Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shredded quads are good for the soul

Date: Feb. 20
Mileage: ~7
Total climbing: ~3,300 feet
Time: 2 hours, 34 minutes
Weather: Sunny and hot, 47 degrees, light winds
Details: Ridge hike, 60-90 percent

The high-pressure system continues. I did an ambitious trek up Gold Ridge today. There were nice, packed footprints in the snow; I jogged and power-hiked most of the way up and ran, loped and hobbled on the way down. The reason I pushed it so hard is because I didn't get started until nearly noon, and I had to be to work before 3:30. The reason I didn't get started until nearly noon is because I couldn't pull myself out of bed in the morning. The reason I couldn't pull myself out of bed is because I felt sore and hung-over and generally crappy from a 13-plus-hour weekend of hard labor in the hot sun.

But eventually I dragged myself toward my coffee maker, gulped an entire pot of rocket fuel, and rallied. "Why bother?" you might ask. "What's the point?" you might ask. I have my reasons. Even as these mountain benders rip up my body and burn my eyes, the experience of being immersed in the fog of it, drunk on endorphins and awestruck at the scope and beauty of the world, is a healing experience. It gives me clarity and hope. The reason I do it - the same reason some meditate, the same reason others dance or paint or pray. It's my way of feeling wholly connected, creative, energized and alive.

On a place like Gold Ridge, I see others, just as awestruck, just as invigorated, and I know I'm not alone in this. But, like all things in the universe, every reward comes with a cost. And like every bender, every mountain binge comes with a hangover. And like every hangover, the only cure is to get right back out there.


  1. Ahhh hair of the dog. :-) I totally get it. Most readers likely do. The shoulder season will come soon enough and be yucky. Oh wait, you bike in that crap. Well, whatever. There will be a yucky spell and you'll get some sleep then.

  2. Your 'team-mate' has also 'shredded his quads'...including a 4.5 hr run to skoki and back in the brilliant sunshine yesterday! Out for another big one today...going to ski all that stuff we looked at 'on the horizon' day!

    Talk to you soon!


  3. Hi Jill,

    Erin McKittrick here (you wrote an article on my book when we came to Juneau this fall). Just wanted to drop you a note to say I just read your book and liked it a lot! And it reminds me of why although I love long distance wilderness travel, I don't like racing. :)

  4. i like a bloody mary on the lift in the morning ;-) best o both hangover cures


Feedback is always appreciated!