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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Where Did October Go??

Just got back from a small climbing trip to the hinterlands of Nevada and, let me tell you, I don’t think there’s any state—including Alaska—that has quite the back-end-of-the-world feel Nevada does. You can drive for hours on paved roads and only see one or two other cars. It’s truly like the world ended and no one told you.

Interestingly, the back roads winding up fetching little canyons were chock full of hunters. Maybe that’s why there was no one on the macadam. As a climber, hordes of hunters make me a bit nervous. My husband remembers growing up in the forties and fifties in rural Montana. Every hunting season, there were hunters killed by “friendly fire”. So, I wear lots of bright colors and tie bandanas around the dogs’ necks. Sometimes I sing. Good thing there's no one to hear since I've never been able to carry a tune!

We managed to climb a couple of remote peaks; three to be precise. But two were twin peaks, so they really only count as one since I didn’t have to conquer a whole bunch more vertical to stand on top of something.

I realized as we pulled back into California yesterday that it was Halloween and ski season was only about twelve days away. Of course, Mammoth Mountain doesn’t have much in the way of snow. But I’ll bet they’re making it. It’s been cold enough at night. And, flurries are forecast for Thursday. Today, however, the sun is bright and the sky is the incredible blue that it only seems to get in the Eastern Sierra. I’ll enjoy an extended fall for as long as I can. When winter comes at eight thousand feet, it stays for a very long time.

Just before we left for Nevada, our central heat quit. And, because this is the Eastern Sierra and service isn’t easy to come by, it took several days before the one Carrier-certified guy in the region had time for us. We couldn’t have left town without the ability to set the thermostat to something low, but above freezing. If we had, we’d have risked frozen pipes. In any event, seems a hardy chipmunk had crawled up onto our roof. He was the curious sort because he managed to fall twenty-five feet down the exhaust pipe of our propane furnace to the ground floor where he blocked the air egress. Because the furnace is smarter than the chipmunk, it knew better than to start up. The good news is it only took the repair guy half an hour and we were good to go.

Even though we have heat again, I’m still sad to see an all-too-short summer fade into winter. It didn’t get warm here until early July. On a more positive note, I got in way more backpacking than I thought I would given the amount of snow blocking high passes in the Sierra. And, who knows? Perhaps this will be a low snow winter. We’re due after two winters with incredibly heavy snowfall. It still hasn’t sunk in that I’m partially retired and can go skiing during the week when the mountain looks about as empty as Nevada’s back roads. I’m sure that reality will come home to roost sometime in December. Assuming we get some snow that is. I've racked up many a ski early season on subterranean rocks.

Think I’ll circle back to psychological topics beginning with next week. We’ve had a rash of very unhappy folk through our clinic doors here of late. So, maybe I’ll blog about expectations and learning to value what we have instead of always wanting something different. If there are topics any of you are interested in, let me know. I can be fairly eclectic so long as the area has something to do with how people view/process their worlds.

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