Tag Archives: California
I’m slogging up a long ramp of beach-like sand toward Cox Col, an off-trail pass sitting a few ticks over 13,000 feet in California’s John Muir Wilderness. The high-altitude sun feels like a blacksmith’s forge hovering right above my head. My breaths come faster than my steps, and I feel lightheaded. But I’m thinking mostly about the pass ahead of us—and whether there’s a safe route over it. Continue reading →
I feel the familiar nervous excitement just walking up to the base of the sun-warmed granite cliff, climbing gear jangling on my harness, rope over my shoulder. For various reasons, I haven’t gotten on rock in months. But as soon as I start moving upward and stick the first cam into a crack, I realize how much I’ve missed this intensity of focus, this sensation that there’s nothing else in the world except what I’m experiencing right here and now.
There aren’t many things in life that replicate the feeling of an eighth-grade date. For me, rock climbing still does it, after all these years. Continue reading →
My seven-year-old daughter, Alex, is engaged in some heavy intellectual lifting. I can tell by the way she stares quietly, her brow knitted in thought, at Upper Yosemite Falls. We’ve hiked for 90 minutes up a thousand vertical feet of hot, dusty trail above Yosemite Valley to stand below this curtain of water that plunges a sheer 1,430 feet off a cliff, ripping through the air with a sound like fighter jets buzzing us. Continue reading →
“You have to embrace the hills.”
That subtly foreshadowing line from an e-mail my running partner today, Janet Bowman, sent me a few days ago leaps to mind, as we struggle to run up a trail pitched at the angle of an Olympic ski jump. Perspiration streams off my head like a hard rain as, rapid-fire, I gasp for air and release loud bursts of breath—this even though we’re only moving at a pace that might be described as a determined shuffle. Just minutes into a 9.5-mile trail run across the rugged hills of Northern California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA)—one that will carry us up and down 2,300 vertical feet—I’m wondering how many anaerobic-threshold moments lie ahead.
And I’ve only gone less than a mile. Continue reading →