Friday, February 15, 2013

Going Long

As I look out my window, across the barren, wind-swept snow fields of the Priblof Islands and the frozen Bering Sea beyond, my thoughts turn to the summer ahead.  This seems like the perfect time to begin planning for the warmer weather to come.

Last year I began gearing up for fastpacking (and I still am) but laziness got the better of me.

However, that ultralight mindset, has lead me to consider another road this year: the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails. 

Now, I don't have the time (or the experience) for a full thru-hike, but perhaps it is time that I set a goal to do some real backpacking.

I may instead consider the Ozark trail as it is close to where my family lives, but for now the AT and PCT weight heavily on my mind.  It is time to start doing some research.

Has any of you ever considered hiking the AT or PCT?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Perhaps, it was for the best.

Quick note:  This post was written a couple years ago.  I just never got around to posting it.  I may pull out several more of these old posts as I get myself back to writing again.

Several weeks ago, when Ed had finally returned from sea. I decided to go for a run after work on a beautiful evening. Ed had other plans that night. Perhaps it was for the best. While Ed went to a party I set out for an evening run. The sun had come out in the afternoon. I had not yet found and excuse to make my way outside. My Jeep had been in the shop for nearly two months (it is hard to get parts on the island) and I have been going stir crazy. That is not even to mention a rather stressfull couple of weeks. My usual stress relief is to drive out to the end of the road and hike around by the shore or up into the hills. Even just the drive relaxes me. This last week however was rather rainy and I hadn't even gotten out on many runs.
However this Saturday (the end of my weekend) turned out with fair weather. While Ed urged me to come out with him, still feeling rather restless, I declined. Instead I grabbed my running clothes and set out. The sun was already beginning to set as I stepped out the door into the cool air. I didn't know where I was going but knew I need to go.
I choose one of the few roads on our small area of the island I had not yet run: the road around the mountain. The road had always seemed mysterious and daunting. It was perfect. I needed an escape from the usual.
I ran up the old water-rutted gravel road leading around the base of the mountain behind the airport and climbed the foot of the mountain.  The chill in my limbs disappeared as I continued past the old bunkers, past the signs warning of explosives (nothing strange about that), and beyond the balls of the mountain (Two giant balls....) and came to the far side, looking north and west.
The road ended and a small path continued to the edge of the cliffs. I sat and watched the waves breaking below at the base of the mountain coming unhindered from the north and the wide sea beyond. The sun was below the mountains to the west, but the twilight was still bright and the sky pastel in blues oranges and purples. The land was turning grey as a thin haze settled around in the gentle breeze. I sat for a while listening to the waves crashing below mixed with the sound of my breath.
As I turned and headed back up the path and down the road around the mountain I felt calm at last. Peaceful for the first time in many days. The mountain had not yet tired me out so I decided to run the road along the shore. I had not ran that way in quite a while though a couple of years ago it had been our near daily route. We had gotten tired of it. It was old news. In the evening twilight it was new again. The sky slowly began to darken and the waxing moon appeared a pale sliver from behind the clouds upon the mountains in the slowly fading blue of the sky. The water glistened in the failing light.
By the time I returned home it was mostly dark (and I was carrying a muddy rain jacket I found abandoned alongside the road.) I was tired, but felt better than I had for some time. There is just something about evening solitude. Sometimes you just have to run alone....

Has anyone else done a moon light run lately?