Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Running down a dream

I've never been the  kind of person who needs motivation, like a race to train for. Most days I want to run, or hike, or kayak, or ride my bike.(the exception being the gym. I drag myself there.) In the beginning of 2014, though, I decided I needed a Big Thing to do, and that was spend fifty nights in the backcountry, preferably in wilderness, arriving there by human power. 

Fifty nights doesn't sound like a lot until you start to do the math. Or when you have a full-time job. Or when you live in a place with abundant snow. Despite being "gone all the time", as a friend said recently, I'm only at #36. Still, I have until the end of January 2015. Totally doable, right?

Well. Not much keeps me out of the woods. Not music festivals, rodeos, parties, even (sorry) my husband (though I do rush back home to see him). Until now. THIS:


 I have a four week old kitten, abandoned by its mom. I've been bottle-feeding him and he is pretty cute. How can I leave him?

Luckily, everyone loves Puffin and I've been able to sneak away, to places like this:
Jewett Lake!

Still, the fifty nights is in danger of not happening. I'm okay with that. Along the way it became less about the adventure than about the number. Sort of like my marathon training days, when I faced a 22 mile run in horizontal rain. You have to really want it, and I'm more the type of person who likes to wake up and decide what sounds good that day. Warm and sunny? Let's swim in the lake! No tourists? Let's trail run! Awful wind and snow? Okay, the gym it is. I think this approach has helped me stay interested in exercise.

I may still get to fifty. I have a trip planned to Big Bend National Park with friends I met at the Grand Canyon last December. There will be overnights here and there until the snow shuts us down. I'm okay with forty, though, or forty-five. Big Things are good, but it's okay to make them Smaller Things.

The other day I was sleepily heading out of Six Mile Meadow at six am, bound and determined to get to the trailhead in two hours despite the rocky tread. A trail runner I often see hove into view, enroute to an 18 miler. "Where have you been?" she asked. I thought for a minute. Then it came to me. "Everywhere."

And that's how I feel about this summer, guys! I may not get to fifty, but I've been everywhere that matters.


  1. I think 36 is pretty impressive.

  2. Old song adaptation: "You've been everywhere, man, you've been everywhere." And the bonus: Almost all of them have been in lovely, wild places!

  3. Everywhere and more! Places many women will never get to experience.


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