A plan is merely a pipe dream these days. Damn near every time I think I've set something in stone, it crumbles before fruition. Regulations proliferate, closures continue, and comfort levels vary unpredictably in terms of socialization and exposure. Cancelled is the new normal.
I was wildly excited for my "plan" to backpack to Bear Camp in the Mt. St. Helens backcountry this week with my road dog Claire. Unfortunately, she was just exposed to the big C at work and is isolating. Once again I found myself with plans dissolved and empty days to fill. Claire was the permit holder for our site, and I can't honestly say I'm comfortable with the idea of backpacking alone (yet!). Instead, I've decided to start a step below and embark on my first solo camping trip.
I've lived alone for years, hiked alone, traveled alone: road trippin', hopping planes, sleeping in hostels and hotels across the US and abroad, but somehow I've never camped by myself. I'm excited to do something outside my routine and round-the-way radius. Ironically, I'm actually sick and tired of doing shit alone. But as we crest the 5 month mark of quarantine, I'm itching to at least do NEW things alone. Somewhere else. Anywhere else, so help me God...
I moved out of Seattle desperate for all the things I've acquired here: a slower pace, privacy, time alone to nurse my creativity, easier access to the outdoors. All in all, my time in Olympia has been the perfect antithesis to my previous life. I'm ever grateful for the intermission.
The first year here was great, the second okay, and now I'm beyond ready for the next adventure. It's not exactly the easiest time to uproot your entire life, though. I wonder constantly what forming community and connection in a new place would take during these socially distanced times. I can't know until I try, but the fear of incidentally isolating myself even more does weigh on my heart. I have wonderful friends here and of course, in the city. Still, the road is calling and departure is nigh...(more on that soon)
I honestly think part of the existential crisis of ageing is the lack of "newness" and a persistent sense of deja vu that nags at the psyche; a feeling that so much of what is happening or even being said from day to day is a version of something already experienced. Seeking newness and novelty and edging out the boundaries of my comfort zone are my attempt to slow the process-or at least my awareness-of getting older.
Photos from my (solo, haaaa) hike to Glacier Basin last Friday. Certainly one of the easiest and most accessible trails I've done at Rainier, while still avoiding the huge parking lots at the visitor centers. An amazing place to witness the wildflowers and continue practicing plant identification. I also encountered more bear scat than I've ever seen, but no sightings. WTA trip reports have recorded more bear sightings than ever before in the park this year, as evidenced by this insane photo from nearby Spray Park.