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Archive for June, 2012

Between Trips

I spent five hours on a plane yesterday, and there will be six in a car tomorrow. At the moment, I’m in the middle of a sort of whirlwind of west coast excursions. I just yesterday returned by red eye flight to San Diego (which is both home and home base) from a family vacation to Maui (where I was pleased to find that I still know how to swim, even though I hadn’t done so in the two years since moving to Boston). In an hour or so, I’ll be leaving for the John Muir wilderness in the Sierra Nevada, one of my favorite places anywhere. There, in the company of my still-spry grandpa, I’ll be spending four days hiking and rediscovering the ways of the wild and getting bitten by mosquitoes.

These hiking trips have been a yearly tradition for me since I was very young, although I missed last year (I was too poor, and too far from California). They’re typically a good opportunity to do some writing (though, since internet is sparse in the high sierra, there won’t be any blogging) and some reflecting. I used to bring novels, but I found I would finish them on my first day in the mountains and be left with nothing to do but take pictures (like the one that heads this page) and imagine the delicious breakfasts that I would eat upon my return to civilization. Now, I bring poetry books with me instead of novels, and I find they offer a lot more value upon re-reading. If you picture me reading Auden under pine trees, surrounded by rocks and views and like marmots for the next few days, you probably won’t be far from the mark.

In past years, of course, these trips were considerably longer. You can’t really start to feel at home in the mountains–to even partially forget that you’re a city dweller accustomed to soft beds and a ready supply of breakfast cereal–in fewer than five days, and we’d often go for eight or nine. This hike will be rushed, because some friends C___ and R___ have scheduled their wedding for next week. That happy occasion is my excuse for a trip to Portland, and another adventure.

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