Back Again, Redux
This year, my trip north was only six weeks. I wanted to be invited back and a briefer stay, I felt, would make this more likely. MS does have its' strong points; I have freedom to travel and no mind-numbing list of necessary actions exists, necessary but onerous: Sysiphus and his rolling the stone forever up the Hill.
I had my brother Rob come down and we drove I-10 to LA then I-5 north to Portland, where my sister and her family kindly had their Guest Room available. Cool weather, lotsa privacy. Friends to visit and daily evenings out with family. What a delight.
Growing up in a big family (six was 'mid-size' in terms of the number of sibs when I was a kid.), it is only as we all have aged that I finally really meet them as adult people. Living in Arizona with my own scattered nuclear family, a trip to Portland provides a clearer, less biased view of these people, ever toddlers in my memory, now interesting and engaging adults.
Most, except for an unmarried brother and sister, have children of their own. These kids are growing in interesting ways and themselves are on the cusp of interesting adulthood.
When I run a 'morning-bathroom-mirror-inventory', I see an older, aging fellow without the thick mane of youth, with skin weathered by an admittingly-indoor life in the heated aridity of Arizona. A little gut I will likely never now get rid of, the strident urgency of Life largely gone now through the inevitable shunting-off into quieter paths of the River's flow.
Right. Sounds like a guy who needs his endogenous testosterone level checked.
My head is bloody but unbowed.
Anyway, a wonderful time was had and I got to take a bunch of great folks out for various lunches and dinners. One of my greatest pleasures in going to Oregon is visiting Mom and Dad, still soldiering gamely through life. Dad solves the NYT crossword in record time and I am invited to join in. He asks me the solution of a clue, waits a few moments then gives me the answer and writes it in the spaces. Always a pen, Dad is 89. Mom, 85, never drank coffee before meeting Dad. She guessed at how to brew it and we have been drinking 'Navy Coffee' ever since. Think of all the antioxidants!
We, Rob and I, drove back via Donner Pass, where we stopped for lunch and had the best Bar-B-Q rib lunch I've ever had...reminds me of running the Bovey artial electro-coagulator in the Orthopedic Operating Room as a Surgical Resident. Always wanted a steak after that...
Latest Backpacking Plans
After all, the whole point of this blog is to approach the question of Backpacking from the standpoint of MS and associated Life Changes.
A day or two after arriving in Phoenix, my Brother and I went to REI to see what sort of stove they might have and after a while I left with a very small compact device which burns 'isofuel', a combination of propane and butane, as available worldwide as kerosene, I guess. I am too lazy to write the manufacturer's name now, though I promise to in a later blog. The stove comes with an electrostatic igniter and requires no 'prewarming' through an intricate system of tubes my MSR gas stove needed. This new outfit needs no regular maintenance, which is good for me. I'd have gotten another 'Mousetrap' propane stove but it is no longer available.
I am seriously thinking of walking out a mile or so along the Mt Hood Rim Trail either East or West and stopping there to camp overnight. Next Summer. A pipe for dreaming is required...
While mentioning walking, I should note a purchase I made a few months ago. A firm called Black Diamond makes a kind of extendable trekking pole a pair of which have replaced the older ones I had purchased. These extend farther than I'll need and have handles ergonomically set forward 15* or so; This angle makes the sticks become a true extension of the arms. These are not Canadian Crutches and don't support weight but provide the kind of three-dimensional orientation I would need in trail-walking. As usual now, my walks are limited to a couple of thousand yards, done over a day's course.
I am done with this blog-segment. My hands are no longer doing a good job and have tried to erase my carefully-crafted paragraphs. I think next time will be a Story of an Intended walk. I guess I'll have to write one...
Nevada en route home
Needs to be published!
I just read this little 'travel vignette' and I think it would be enjoyed by friends not looking for any Death-Defying Life Truth. Most of the words are even spelled correctly! I re-introduce it, then, for publication and perusal.