Retreat to the mountains, and goodbyes


Well,I just got back from being on the road again, always looking for adventure. I guess some people would say that I have a problem, an inability to settle in. My Vanagon is as much a self sufficient domicile as any sailboat, with stove and fridge built in at the manufacturer, westfalia in 1982. She is a Diesel, and she is slow. Taking her around is a constant reminder not to be in any kind of hurry. Experience the now. This is exemplified when I’m going up mountain passes at fifteen miles per hour with the most delectable views as people pass me at, perhaps, an unsafe speed. The fall colors are coming out now. Many people will be driving vast distances to have the carotenoid wavelengths directly contacting their cones at the back of the eye. I have fallen in with them as a driving enthusiast. October fourth was my birthday and I am one year, one day, further along the path that I’m on.

I find it easy to get out of the practice of writing when there is so much to take on. The last week I have been packing all of my belongings into boxes with a destination in mind: storage shed or sailboat. It has been an overwhelming task; and the four day break I gave myself around my birthday was well deserved and needed. Tomorrow my pops will be helping me move a trailer full of my belongings to Salida while we also take advantage of the weekend to camp and hike together in the mountains. My body feels well used with the few bits of adventure that I got the last few days, though my climbing skills have waned since I have not used them this summer. I have an itch in the back of my mind to disappear to Indan Creek, the climbers mecca, for a few weeks before my sailboat endeavor. The laundry list of things to fix sits on the back of my mind always, with the most concern being the standing rigging, and my ability to have a few bucks left over after fixing it all. The dream will have to be kept alive as a work in progress as I enjoy the last remnants of the fall here before heading to the nearly tropical, in my humble opinion, Rockport Harbor. We camped a few nights at higher elevations and even got snowed on last night, two inches or so. Those cloudy nights tend to be warmer anyhow. We met a Texas gentleman by the name of Stephen Ashworth who identifies himself as a through hiker. He was currently hiking a route that took him from the Delaware to San Francisco. He had hiked the Appalachian trial and the Pacific Crest Trail already and had been on this journey since January, ten months ago. He was excited to have somebody to chat with, and told us this route was much different than many of the other through hikes since it had much less day use traffic. He certainly was very remote when we met him; soon to to wallow through mud, and whatever storms drop more snow for the next week as he makes his way to Grand Junction. Meeting Stephen is a reminder that we all need a goal to focus on, even if that goal is just to walk fifteen miles today. With time the overall objective is slowly eaten away, and a fleeting sense of fulfillment arrises. Until the next objective! I have been inspired toward my goal in the evenings by reading Bernard Moitessier “The Long Way”, a story about one captain in a three boat single handed race around the world, who when he crossed his own track continued on to Tahiti without finishing the race. He has a great love of the sea, and mastery of the sextant; Something I hope to master in the not too distant future. Thank you for endless expanses of information world wide web! Maybe one day I will be as salty as Moitessier, who when his shrouds get clipped by a passing boat(to which he was delivering a message with a lead weight and a slingshot), he simply goes hove-to on the opposite tack and makes the necessary repairs. Well played sir. I will need to brush up on recognizing my seabirds, but am looking forward to watching the daily business of the many shorebirds in the coming months.

20161006_073710Hanging out with my good friend and longtime climbing partner, Jeremy Joseph, around the campfire and at the crag was a joy and worth the drive itself. Being in so many life or death experiences together really grows a bond. There is no closer friend that I would have wanted to spend my birthday around, which says a lot. Jeremy will be venturing to Ecuador for some mountain climbing and backpacking in two weeks time, so we will see when our paths cross next. Our campfire talk hit the full spectrum of conversations ranging from women(of course), to global warming and the decimation of the planets resources. There is much that can be done to combat our social momentum in the wrong direction, starting with gardening. We ate a few meals of potatoes, onions, chard, carrot, tomatoes, and squash from my20161004_160551 garden supplemented by coconut milk and curry paste. My hard work in the spring pays off. I won’t say that we didn’t eat bacon and eggs, but the lower carbon footprint and fruition of harvest for a few meals was very enjoyable to me. I truly think that if we can all grow a little food on the side of our busy lives we will have a great impact on our communities. We could all stand to look each other in the eyes more, help more stranded motorists, have real connections at the checkout counter, or just be good friends. Gardening can be one of those pathways to better community involvement and communication. A common gcoal-creek-camping-6046oal! I hope gardening catches on, for my own mental health. Speaking of gardening, the freeze has arrived! Harvesting pumpkins, australian butternut squash, and what was left of the patty pan squash. Maybe some of the squash will last until my Texas departure. Maybe.

My Grandpa Glenn, on my mothers side, also died last week, the first of my grandparents to go. It is a reminder to me that we are ephemeral on this planet, and cannot take time back. Grandpa Glenn was a wonderful character, who inspired all of us grandkids to think critically, as well as having a knack for rhyming names with adjectives and making up silly songs while hiking (at the pace of a skip). In his memory I will share one of my favorite of his puzzles: There are twelve rou nd steel balls that look identical, yet one of the balls is slightly heavier or lighter than the other eleven; with only three weighings, using a justice type counter balance scale, you must balance-scaledetermine which ball is out of the ordinary, and if it is heavier or lighter. You will need a pen and paper. Good luck!  

Author: Ronjohn

When I take a deep look at my ego, I see that it defines itself as a recreation bum. I ski, hike, rock climb, kayak, raft, sail, stand up paddle, mountain bike, rock climb again. I grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado. I am a vagabond extraordinaire.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *