One Time When We Were Young

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Mt Lassen, 1995

These were my boys and I was one of them. We were all each other’s best friends. We shattered each other, building confidences and telling one another the stories we believed about ourselves and the world, then inevitably re-formed. A unit that was unbreakable and also already fracturing along the lines of life.

We were delightedly foolish together. We built ludicrously large bonfires on the beach of the South Jetty, hiked with outdated maps deep into the Trinity Alps, trespassing on Hoopa tribal lands while we crisscrossed ridges and gulches that didn’t have names, ending up–miraculously–back on a road only minutes (not miles) from our car. We carried heavy, secret beer for miles and miles and drank it warm and fizzy. We slept in a row on the beach underneath all the stars in the universe, listening to the waves rolling from the across the entire sea and woke to find our car drifted to the axles in soft heavy sand. We were safe and free in the outdoors–the rivers and beaches and sprawling redwood forest. We recognized them and they remembered us. We marked time–the time we had no way of knowing was exquisite and irreplaceable–waiting to become grown-ups, to leave.We smoked weak joints and sang loud songs and flirted and talked and held on to each other when it became clear that everything was starting to drift apart. Continue reading “One Time When We Were Young”

First Solo Night Hike

About a month ago, I decided it was time for another solo hike. I’d really like to get myself ready to do a solo overnight this summer. I figured this was a good start. So it couldn’t just be any solo hike. It was also going to be a solo night hike. Because…challenges! 

I’ve hiked the Blue Ridge/Homestead trail near Putah Creek several times, including by myself. It’s a great hike that goes a little over 5 miles and a little over 1500 ft elevation gain. The views are amazing from the top–east into the Sacramento valley and west looking out over Lake Berryessa into the Napa Valley. Every time I’ve been up there I think that it would be an amazing spot to watch the sunrise. 

I got up Monday morning at my usual time (3 a.m.  I know, I know–baker’s life!). On the road by 4 a.m. It’s about an hour drive with one quick stop to blow up the gas station bathroom (I was drinking coffee!) and then buy Skittles because I felt guilty. Also, I wanted Skittles.

I was at the trailhead right at 5 a.m. A couple deep breathes and a last check of my pack and trekking poles and I was ready to go. This was when I realized that my heart was pounding. I had been so focused on getting there that I hadn’t stopped to consider being frightened. There is about a 50 yard road walk from the parking area to the trailhead. This was the scariest part. I didn’t want to be seen by anyone. Either good samaritan or asshole–I figure that a woman walking alone in the middle of nowhere at 5 a.m. will get the attention of pretty much anyone. Every time I heard a car coming, I clicked off my headlamp and faded into the bushes by the road. It took about 10 minutes to reach the trail. Once I was on the trail I had to stop and breathe for a minute; my heart was pounding and I had already broken a sweat. 

Once I started hiking it was good. I’m glad I had my poles, they helped a lot hauling ass up the ridge. As I climbed higher, each switch-back revealed more and more light beginning to creep into the sky. I didn’t stopped at all; I was so determined to be on the top of the ridge at sunrise

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First is the Worst

I’ve been delaying and procrastinating and waffling and dithering about my first post. Because something in me says that it should be epic. Well-crafted and evocative and full of the type of poetic storytelling that I aspire to; that makes you want to journey with me. That I should outline my history, describe my motivation, create a monumental FIRST POST to rival all first posts.

But that isn’t happening. I want to keep this journal/blog because I want to remember. I want to share where I hike and how I do it and, yes, even the big ‘ol WHY. I want to share my history of being outdoors and what I think that means for me and for my children and for the future.

So this isn’t going to be the epic first post that I keep putting off writing. That post is not getting written. This is just my voice. So, let’s take a walk, shall we?