Monday, September 24, 2012

Busy body, muddled mind

How can life be so busy without producing anything in particular to write about? I think maybe I just suck at introspection and making connections between the physical and mental aspects of life. I have not been idle, but I guess I'm feeling uninspired. So I'm just going to dump a bunch of stuff here. Thanks for letting me vent. Just smile and pretend like you're listening.

At the beginning of the month, I went out to Indian Peaks with a guy named K, whom I met on South Arapaho peak back in August. We were most of the way along the ridge of Mt. Neva when some scary looking clouds started blowing our way, so we bailed. As the clouds rolled in, they were so low that the Arapaho peaks were completely obscured. But we were only a little way along the trail back to the truck when everything cleared up and the sky was a perfect, uninterrupted expanse of blue. I think we were both kind of kicking ourselves for not going for the summit, but given the evidence we had to work with, I think we made the right decision when we turned back.

The next weekend I was supposed to go climbing in Golden, but things fell through with my partner. So instead I went to Boulder and got in a good bike ride. Up Lefthand Canyon to Peak-to-Peak highway, and back down the St. Vrain canyon into Lyons. When I got to the top of Lefthand, I ended up getting mixed up in the Buffalo Bicycle Classic, which followed my route all the way back to where I was parked.

After I got home and we all had lunch, the family and I went down to Sloan's Lake for Adventures Denver - an expo put on by a number of outdoor companies to promote recreational activities to urban dwellers. That was a lot of fun. We didn't have a whole lot of time before things closed down, but F and I ran around and did as many of the activities as we could, including paddling around the lake a little bit in a canoe.

So all said, I wasn't too heart-broken about the climbing plans not coming to fruition. At least I was able to salvage the day.

My father was in town the following weekend. I wanted to take him up to Indian Peaks, but we didn't have time for that. We did try to get out to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Nat'l Wildlife Refuge, but it ended up being closed due to road work. I managed to make him have a few vegetarian meals, including a dinner at Leaf in Boulder. And though he put up some joking resistance, I think he enjoyed it plenty well.

Another climbing trip cancelled last week due to an illness ravaging the household of my partner (not the same one who flaked on me before). Bummer.

Meanwhile, I started taking classes for the Colorado Mountain Club's Wilderness Trekking School. While many of the topics it covers are not new to me, it's a prerequisite for taking their Basic Mountaineering School, which I'm hoping to do next spring. And I'll still be learning a lot in WTS, and I'm meeting new people, making connections, and trying to figure out how to be sociable. The school's field days will be occupying many of my weekends for a little while.

We had our first WTS field day yesterday, which took us to Watrous Gulch, just the other side of I-70 from Torrey's Peak. The aspen trees are in the midst of their autumnal turning from silver green to the most vivid shades of yellow and orange. At times, while walking through the fallen foliage on the trail, I imagined that the round leaves were coins of gold from some lost and scattered treasure.

One of the biggest challenges right now is trying to stick to some kind of fitness routine. I'm mostly avoiding running right now, still trying to let the PF in my right foot work itself out. The weather is great for cycling, but the sun rises so late these days that there's no time for a ride in the morning before I have to get F up and ready for school. And with C's evening classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, and my WTS classes on Tuesdays, afternoon workouts aren't much of an option. When school isn't preventing it, F and I have been going to the climbing gym after I get home from work. That's something, at least.

So I finally resolved myself to the fact that, though it's still prime cycling weather, I have to start doing my workouts indoors on the trainer, early in the morning. Riding outdoors will be relegated to weekends. And even though I suck at bouldering, right now that may be my best bet for getting out and climbing on actual rock on a regular basis. It's something I can go out and do without worrying about finding a partner, and I'm sure I ought to be able to squeeze that into my schedule somewhere.

Chimney Rock in southern Colorado has been in the news recently, as it was newly made a National Monument. Reading about it sent me back two years to my Grand Canyon bicycle tour. It's got the wanderlust stirring in the back of my mind. Don't know when I'll be able to hit the road again like that, but I think I need to get out of town for a while.

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