Sunday, August 09, 2009

Let your troubles roll by

It's been a quiet week ... still searching for a home, working long hours, meeting new friends, thinking abstractly about the next adventure, and recovering. My achilles tendonitis flared up with a vengeance after the Soggy Bottom. It's forced me to take it easy, and I don't think that's a bad thing. I recognize now that I entered the Soggy Bottom as an emotional reaction to my unsettled state of mind. I was in culture shock my first couple of weeks back in Juneau, and I think I just needed something to look forward to, some kind of clear goal to take my mind off the foggy present. But the reality was I wasn't ready for a long race, physically or mentally. My head was just never in it and my heels turned to sandpaper. Luckily, I had a lot of fun on the Res Pass trail just the same and I don't think I set myself back too far. I spent a full week off the bike and did a few easy hikes. Daniel - a guy I met on Mount Juneau two days after I returned from the south - and I powered up Mount Jumbo on Friday. The weather had taken a turn for the worse, but it was the best I felt all week.

Today, my head was in need of a long ride but my body's still not ready. I compromised with an activity that often includes as much hiking and resting as pedaling ... the hunt for ever-elusive Juneau singletrack. As you can see, we in Juneau have very unique ideas about what constitutes a "trail." Finding new routes usually involves more creativity than strength.

Rotten boardwalk? Why not?

Higher up on the ridge, I found some nice trail. Thick fog swirled over the trees as the loamy surface absorbed all sounds, creating a white sort of silence. Eerie. Reverent. Exactly what I had been searching for.

The fog sunk in deeper and I found myself feeling disoriented, uncertain, longing for colors and stolen views. The seconds marched toward evening and plans I had scheduled, and still I was reluctant to turn around. I had discovered new trail, which was gratifying. I was lost in an encapsulating silence, which was eerily thrilling. And I was riding my bike again, which, despite the dull pain in my heel, was pacifying. I still have to take it easy, but I'm glad I got out today. I needed that.