Looking Forward (but Only a Bit)

A short entry tonight—it’s later than usual and my battery charger seems to be dying on me, so not much juice in the wee phone.

It was a better day today. I suspect there may be many peaks and valleys along this trek, which is difficult for a guy who likes to work out patterns and systems to make things consistent and smooth. Part of the journey is working to find the joy in the uneven and rough, since that reflects life far more accurately. As many of you suggested, it really is about living in the moment, a task to which I am currently ill-suited, but which I hope to learn by doing.

The family met me along the trails and we shared a delightful few hours filled with chicken fried steak and eggs (the first time I think I’ve ever eaten that favored dish without feeling guilty), gallons of iced tea (I dream of iced drinks in quantity and Popsicles as I climb hot mountains), and just enjoyed their general nuttery. It was hard to leave them again, but the trail passed more quickly this afternoon, and my heart is lighter for getting to see them again (and holding on to the promise to meet up with them again in about a week).

The trail was up to its old, cruel tricks again today. After a long, lovely descent through oak-thick hillsides, trailing happily adown to the valley below, after a road junction I suddenly started to climb God’s own stairway: a series of switchbacks toward Mt. Baden-Powell that just will not quit. I stopped here at the first flat spot I could find. You know those terrifying pictures of mountaineers with tents pitched precariously on sheer rock faces ten thousand feet up, held in place only by a few guy lines? It’s like that.

Tomorrow, I rise early to finish the ascent and thence on toward the desert. Here’s to a safe night with no rolling over.

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9 thoughts on “Looking Forward (but Only a Bit)

  1. Take care and keep moving forward!

  2. So, tonight Marilyn and I went to see Hugh Laurie and the Copper Bottom Band perform here in Riverside. It was an incredible show, and I wish you’d been able to see it with us. After the third encore performance (one of them was the theme song they used for “A Bit of Fry and Laurie”) I spoke to a security guy in the hopes of getting a second to meet Hugh – you know, like we did when we met Susan Egan – and convince him to say a few encouraging words to you while I filmed him on my iPhone. Unfortunately, I got arrested.

    That is, “arrested” in the sense of “they stopped me from doing that.” The security guy told me Hugh and the band were leaving very shortly and didn’t have any time to meet fans. Bummer. But I hope that you’ll still take a moment to reflect on how cool it would have been to turn on your phone and see a video in which Hugh Laurie personally said, “Michael, what you’re doing is amazing and I think you’re a brave and admirable man for undertaking such a journey. Well done.” And then maybe he’d make a silly face or something.

    Yeah, that would have been awesome.

    • I will always cherish that video. Hugh was so gracious and amusing as he wished me well. And that joke at the end! Holy cow!

      Alternately, I also delight in the image of you being dragged away in handcuffs, shouting and biting. Good times.

  3. Kristen

    Just checking in to let you know I reading and thinking about you. Andy and I recently took an idea from Mr Kolmel(yes that one) and turned our scratched up dinin room table into a place for our friends to leave their mark on our household. I am really looking forward to having you, Joanna and the kids come down, sign the table and regale us with tales of your adventures. I hope the trail treats you well and the bugs leave you be.

    • I, too, look forward to visiting and sharing stories, as well as marking up your table. Ideally there will be new tales in the near future.

  4. Signed dining room table…that’s a fantastic idea!!
    Sorry Mike, I know this blog is about you…but c’mon – what a great idea.

  5. Vicente

    You’re doing an outstanding job. Keep it up!
    – SBVC Colleague

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