Chuckawalla Wall

I went outside, Utah

img_5353My freshman year of college at Dixie State College, now Dixie State University, a couple boys dragged me and my roommates to Chuckawalla Wall for the first time. It was my first experience with rock climbing. As I strapped on borrowed shoes, while wearing a borrowed harness, I remember spying the bolts at the top and considering the feat I was about to undertake. So when you say, “kiss the bolts,” what does that mean, exactly? I saw the white chalk marks left by previous climbers, marking the handholds that would allow me to scale the wall. I gave it a shot.

I don’t remember if I reached the top on the first try. I probably didn’t, but I do remember successfully completing the climb a number of times, feeling progressively stronger and confident in my ability to scale the wall. Once the girls and I got the hang of climbing the red Navajo sandstone, we couldn’t get enough, even with borrowed shoes, harnesses, and belay devices, and we begged to be taken out to the wall any chance we could get.

After I moved to Sacramento, the accoutrements were purchased; harness, rope, shoes, belay devices, and off I went to the granite slabs of the Sierras with a new climbing partner. It was hard and frustrating, and we quickly gave up. Storing my shoes and harness felt like giving up a dream. Or coming to terms with something that I wanted, but wasn’t meant to be. Even though I was only 19 years old, I mourned my youth, spontaneity, and sense of adventure. I was married and it was time to turn away from childish things.

I’ve been 33 for seven days.

life

Usually, I’d have sat down and hammered out goals and aspirations for the next 12 months by now. What’s a new skill I want to learn? What bad habit will I break? What new place will I travel to? This year has been different.

Me, hiking down from Camp Muir in Mount Rainier National Park.

Me, hiking down from Camp Muir in Mount Rainier National Park. Photo by Allison.

Usually, I feel like I have a lot of learning to do. I need a kick in the pants. Some changes need to be made. It’s time to buckle down and focus. It’s not that I don’t, but this year has been different.

This time around, I didn’t wait for landmark dates to make changes, to initiate movement, or strive for a better me.

This time around, when I sat down to hash out next year’s goals, I came up empty. Not because I don’t have any, but because the momentum is already there and the goals are already in place. I don’t have anything new.

Usually, I would say something like, “Go on an adventure.” This time I say, “Have more adventure.” It’s not, “Go someplace new.” It’s, “Keep going.” Usually it’s, “Read 12 books.” This time it’s, “Keep reading what inspires you.”

Sometimes I pick a theme for the year. “Intention” was one, “Adventure” was another. “Solitude,” “Peace,” and “Reflection” were others. They were all chosen to keep me focused on what I needed to be doing, how I should do it, and feelings that I was trying to cultivate in my life.

Klahhane Ridge

I went outside, washington

My hiking companion and I were very excited to hike Mount Storm King on the Olympic Peninsula overlooking Crescent Lake. Unfortunately, we detoured from our original plan just four miles from the trail head. Instead of slinking home, because who does that, we quickly made a new plan, consulted the ranger, and headed to into Olympic National Park to test out Klahhane Ridge. The day did not disappoint or suck in any way. It was magic.