Drunk On All Of It

I am absolutely drunk on this day. All of it. Not the sloppy kind of drunk where you overshare and have regrets the next day. No, I mean drunk like a soft buzz. Where colors are brighter and the world seems incredibly tolerable, if only in the moment.
Drunk with the newness of it. Drunk with confidence. Drunk with delight.
As I poured myself into the tub last night, I realize I am changing faster than I can note. It’s not important stuff really, just notable to me. The muscle is no longer taut, skin no longer smooth and what is happening with my hair ?
These legs, with scars from three surgeries, carry me places others can only dream of. This heart, these lungs, this spirit … it’s powerful when mixed with a little mountain air. Despite the rise and fall of the body, I am more powerful than ever. Determined like never before to live the width of my life, not just the length.
Last night I mapped out my morning to venture higher and further into the dry rocky terrain of Rainier than I’ve ever been. A friend has been twice this week and I couldn’t help but be inspired. I am a mountain girl. I love the meadows, but my heart is happiest on rock and stone. I like the solidness of it. I like the reliability. I like its unchanging character. I love the scree and the dust and the jagged edges and the fact that it asks you to engage in a very physical, intimate way. Maybe I love the climb.
I continue to have thoughts that next year and the years that follow will see more free time for me, but possibly less mobility. Gone are the days of taking things for granted. The new plan is to live NOW. You know, in an Erma Bombeck kind of way.
Use the good china, put out the good towels, buy the Tillamook ice cream, get the extra-sharp white cheddar. Write the letter, say the words, dance … stay up to watch the moon rise and then the sun rise. And stay out until it sets again in a different sky.
Go ahead, buy the shoes, take the trip, get the car, write the story, live outside the margins, see everything you can see. I mean, what are we saving it for anyway ?
All this to say that I hopped in Kelly’s car (she has been so awesome since mine died ♡) at astronomical twilight to watch the world around me awaken. And what a glorious morning it was. Here is what you will see:
Sourdough Ridge
Burroughs Mountain trail from Frozen Lake
Second Burroughs
Third Burroughs (and exploring !)
Sunrise Rim trail
GPS data for the day
The elevation gain is around 2400 feet and I felt every step. My body is pretty good for around 6-7 miles, after that it’s a crapshoot. At mile 8 today I was ready to be done.
At Third Burroughs, staring at that Winthrop glacier, I was mesmerized. I could not look away. It was breathtaking to see the jagged edges of blue-green ice. I chatted at length with two different men today about how pictures just can’t do it justice. And yet, I probably took 300 anyway.  I also got a tip on a long hike I want to do next summer (though I’ve already forgotten the name).
Epic adventure for me today. The clouds rolled in as I was heading back, but even then, the mountain had on quite a fine fluffy hat. It made today feel special. It made me feel special.




10 Comments on “Drunk On All Of It

  1. Thank you for your gorgeous photos, and your absolutely stunning and heartfelt words!!! I love “live the width of life, not just the length of it.” As someone who has had 14 orthopedic surgeries, and just found out I have yet another huge cartilage tear in my knee, I know what it feels like to sometimes not be able to do all I want to, but still try to find beauty in the small things and take every step with a sense of gratitude. Can I ask permission to share your post with all of my hiking friends?

    • Oh no, not more knee trouble. I am so sorry to hear that. I’m retiring from the P.O. end of October at which time my whole life opens up again. New chapter.
      Maybe you can live vicariously through me until you’re climbing those mountains again. I have plans ! And I would absolutely love for you to share my blog. Thank you ❤

  2. I can thoroughly understand how this was/is your new very favorite place. Your photo-journaling has taken on a naked feel to it – exposed, raw and yet gentle. I am seeing thru your eyes, hearing your voice and nearly feeling the good ache. A new strength that goes more than muscle deep…*

    • Yes, these days my senses are heightened to the n’th degree. Attentiveness, awareness, observance are all my friends whether it is in my own body or the great body of work that I get to walk around in every day. Thank you for seeing me …*

  3. Beautiful photos. Most especially, though, I love the words. Just gorgeous. And I’m so impressed you got to Third Burroughs! I’m looking for a hike for the end of the week, if the sun returns. It won’t be this one. Well done, in every way!

    • Thank you, Gretchen. When I set my mind on something and my body follows, it’s such an awesome feeling. I was proud of this one. I have stopped letting others ability dictate what I can or cannot do. Trusting myself feels really good these days. Thanks for seeing and understanding that part. You get it. 

  4. Your blog is great!! Thank you!! Loved this one especially the pictures and the well spoken words!! Its been 2 years since I made that hike – knees issues – gotta love the changing body!! Keep hiking on!!

    • Thanks so much, Andrea. I had done Second Burroughs exactly two years earlier. I had no idea what I was missing not making it to the Third. Breathtaking. Thanks for the kind words 💞

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