"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

01 September 2015

On the Other Side of Summer

The other day, after coming back from laundry and errands up over, I gazed out at the west Loveland Pass in early evening light. Aside from a scouting and subsequent camping trip to Pass Lake, I'd not done any trekking up there this year. It made me sad.

"Where has the fucking time gone?" I lamented.

At obligations, once a year, my schedule gets thrown into upheaval. I survive, obviously, finding some sense of equilibrium. Still, this summer has seemed particularly busy, and I don't feel I've gotten nearly as much accomplished as I'd have liked. Here it is, on the cusp of High Country autumn, and, to be trite, I feel like summer's past me by.

It's not that I haven't gotten out. We did camp. Grizzly and Cherokee Gulch are two places I still need to get to, and hopefully before the snow flies. Every time I go over Loveland Pass, I look at the places I need to explore and/or reacquaint myself with.

I did go up Brown's Gulch, though not as far as I wanted. We stopped a little ways before treeline and snacked in the cool shade near rushing water. My companions, being my daughter and her boyfriend, wussed out. I harassed my daughter about this, given she was supposed to be climbing Quandary Peak that weekend.

"There I have the expectation of going straight uphill," she argued. Later, she would tell me when she summited that fourteener, there were some people having a fondue party and sharing with other climbers.

"Mountains," I said with a shrug. "Were it anywhere else, that might've been strange."

My daughter simply nodded in agreement. After all, she's been with me when hitchhikers busk to entertain frustrated drivers caught in Sunday afternoon tourist traffic on the back roads. She's heard me mention the Easter Gorilla. When I say mountains, it pretty well explains everything. If you don't get it, you're not going to.

From the tourist standpoint, things are winding down. The kids are back in school. I don't run quite as much at obligations. For the first time in months, I had a week without overtime. Some of the aspens show the beginnings of color change. The leaf peepers are just a few weeks away.

My birthday is on the other side of the sunrise. Not a big one, I suppose. Not a decade or even half decade. Although, the magistrate always makes a big deals of his birthdays and he's thirty years my senior. Still, as this orbit comes full circle, I catch myself having a few revelations. Whether or not they're grand is conjecture;

Mountain. It's like that. Apparently, it ain't boring.

I never wanted a career. There, I said it. I just wanted to have adventures and be my own person. The myriad of things I've done for money have been just that; a means to an end. A way to bankroll said adventures. Not being locked into a career has, upon reflection, made a great many of my leaps easier than they would've been otherwise. I've said many times being defined by what you do for money is boring, it's just taken me twenty years to fully realize why.

Recently, I've taken to writing in a notebook again. Not daily, but when the mood strikes. It comes and goes and I don't know how long I'll keep it up. What has struck me is how my style has changed. It's not as fantastical. Sabina referred to it as more matter-of-fact. The mutual postulation is environmental; living somewhere magical all on its own, there's little reason to tart it up.

I've never liked the concept of a reputation. Piss and wind. Get to know a cat and form your own opinion instead of what the hype is. Yet, it seems here, in a rural mountain county, peppered with small tourist towns, you can live or die by a reputation. The case in point I've seen it most recently is when someone goes to apply for work or to rent a place and the questions are asked have you heard of such-and-such? and the stories of good or ill are whispered. Good or ill, that's how it seems to work. Apparently, my constantly wanting to play outside and knowing a little bit about the trails is part of my reputation.

So, there it is. We stand at the other side of summer. I am hoping for a long warm autumn to get to all the walkabouts in on my list. Since I have no intention of growing too much older, let alone dying, if I miss it this season, there's always the next. Tomorrow, we will climb Mount Trelease to help mark the start of another orbit and something to do. A new adventure in a lifetime of adventures to mark off.


  1. This has turned out to be something of 'the summer that wasn't' for me, and not really about the weather. But yeah, there may be other summers still.
    Over in Seattle, dealing with unfortunate family issues, and it's pouring to boot. Next month promises better, I'm heading to Europe for a bit, see some of the Med, end up in Lisbon.

    1. Sorry for the family issues. Tripping to Lisbon sounds like a rollicking good time, though.

  2. I'm hoping it will be a warm autumn as well, but the birds are already congregating on the wires and gossiping about migration.

    1. Mine as well. It's been a couple of days since I've heard th trill of a hummingbird.