07 August 2016
Sure, it took as long as it was supposed to, but still not long enough.
I've been back in civilization (or whatever you call Los Angeles) for two weeks now, and I miss being up in the mountains. I miss the clean air and clean water. I miss seeing the Milky Way in the dark night skies. I miss the solitude, and I miss the people.
It's different being alone up there. When you're alone here in the city, it's easier to feel lonely. But when you're alone out there, you feel free.
With no cell phone reception, I didn't feel compelled to check my texts or social media every five minutes. I had everything I needed to be happy up there. I had my food and water. My eyes had all the beauty they could handle. My ears had none of the mind-numbing urban aural clutter, just the sounds of nature.
I could be alone with my thoughts.
Or I could just be.
I'm the type whose brain is usually whirring along at a cruising speed of a million thoughts an hour, and at times, it can be overwhelming.
But up there, I could shut it all off.
No pressing matters needed my attention. There wasn't anything else I needed to be doing. There was Point A and Point B, and my challenge was to find my way between the two... nothing else. I could drink in my surroundings and get as intoxicated as I wanted. I didn't need my iPod to engage my brain or drown out the urban intrusions. In fact, I made a conscious decision to leave it at home. If a song was going to find its way into my head, I wanted it to be inspired by the sights and sounds of my journey, not because the next song on shuffle was an old hit by Journey.
I was free of any electronic stimulus. I could sleep when it got dark without trying to prolong my day through games, TV, or the computer. And I could rise with the sun and get on with my day without even a thought of checking my e-mail.
And the people I met along the way were amazing. It's a different culture up there. By virtue of what it is, I think backcountry hiking attracts people with the very best qualities. Everybody is respectful of nature, wildlife, and their fellow hikers. You feel safe around them. You feel a kinship with them. "We're all in this together."
I miss all of that.
But I've also been able to let my foot heal. I've been able to take showers. I've been able to eat fresh food. There's always a trade-off, right?
I shot hours and hours of video along the trip -- more than I even realized. And after completing my Avid setup when I got home, my first order of business was my daughter's wedding video. But I've been ingesting all of the footage, and I'm hoping to have a few videos ready this week, before I embark on a different kind of adventure. One that involves New Orleans and a red dress...