day, but moving would be better.

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  5. I always just have micro-plans. I kept telling myself once the kids graduated my life would slow down. It hasn't yet. Hopeful this summer will be slower. But, then again I did go and add a new furbaby to the mix.

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  6. Hi Mary, I agree working sucked, sort of, lol. My 30 years of taking care of remote fishing lodges during the Winter was the best job ever. The only bad thing was, I couldn't go anywhere to stay overnight. But, I enjoyed it. Then I bought my remote lake property and then my village property so, I knew it was time to retire and have fun.I have brand new snowmachines to go all over the local trails. 3 hr ride to my remote cabin. I have places to take my snowboard to away from crowds (covid)and I still harvest my own trees,cut and split by have. I do get my exercise. You're a gal, I could not see trapped by a desk. Take care and Happy New Year

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  7. I am not optimistic about any sort of Big Adventure happening in 2021. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. I'm also thinking about putting together a more local project for summer — a traverse of a long ridgeline in the Indian Peaks or circumnavigating Rocky Mountain National Park. Or maybe I'll finally hike the Colorado Trail. Not exactly local, but I can mostly be self supported if needed.

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