Tomorrow is my last day of work at Glumac. After 3.5 years of cycling through the same basic sequence, tonight I’m uniquely aware that the cycle is about to break. In some ways, this would seem like the ultimate freedom, but quitting my job is not about a vacation. It isn’t really about a lack of activity, taking it easy, or goofing off. While I do look forward to a bit of all of those things, this time is much more about action. It is much more about learning, exploring, and working very very hard than about not doing anything at all. So, how have I envisioned this time?
In the short term: Thursday morning I be driving south with two good friends to play music in Arcata, California on Thursday night, and Berkeley on Friday night. If you are in the Bay, come check us out at The Starry Plough at 10:30pm. Saturday is a chance to see my brother and his wife and enjoy the Bay area, which is always a good time. We’re headed back to Portland on Sunday. I’m looking forward to spending a few weeks helping out at The Commons while my foot heals, I finish selling my unnecessary stuff on Craigslist, and spending some quality time with friends here in Portland.
Sometime in the first week of April I’m headed south with my good friend Jordan. He takes pictures, really good ones, so we’re going to take some really good ones in really cool places, hopefully of me doing interesting things. Depending on weather, conditions, snowpack, and the state of my foot, destinations may include: Smith, Red Rocks, Zion, the Moab area, and Salt Lake City. Probably towards the end of April, Jordan will need to head back to PDX, and I’ll be free to roam. I’m hoping to spend all of May climbing and skiing the Eastern Sierras between Bishop and Tahoe, culminating with two weeks in early June in Yosemite Valley. During this time I’m also looking forward to feeling out new places to potential settle down again, and reflecting on my recent career as well as what might be next. That’s the rough plan, but we’ll see what actually happens.
June 13th I’m headed north again for a rare opportunity to complete the Muldrow Glacier route on Denali. True this is not a glamorous technical route, but it might be one of the most classic wilderness mountaineering routes on the planet. Our team of 6 will spend approximately 30 days climbing the Muldrow and descending the West Buttress. Based on my last two summer trips to the Alaska range, I have little doubt this will be both intensely challenging and intensely beautiful.
Despite a variety of extended trips, there is an awful lot of Alaska to see, and I’m planning to spend a few additional weeks travelling and exploring before heading south again.
My passion for climbing sparked in the Wind River Range in Wyoming, but I haven’t been back since my first trip there in 2002. I hope to spend several weeks there in August, as well as spending time with friends in Lander, WY. I’ll be back in Portland for sure by August 20 to celebrate two back to back weekends of weddings. Doubtless, it’s a full summer. However, September I’m not so certain about…
I’d like to put my climbing toys away for a while. Seeing family in Australia and traveling in Asia are at the top of the list, but the plans are more vague. Based on what I expect to spend climbing this summer, I think I’ve saved enough to continue traveling abroad for about 6 months. I’d happily consider working for a non-profit or volunteering for a while as well. In a year when I can do anything I want, why not do whatever feels right?
“Without a purpose, training is just exercise. Use life for something.” -Mark Twight