Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gearing Up

By Amy Baranski

My secondary alarm just went off. I beat it by an hour. This morning we leave for the Enchantments hike. I still have a laundry list of minor chores to do before we depart, including running to the store for instant coffee and mustard packets. Mmmmm mustard.

I'm struck with the regret that I did not buy, or rent, a trekking pole. Maybe there's still time. Maybe there's a rental place in Leavenworth. Maybe I don't need one. Maybe I don't like trekking poles. Maybe trekking poles can go take a hike. (That one was for you Jamie).

Gear, gear, gear.

We all have base, insulation, and shell layers to keep us warm and dry. It looks like the weather will be decent. Yeah...I think we have everything we need. Except the coffee. We need the coffee.

Scott and Ann, some college friends I reconnected with this year, loaned us a tent, some sleeping pads, and headlamps. Scott said he knows the Eight Mile/Lake Caroline area well and has been up Cashmere before. So that was confirming. He said we can't go wrong with any trail up in the Enchantments, the NW having been carved out by glaciers makes the relief and vistas incredible.

In some ways I wish this month could have resulted in us completely checking out and hiking every day on something like the Pacific Crest Trail. That may have been an extreme "new thing" to try for this blog. I guess my wanderlust desire comes from the doldrums of my present day-to-day.

After watching180 Degrees South (for the 5th time) last night I was reminded of my friend Eleanor Boseman. She a photographer who's been riding around China and neighboring countries on a bicycle, by herself, to raise awareness for girls' education. You can read some of her stories on her blog called 2 Wheels 4 Girls. Although the blog updates may be stalled for a bit as I last heard she is currently traveling to India via Tibet.

What is it that I find so appealing about her story? I suppose it's a few things. Number one, Eleanor is taking on the unknown. She's also soloing. Add learning a very difficult and foreign language as an adult (Mandarin) to the list. Then there's that minor detail that she's bicycling vast miles on a daily basis. Imagine pedaling 100 miles then waking up the next day to do it again, and again, and again.

Melissa wrote about the role of the journey, in her post "Who Gives a Shit What the Holy Grail Is", and the rather useless pursuit of hiking or climbing--an idea covered in 180 Degrees South. It's not the "getting there" or even the "having done" it's the doing in life, this month  in our case, the hiking, that is the real crux. This is a great note to touch upon because it begs the question: what do we do with the experiences that change us?

Perhaps I'll leave this post on that note. What do we do with the experiences that change us?

No comments: