Out of Bed.

My headlight bounces in the dark and I suddenly notice some glowing eyes on the concrete path in front of me. The deer seem as shocked as I am to see someone running down the path in the chill October night. My breath puffs a steamy cloud in front of my face and I trundle down the path.

I’m not sure what propelled me out of my warm bed with Sprocket curled up against me. I felt required to put down my excellent book, don shorts and headlamp and run. The relatable prose had somehow pulled me in so far it has pushed me out and demanded I live, right now at this minute. Life has impeded these moments of clarity and running—or rather, I’ve let my excuses get in the way of exercising. No one blames you for not working up a sweat when you lack shower facilities. No one gives it a second thought when you say, “But I work seven days a week.” No one, that is but the yourself as you feel continually less fit, less confident, less whole.

I reach the old railroad bridge and hear rustling in the bushes near the river. It could be a bear or a skunk, it is likely more deer, and in a worst case, could be a mountain lion. There is nothing to be done about the creature minding their own business out of sight and I run on. The bridge looks like the set of a Halloween movie and I attempt to capture it in a photo because I find it so ridiculous. I fail, as I knew I would.

A mile from my house, I force myself to turn around. I haven’t been running and I didn’t warm up and it’s cold. There is no need to risk injury more than I already have and I really should get to sleep. As I cross the bridge again on the return trip, I can feel my mood rise a little bit like the mist off the Uncompahgre. “I need to do this everyday,” I tell myself.

The impossibility of that looms before me; even just this week I have evening work commitments and I question how realistic it is that I’ll sort out how not to smell at work. Part of me, a big part of me, doesn’t care though. I want to feel strong again. I’ve started rediscovering social parts of myself but this, the part of me that can agree to any hike and is ready for new challenges has been in hiding. Perhaps I’ll try to reclaim that part in the dark where no one can see a bit longer; I know that’s better than not reclaiming it at all.

Running past my appliances in my yard, I glance at the house before I go into the shed. That’s mine. That’s why I’ve sacrificed the feeling of the chill on my legs and the hours for words to enter my eyes and also to exit my fingers onto the screen.

I’ve been feeling like there’s some moral to my story, the larger story, not just this run or the house or processing of lots of old feelings I’ve ignored but I can’t put my finger on it. I need to write about it more, both publicly and privately. I need to move my feet to ruminate on it more. Back in the shed, I pulled off my clothes before I could really start sweating in the warmth of my tiny home. Baby wipe basics done, I crawled in bed, pulled my pup to my chest, finished the page I’d been reading and wondered if this is what it feels like to have the pieces come together.

#SummitSummer 2015

#SummitSummer 2015 is over. I’d half hoped to head to Holy Cross last weekend but I just wasn’t totally feeling it. I had to work Friday and decided I should go to Grand Junction, do some shopping, get dinner, and then chill out at home. I’m glad I only went that far since the Jeep did not have a good night. (A tow truck ride later, we made it home and thanks to #ruralliving + community Facebook groups, I have the part I really hope fixes the problem already.)

Anyhow, Wednesday is officially the start of fall (although the last few weekends have definitely felt like fall). I didn’t complete all the summits I wanted to (Hesperus, Handies Peak, the Maroon Bells, and the Chicago Basin 14ers come to mind) but I really did make some serious progress towards my hiking goals this year.

Flattops

One of my major goals for 2015 was to hit the 50% level on the Colorado County Highpoint list. I started 2014 with 3.1% completed and I started 2015 at 17.2% completed*: today, after a lovely summit summer, I’m at 40.6%. I really let the county highpoint list drive my adventuring this summer but I don’t regret it in the least. I got to drive all over the mountains of my (relatively) new home state getting to know its mountain ranges and little towns.

I’m sad to see the summer come to an end. Sometimes I was frustrated with the weather, sometimes it was a little lonely, sometimes it was a little weird. There were lots of puppy cuddles, an FSJ convention, and a lot of miles on the road.

Beth & Sprocket on Mt. Zirkel

Even though there have been a lot of successes on the peaks**, the #summitsummer effect was real: I’d chased a goal, I’d been independent, I’d been happy. Life happened, I didn’t get everything done, but I did really make progress towards my goals. I thought back to this winter and how I declared #thenightisdarkandfullofsparkles to a guiding principle for 2015. The winter was really dark at times and the peaks of summer barely sparkled in the distance.

#summitsummer 2015 set me up to look forward to this winter and on to 2016. I’m excited about what is happening in my life. It’s not perfect, but I’m moving to where I want to be.
Year Accumulation 9/15

 

*11 counties: Ouray (Mt. Sneffels), Dolores (Mt. Wilson), Montrose (Castle Rock), Delta (Mt. Lamborn), Mesa (Leon Peak), San Miguel (Wilson Peak), Hinsdale (Uncompahgre Peak), Denver, Arapahoe, Adams, Broomfield.

 

**I have never hiked more vertical to peaks in a year. I’ve hiked a few hundred miles. I’ve never hiked more peaks by the end of September in a year. I’ve climbed 8 ranked 14,000′ peaks (plus 4 unranked peaks), 6 13,000′ peaks (plus 1 unranked peak), and 3 peaks over 12,000′.

Goodbye 2014

2014.

Wow. You sort of kicked my butt all over in awesome ways and some pretty horrible moments.

January:

Spent sometime in the Yuma area and visited Los Algodones, Mexico. Hiked Signal Peak which wound up being one of my favorite hikes of the year. Competed in Columbia Sportswear’s #omnigamesand won.

Season 4 at Deer Valley Press Conference

February:

February was all about Arizona adventures. We spent some time exploring the Sierra Anchas which definitely a highlight.

Parker Creek Canyon

March:

March included some more exploring of Northern Arizona and New Mexico. We wandered through some beautiful places.

April:

April was all about JORDAN. I mean, how lucky am I?

Beth in Jordan

Photo: M. Going, Columbia

May:

May was a month of upheaval. We started out in California but ended up being in Oregon. Rolling with the punches was the name of the game.

Seed Tree

June:

I got to run in Rainier To Ruston again this time with a three person team instead of our usual four person one! I (sort of) learned to ride a motorcycle. I also was a bridesmaid in Stacia and Andrea’s wedding.

Stacia's Wedding

Amanda Summerlin Photography

July:

I did some hiking in Oregon but most importantly, I got to move back to Ridgway, Colorado.

Colorful Colorado

August:

August started out on such a high of being a new Colorado resident and heading off for lots of fun at Outdoor Retailer. The stoke continued with a fantastic trip back exploring Utah and Colorado with Sprocket. I added to my list of Colorado County Highpoints with Montrose County’s Castle Rock. The month ended with a mix of excitement about my new job and the heartbreak of ending my marriage with Forrest.

Cliffs near Storm King

September:

Although September was a tough month, it was epic enough that it qualified for a wrap-up of its own. I floated the Gunnison with friends and Sprocket. I climbed Wilson Peak (a 14er and San Miguel County Highpoint), Uncomphagre Peak (a 14er, Colorado’s 6th highest mountain, and Hindsale County Highpoint), Mt. Lamborn (Delta County Highpoint), and Leon Peak (Mesa County Highpoint). I bought a lot in Ridgway and celebrated with Sprocket. “I Am #omniten” debuted on YouTube.

Trail selfie

October:

Kristin came to visit and we hiked Courthouse Mountain and visited Telluride. #damselNOTindistress was in full swing. I drove to Joe’s Valley to go bouldering with Josh, Andy, and Steve.

 Courthouse summit selfie

November:

November had a lot more #damselNOTindistress-ing. I finally climbed Precipice Peak. I saw Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell in concert at the Wright Opera House. Had a lovely snowy afternoon walk on Piñon Mesa. I traveled to Connecticut for Lucy and Franz’s wedding.

Late afternoon. Early winter.

December:

I got my first Christmas tree in three years! It was so much fun to make cookies, decorate a bit, and send out Christmas cards.

Bailey's Christmas Bow

Bring it 2015. I’m so excited for my best year yet.