Thirsty Thursday: Flying Solo

Rambler: Beth Drink at Hand: Prospect 49 Boomtown Red (thanks BevMo 5¢ Wine Sale!)

Hey hey hey! Thirsty Thursday is here! Time to pour something yummy and make those weekend plans. I've already made my plans and I'm super excited. I've caught the mountain bug, so I'm headed up to the Sierra again this weekend. Time to take Massey on her first overnight backpack trip. The bummer is that Terry is stuck in a computer nerd training class this weekend, so he can't go along. Just me and the dog. That's right, just me and the dog. Alone. In the wilderness.

The reaction I get when I say I'm headed out backpacking alone is always interesting. I normally get a gasp, followed by the following conversation...

Concerned bystander: Your husband isn't going with you?

Me: Well, yeah, he 100% would be going with me if he were free, but he's not, and I want to go to the mountains before it starts snowing for the year. So, no, he's not going with me.

Concerned bystander: Does he know you're going by yourself?

Me: Yes, he knows I'm going. And I am taking my dog so I won't be alone.

Concerned bystander: And he's okay with it?

Me: Yeah, he's perfectly fine with it...this isn't the first time I've done this. 

Concerned bystander: I don't know if its a good idea. You better be careful. Do you know what you're doing? 

It goes on and on. Every time it's the same conversation. I have snarky, sarcastic replies to every one of these questions, but I keep them to myself. My favorite part is right after they ask if my husband is going and I answer no. They look at me as if I just said its okay to come to work naked on Friday. I love Terry to death and I would love to have him right there along with me, but let's be honest, when it comes to outdoorsy stuff, Terry isn't the authority in our house. He's very competent in the woods and can figure stuff out, but I'm normally the one making the outdoor decisions around here. Besides, he's the guy that smashes his face on rocks, or snaps a lens off the front of the camera while tumbling down a mountainside, or thinks that hanging precariously off a cliff over a raging river to get a shot is just fine...honestly, he requires more tending to out there than me. Yet I guarantee that no one would look at him incredulously and ask him why his wife isn't going along when he says he's headed into the woods for a weekend by himself. Funny little social nuance, isn't it?

Ironically, I was planning to be in the mountains all fall. Earlier this summer I had filled out the application to do the NOLS Outdoor Educator Semester in Lander, WY. The course I planned to attend actually started this week. My GI Bill would have covered the tuition costs. The skills I would have learned would lend themselves perfectly to our dream business plan of accompanying people on their adventures and expeditions as documentary photographers. The same week I was all set to submit my application package and buy some new long underwear, I got a call for a job interview. The interview turned into a job. I really like my job. And I love that I have a paycheck again. Plus I get to see Terry all fall rather than spending 50-some days apart while I went through the course. But a little part of me wishes I was somewhere in the Wind River Range right now, learning how to climb...and I was really looking forward to the snow cave part of the course. Someday...

So I'm headed out to the Sierra as a little consolation prize for me. Besides, I love a solo adventure every now and again. I like being able to wander and think. I used to get my alone time on the bike throughout the week while I was training for Leadville, but with the new job and no bike racing, I've been without that regular solo release. Plus my solo backpacking trips are always centered around some photography work, and I the freedom to work independently while sizing up a subject and lining up a composition is quite nice.  I know I'll miss having my favorite hiking / photo buddy along, but I'll be just fine. And I have my guard dog to keep me company.

And at the end of the day, if you're out there doing what you love, even if there is a hint of danger involved, that's what matters. So I'll be doing what I love in the Kaiser Wilderness this weekend. Its going to be awesome!