Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hells? Oh, noes.

Should be trig. Isn't anymore.

OK, I think I've jumped the shark again.

I was planning on hiking the high trail along the western side of Hells Canyon, something I did four years ago. I drove 475 miles from my hideout in the woods to the edge of Hells Canyon, stayed overnight in my car, and then turned around and drove 475 miles back.

When I got up that morning rain was falling. I couldn't face it. I didn't have much view of the sky, but since I saw stars overnight, I figured that the weather was coming in and was going to get worse, even though the forecast didn't say much either way. And that was it.

I had to decide one way or another and I couldn't face a day of rain.

Made it this far.

About two hours later, after I'd driven well up and away from the canyon area, things looked better though there was a big storm out east. I still couldn't tell if the storm was going farther east, or coming west, or going some other direction. I almost turned around and went back, quit my quitting. But meh. Inertia, once set in motion, becomes self-sustaining.

A day and a half later I was back in Olympia, on Friday, and then it rained all night, and all weekend, and half of Sunday night. That would be the night before last. Still fresh in my short-term memory.

It looks like though I want to go out and go backpacking, I just don't feel like actually doing any backpacking.

Looking back the way I came, toward the lonely guy's hotel (far right).

I did make a short drive out of town on Saturday, up the Skokomish River, and spent the night in the woods trying out my new hammock setup. That was nice enough, especially sleeping in a hammock again (best way to sleep ever), but I almost got drenched before I got it up, and mostly wetted out on the short hike back to my car on Sunday. And didn't much enjoy the hiking part. More of the same, you know? And had no place to go at the end to lay out my gear to dry and clean it. Only a 4x5-foot self-storage locker.

This happens.

For a while I went fishing all the time, then just didn't care any more. Built a couple of rods up from blanks — wound on the line guides, glued on cork rings and shaped them into grips by sanding, made them all shipshape and usable.

I did years worth of film developing and printing in a home darkroom, in a basement, then just didn't care much any more, at least about that end of photography. It dead-ended.

Went backpacking for a short while before returning to college for a second pass, then found bicycling. Built several bikes up, starting from the bare frame, made wheels, did it all. Rode STP (Seattle to Portland — 198 miles) in one day. Did RAMROD (Ride Around Mount Rainier In One Day — 156 miles, 10,000 feet of climbing). Did lots of stuff. And then suddenly I didn't care any more.

So back to backpacking, which I hit like crazy for a couple of decades, and now I'm tired and don't want to fuss so much with anything, not even that.

Yesterday I wrote Henry at the hotel in Cuenca, Ecuador. Asked him to let me know when he has an apartment open. No reply yet. I'm pretty much ready to go any time. Don't know what I'll do there, but living on the road is too much bother. I miss going out for lunch, when lunch was the big event of the day, and I miss seeing people on the streets. I miss being a stranger in a strange land. Around here it's all cars, everywhere, and belligerent angry people, all of whome I've met already, too often.

Example: I spent about an hour in Kennewick, WA, looking for the Costco place to buy gas. Geez.

Gazing into the void. (From a Forest Service poster.)

The three cities (Kennewick, Pasco, Richland) are nothing but malls, strip malls, and housing tracts. Might have been nice at one time, when the cities were smaller, with two major rivers meeting there, and lots of parks along them, but now it's the worst of modern life. You can hardly walk from one store in a mall to another store in the same mall because of the traffic. Crazy shit. So I'm kind of waiting for when I can back out of this machine world and get back to where people are people.

I gave my dream a shot and it's crap. Poor me. At least it's only a matter of time. November at the latest. I have an official apartment reservation for November 10, in Cuenca. Thanks to you, my previous self, for thinking of that months ago, as a hedge.

Meanwhile, I'll probably have to wait. I got an eye exam scheduled, but it's July 31. I started a course of vaccinations at Wallgreens, and the final dose is due July 22. So, July. At best/worst I'll probably be here until the end of July.

Last night I remembered that I have a "Senior Citizen Limited Income Pass" for Washington State Parks. Half off. I used it. $12.50 for overnight parking isn't that bad — $375 a month. A set of ear plugs kills any chance of being disturbed, and there's no penalty in using them it's safe there, unlike sleeping in the woods in a state forest, where you never know what might happen in the night.

Will be doing more of that state park business. And probably some actual backpacking. The season is still early and I'm still a sucker, and will get seduced by actual rain-free summer weather if I'm still here when it comes along.

Coda: As it ever has been noted on my report card, so it remains — Frequently disappoints.