It’s amazing what you can achieve with a little free time on your hands. I recently returned from my whirlwind trip, which included a visit from my parents, camping and hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park and traversing Idaho from bottom to top and back again to see a great friend marry his soul mate.
Trips back to Idaho from Colorado aren’t much different than they were while living in Alaska. Pack as much activity as possible into as few days as possible. Fight plane schedules, organize rides and fake sick days. And when it’s all said and done you may actually need a sick day when you return. In eleven days, I spent roughly 44 hours in the car… Needless to say, it’s good to be home.
Idaho is a special place. Cruising into the state from Salt Lake in the back of Falkor, the scenery didn’t change much. The hills were still low and broad and speckled with sagebrush. The blue sign announcing our arrival to Idaho could easily go unnoticed. Despite only subtle changes the feeling of Idaho is something that is hard to describe. It was certainly different. It was familiar and nostalgic. The City of Rocks was stunning as usual. This is undoubtedly one of the most special places to be on this planet. As we joined the interstate again the smell of dairies made me puke a little, but even that brought back a flood of memories (mostly of almost puking). The wind ripped across the Perrine Bridge (as usual) and I strained my eyes to capture a glimpse of my favorite choss pile, Dierkes Lake.
Together with Ben again, cruising Idaho with nothing on our agenda but breweries, friends and climbing. It’s like we were transported back to the old days of U of I blasting punk rock in his old Subaru on our way to Brundage – what a great feeling. After grabbing Robyn from the airport we made the long drive to Moscow. Seeing Moscow all these years later was quite the trip. We walked past our old apartments, up and down the same old streets and past the dorms. The campus of U of I has to be one of the prettiest in the country.
The whole reason for this mammoth trip back to Idaho was to watch our friends Mark (Curry) and Misty tie the knot. Their wedding was on a beautiful farm south of town and the turnout was impressive. There was a simple and warm ceremony followed by tons of grub, a NRS raft full of beer, kegs and dancing! What a fun night! I met Curry shortly after moving to Moscow. He and I were among the original Vandal Snow members and I have countless awesome memories chasing this guy around mountain slopes. He has always been there. No matter what adventure we want to go on, Curry was always there. Such a solid friend and solid dude, Robyn and I were psyched to be there for his big day.
Back in Colorado, back on my own schedule, exercising and eating right again, things are back on track and life is sweet. I am in an envious position between jobs that just happens to straddle the most beautiful month of the year and I am trying to remain aware and thankful for the calm before the storm. Since arriving back in Golden I have started a new workout phase for climbing in one final attempt to try my hardest and utilize the perfect temperatures at our home crags in Clear Creek Canyon.
Come October 1st, I will be back on with the CAIC full time with a load of preseason prep work to do. Coming soon are a Wilderness First Responder course, and I will be teaching a three-day Mountain Weather course. November will begin my forecast schedule and all the early mornings and travel that it entails. Last year I had so much excitement for climbing our new crags that I pushed myself to near burnout. This winter I plan to let things happen a bit more naturally. Ease back on my climbing goals, embrace the cold months, learn to ski and rest when I need it. Often times I find myself looking forward to the next big thing – the next chapter, the next goal or the next big trip. Lately though I am much more content with each day as it unfolds.
“Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire… To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top.” – Robert M. Pirsig