I’ll always be an East Coaster who’s heart is pulled by the smell of fresh cut hay and cow manure, the thought of a steamy sugar house or a crisp autumn day filled with the fiery color of changing leaves. I don’t know what it is about growing up in New England that at once makes us so nostalgic for the simpler life of rural self-sufficiency, but at the same time lights a fire for the passion of a far flung adventure. Every so often I wander home and find myself torn between these sentiments, and as I grow older, I may not become wiser, but I certainly do gain the perspective of time, place, and experience to better understand these two sides of my personality. While this struggle has existed in me to some degree always, it’s when I return home that I consider it most often. The East versus West discussion can take on many forms; migration, motivation, mindset. Ultimately it’s about where we come from, and where we want to go, parts of ourselves that we can’t escape or deny.
This is what’s up.
Life on a bike is full of adventure. No matter what’s thrown your way, if you’re flexible and adaptive, you can always make it work. This time last year we were riding into the mountains loaded down with food and climbing gear, tackling summits and remote climbs in the wildernesses of the Washington Cascades. We spent our downtime relaxing and riding around a small town. Now, shifting gears and taking a little break, we’re relaxing with family and riding a little over 20 miles a day commuting to and from work on our bikes.
Fall is underway here in Leavenworth. Kids are back in school, the light is softer and the air has a chill. Liz and I are finished with work for the season and for us this means an opportunity to use the changing of the seasons as a time for personal reflection and growth. For a lot of climbers this much time off would warrant road trips or weekend visits to nearby destinations, but for Liz and I, this time is a stay-cation. We’ve been reading, catching up on the missed yoga, enjoying using our oven again, and generally enjoying life. The cooler temperatures mean we’ve been able to get back down to the crags and domes that line the canyons, the rubber on our shoes is feeling a little stickier and our palms a little less sweaty. We’ve had some visitors this week as well, my brother Taylor managed to make it our for a short visit, getting a quick tour of the area with a hike up to Stuart Lake and a lap up the tireless Castle Rock, sending the six pitches of Catapult and Midway with ease. Scotty’s back with Shakaka and has fallen right into our routine of climbing and laughing, and drinking coffee. Continue reading
This last week we spent visiting family and friends in Salt Lake City. For a weeklong vacation, even to drive the 800+ miles from Leavenworth to SLC is a hefty undertaking. When you don’t have a car, things get interesting. You’ve got to get creative for these types of across the country get-togethers. Bicycling isn’t really an option for traveling such a long distance in a short amount of time. When Liz and I started considering our travel options for this trip, a lot of larger questions started to arise. Would we be compromising any of our beliefs or newfound passion for this lifestyle? Would there be anything wrong with that? What are our options and what do they mean for us, our family, and our society? Compromise is a part of any relationship, and so far the sacrifices have been on our side. We’re not evangelical about what we’re doing, but we are serious, and this (life) is all an experiment right? We’re trying to explore the concepts of mobility that so many of us take for granted. Well let’s go…