Well, judging by the green grasses, the poppy-covered hillsides, and the nighttime thunderstorms, it’s safe to say that we are in the early stages of Spring in the Bay Area.
This past winter was a little different than usual for me. I spent almost every weekend in Yosemite Valley or Bishop, thanks to the drought and my reliable climbing partner. I thought that all of the winter climbing would minimize my tendency to hit the road whenever the Springtime breezes in, I thought I’d be ready for a committing job, maybe I could even sign a lease. But I was wrong. Despite climbing throughout the entirety of winter, as soon as the poppies opened up, like clockwork, I started day dreaming about packing up my car.
I was already planning to go to Joshua Tree and Red Rocks in mid-March, but I recently decided to extend the trip into April and May, possibly June and definitely July. I’ve gotta get back to Wyoming this summer, and July is always the best month out there. Ethan will be with me for most of the trip, but he has professional-climber things to do like giving slideshows, attending festivals, and flying to Eastern Europe to go bouldering. When he’s away, I’ll be climbing with other traveling friends, mostly Maggie. She doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going to convince her to climb in the desert with me for most of April and then head to Yosemite and the high Sierras so we can be newbs on the big walls together, and so she can train for the women’s speed record of the California 14ers.
The best thing about making the decision to leave is all of the support I have from the people in my life. My mom, somehow putting aside her worries about her daughter climbing rocks and living out of a car every summer, responds with excitement and positivity whenever I tell her my plans. That really makes this whole thing a lot easier, less scary. My friends, the rest of my family, my boss, my yoga students–they are all psyched for me when I decide to take off. It means a lot.
My dogs are really the only ones who aren’t happy about me heading out. They haven’t left my side since I made the decision.
Every time I leave is a bit different–the first time I had no idea what I was doing, I was plan-less and partner-less, alone in my van, learning how to live on the road through the mistakes I made. The second time had some more structure to it, I had two friends to tag along with and a loose itinerary. This time, I know what to pack and not to pack, where to get free water and tricks to save money, but no matter how many times you take an extended climbing trip, you really never know what you’re in for. That’s why I love it.
What keeps you going isn’t some fine destination but just the road you’re on, and the fact that you know how to drive. -Barbara Kingsolver
As usual, I have doubts. There is the ever-present feeling that doing something like this means that I’m irresponsible or somehow more privileged than other people, but I know, in a logical sense, that neither of those things are true. Well, sure, maybe I am being a little irresponsible in terms of saving money for my future and working on my 401k, but the thought of telling my grandkids that that’s how I spent the summer when I was 25 years old is frightening. And as far as being lucky or privileged or something, I know I’ve got it pretty good, but I still don’t see why people stick around the city for their whole lives when they don’t want to be there.
So there you have it. It’s spring time and I’m leaving again, in just under two weeks. One of my goals is to keep this blog updated weekly so hopefully you’ll be hearing from me.
Here’s a short poem I wrote and thought I’d share with you all.
Thank God for March.
I can finally move.
The winter crept in to my back, stagnant and heavy,
solidified cooking grease on the windowsill, in between my shoulder blades,
in the centermost part of my belly.
But then the storms came. Their rains rinse the fluids in my spine, the lightening puts my brain on spin cycle,
the thunder shakes me out of sleep
and the wind clears my ears, makes my hair get curly
and my jawline soft.
My joints are juiced.
I swear someone planted me, right there in the mud, said to sit tight for the dark
months and now it’s daring me to untangle, to act like a part of it all.
Thanks for reading! Have a good day.