Saturday Musings

Thursday night I toss and turn thinking about my plan for Friday. This is my pattern lately: go to bed early, drift lightly into sleep then wake myself up with a question that I can’t possibly answer. That one question turns into five and I find my tired body wrestling with a very active brain. 

Is there a concert at the ampitheater?
Will it be too hot to hike?
Will I have to stop for gas?
Will my body let me do a longer hike?
Should I go somewhere else?

I realize I’m feeling less adventurous and less enthusiastic these days. I’m not one of those junkies for excitement. I love a good surprise, but lately they have mostly come in the form of disappointment. I find myself doing a “hard reset” by remembering some bits of wisdom learned in the rooms from my recovery days. There are three things I can never change: people, places and things. Armed with that knowledge I begin to let go. A gradual stepping back from disappointment. Maybe my muted enthusism is just grieving private losses. I give myself permission to let go and move on. 

“I could hear my abandoned dreams making a racket in my soul.”
-Joy Harjo, Crazy Brave

On my way out the door Friday the lace on my left hiking boot snaps. Sigh. More disappointment. I grab an old pair of boots and head out the door. As it happens, I DO need to stop for gas but Kelly, sensing my frustration, has made me two delicious sandwiches and so with breakfast and a second cup of coffee, I hit the road. 

I could do this drive in my sleep. It’s still oddly warm for this hour so I roll down my window and open my moonroof. There are two cars behind me so I pull over to let them pass and then I can enjoy the stars at my own pace. It feels like a (not so) hidden metaphor and so I smile, breathing it all in. 

There is nothing dramatic about sunrise this day but the alpenglow on the mountain is stunning. I step out and the wind is whipping. Dust is swirling up like a small tornado as the gale force of this wind lifts it up from the ground. I grab my pack and my camera and I head for Sourdough Ridge. There are two raptors high in the sky, soaring in the stiff breeze. I have never felt the wind here like this. Near the bench on the ridge I have to steady myself. There is a puffy cloud above the mountain that seems to be covering the summit and bending at the tips, making angles out of the puffy white.

I walk the nature trail and across the ridge to Frozen Lake. Surprisingly few people on this trail. As I reach the intersection I have to choose a direction. I know it will get busy at Burroughs and Fremont and I’ve already been to Berkeley this year, so I choose Skyscraper, hoping my legs will carry me. The wind is stiffening but invigorating. I choose the road less traveled and I see no one until I reach Skyscraper Pass. Almost perfect. 

As I head up toward the summit I realize I have forgotten my poles. This section is steep and the trail is dry and slippery. I don’t chance it. I head back down and find a rock to sit on at the Pass. I write a little and do my best to be one with the wind. 

It’s been quite a year. My folk’s move was no small thing and Kelly’s diagnosis and subsequent surgery were quite a surprise. At this writing, all is well. I remind myself how fortunate I am to have an engaged family and loyal friends. There is a lot to be learned from challenging times and I have paid close attention. I know that I’ll get my mojo back eventually. I suspect that everything is unfolding as it is meant to and I need only pay attention to the path beneath my feet. 

“Feed the soil, not the plants”
– Charles Dowding

On my way back I take the long way. There are marmots and pikas and chipmunks. 

In one small grove of trees there are mountain bluebirds everywhere, playful and noisy. 

No bears today. No foxes. I see a herd of mountain goats way across Berkeley Park that number in the dozens. They are too far away for a good shot, but I do head a few hundred feet feet down the Berkeley trail to see if I might get a better view. I stop when I realize I am only adding to the upshit required to get me back to Frozen Lake. 

All in all I clocked over 9 miles in my nearly seven hours at the mountain. My body keeps surprising me in the best ways and I am preparing for a few more hikes before the season comes to a close. Thanks for joining me on another adventure. I never tire of this mountain and I hope you don’t either. 

10 Comments on “Saturday Musings

  1. Well, your plate is full and you keep coming back for seconds and thirds! Walking it off seems like a good thing though, and it’s eye candy for me. I like seeing how the winding path keeps opening up for you in its mysterious way, even when all seems too much, too challenging, too confusing. One step at a time, laces firmly tied.

    • Yes, friend. I’m beginning to think it is challenging because of a crisis of confidence. I am questioning many things at this moment and looking for ways to get some enthusiasm back. “Laces firmly tied” sounds like a mantra I can roll with! Thank you, Nancy.

  2. Yes, something about this year…

    Today happens to be the anniversary of our hike to Indian Henry’s, and I honestly don’t know if I could do it today. That shoe debacle put me over the edge. K suggested maybe it’s time for a new pair but I think I’m going to see how strong I can finish this year before I make the investment. So envious of your road trip!! Thanks for writing*

  3. Ah, yes, a decided lack of enthusiasm for me too. I stayed home between roves last week; now I have two weeks before the next one. I may pass again. The places on my list are all a long drive. I may give myself permission to let roving be enough and save up for my big adventure. I’m glad you got out (wind, what the heck!) and your fans will forgive you if you don’t. You have reminded me that I should get a spare set of laces for my trip!

  4. Great photos as usual. The beginning of your piece reminded me of a post I saw recently, and if I remember correctly went, ‘I find myself struggling to stay awake and then struggling to go to sleep and am becoming worse at each one’. I would not have understood this 10 years ago, but I get it now. Thanks for your writing.

    • Thanks so much. Perfect quote. Honestly, this is as good a description of my life right now that there is. Last night I was truly exhausted but my mind was like it had a fresh battery. Oy. Will try again tonight although I’ll be up at 3am to watch the World Cup final!

  5. Ohh my, such crisp photos. I can feel the wind. So many are losing our mojos. But Mr. Mojo Risin’. 😀 You gave me a slight pause when you wrote that you were only adding to the required upshit. Yes. It feels the whole world is doing exactly this. Onwards.

    • Oh, Manja. This is perfect. Yes, the whole world DOES feel like it’s doing exactly this. Lord knows there’s plenty without adding to the total … Thanks for writing*

  6. Hi Bonnie! Beautiful write up. Thought you might like to know that the rodent pictured with the marmots and pika is actually a Cascade golden mantled ground squirrel, rather than a chipmunk.

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