Sunday, November 6, 2011

Life Essence

Cathedral Gorge State Park

Joe and I walked in the door just after 5 this evening, and proceeded to relax for the next hour. He caught up on emails while I read on the couch. We spent the next hour making pizza and soup, and enjoying it to the delightful tunes of Dvorak. Now, for the rest of the night the only thing left to do is relax some more. This is the first night in a very long time that it has seemed acceptable to just sit. Sure, there are things that could be done. As Joe pointed out, we used nearly every kitchen appliance we own in the making of dinner, and eventually those will have to be washed—but not tonight. The floor could be vacuumed, the counter could be cleaned off… but those are minor things compared to how nice it feels not to do them.
Lehman Caves, Great Basin National Park

Since we moved back to Las Vegas not a weekend has gone by when we didn’t venture out to some mountain and climb it. Occasionally they were nearby and required only a short drive outside of the city, other times the whole weekend was required. It has been great for getting us out of the house, since we both work right here in it, but in doing so we sacrifice our down time.
Wheeler Peak, Great Basin National Park

While Joe was away in Texas I decided to take advantage of the good weather and climb some time-sensitive peaks. There were three on my mind, and each one teetered on the brink of being too cold and snow-covered to climb until late next spring. I took my chances on Wheeler peak, up in central Nevada. The weather couldn’t have been better that weekend, it was glorious. In addition to climbing Mt. Wheeler, I moseyed over to nearby Bald Mountain and gave that a climb as well. Not because it seemed like fun, at the time it most certainly did not, but because there’s a fabulous piece by Mussorgsky called “Night on Bald Mountain” complete with cascading arpeggios in the harp part. How could I not climb it? The next morning I went down into Lehman Caves with a group of people for a hugely informative tour. From there it was time to head home, but not without a brief but worthwhile stop at Cathedral Gorge State Park. Every step of the trip was light and refreshing, the long drive was an element I was particularly looking forward to, but getting to the top of Wheeler was a spectacular feeling as well. There’s no better way to remember that you have not lost complete control of your life than climbing up a very tall mountain.
On top of Wheeler Peak

Last weekend Joe and I went to Death Valley where another time-sensitive peak awaited. The weather conditions were better than I would have thought to ask for, which makes for a splendid hike. Telescope peak, the highest peak in the Panamint range, has extraordinary views of the Sierra Nevada and the Spring Mountains, not to mention other nearby ranges in Death Valley. We were so inspired by those views that we began planning the next weekend’s climb for Mt. Whitney. Come to find out, Mt. Whitney and all the other high peaks were hit hard by storms this past week and have effectively been taken off the market for 2011 climbs. Never say die. We spent this weekend in California climbing around in the low-elevation Turtle Mountain Wilderness. That same night we stopped in to visit some friends who live near Joshua Tree. It was great to share a big meal with good company after the climb, and have a nice warm bed to fall asleep in. This morning we parted ways with them, and headed home through Mojave National Preserve.
From Telescope peak, looking down into Badwater.

The past few weekends have been a whirling dervish of fun, and I’m fairly certain my mind would have exploded with stress if I hadn’t done myself the favor of trampling around in nature. On the other hand, it may have started to affect the nature of our ability to communicate:

Joe: I wonder why I’m so tired. Maybe it’s because I’m losing my life essence.
Me: Hmm, that’s okay, we’ll just replace it with the essence of lemons.
Joe: Frog.
Zabriskie Point, Death Valley


Just Carol said...

Always a pleasure to read about your adventures (you really should write more as you do such a great job!)

It's nice that you've found a way to unwind and your pictures are beautiful. Cute pic of you and Joe--is that this year's Christmas card?

Ron said...

I agree with Carol, you have great adventures and write about them well. But, Dvorack or whoever? ha