The Cons
My entire body aches.

It’s worse up top where my head is which is decently pounding due to some foreign contamination and really cold water. And probably way too much Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. Emergen-C, hydration and hot shower please.

Next my arms and shoulders feel like I just bench pressed a small whale. The amount of muscle building right now based on the acidic burn is at an all time high: carrying my room key was a challenge. I have a pinched nerve in my right shoulder. That was from sleeping weird last night. And I think I have a torn muscle on my right lower rib cage. That happened at Linda Mar in Pacifica a few days back. I wasn’t even surfing. I was just laying there. On the board. And I twerked it. Also, I have a bruise on my left forearm. No explanation.

My bladder is enlarged and probably developing some strange behavioral problems. Apparently some people pee in their brand new wetsuits. Weirdos. (Ok I did it once, but it was an emergency!)

My fingers are numb. Four hours later. Ok ok not for that long but using things like car keys and smartphones presents a challenge. It’s like getting in your car after a day of skiing Whitefish.

My legs and feet, which are mostly fine, suffered a pre charley horse for 4.3 seconds in the coldest December Pacific water known to man. Well, ok, not that cold, but cold enough for muscle to not work. I freaked out because for an instant there I didn’t think my legs would return to normal but at the last second I recovered them. You know that moment, right? When you can do some auto magic muscle movement and save yourself from an hour of pain. I know you know it. Regardless, I can still feel the remnant of the spasm.

The Pros:
I’m learning to fucking surf. And I saw a jellyfish in Santa Cruz.

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“Climbing K2 or floating the Grand Canyon in an inner tube; there are some things one would rather have done than do.” -Edward Abbey

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A sea of mountains extend out my window seat, stage right. There’s a forest fire burning down there causing hazy strips of smoke extending southeast into the pacific which is now coming into view. The sun, just beyond the wing is reflection magically, creating a natural gradient of beiges and peaches. Designers everywhere are jealous.

The plane makes a course adjustment and the sun now bathes me directly. It’s the only thing. It’s everything. I crave it so much. It’s warmth. It’s life. I want to live with my shirt off.

We are now entirely over Pacific just north of San Francisco. The vastness is amazing and very foreign to me. I grew up in the Rockies and that much flat expanse is mind boggling. So it’s thousands of miles until there’s more land? I don’t get it.

We’ll be landing soon. The fun about landing at SFO is that you for the entire approach think you’re going to splash into the bay. Jokes aside that would suck. But it’s a simple enjoyment that distracts any willing participant away from the reality of Babylon.

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It was only from the still image attached to a single email that I knew Elena Tonra would be another hauntingly emotional force to experience. And then I watched her sing. To me, her talents and voice are trumped only by her honest and humble nature. This is band called Daughter.

‘And if you’re still bleeding, you’re the lucky one.’

You can watch it here too.

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For a combination of reasons, I barely slept. I was cold for starters; the temperature below freezing. And the wind, a light but constant menace with an unexpected dessert-like warmth. Still I was chilled and shivering to the bone. Patches of snow lay around me, though the ridge that is Longs Pass is mostly barren rock.

My attempts to warm (by burrowing deeper into my bivy and sleeping bag) would end with a gasp for fresh air. So there you have it, I was stuck between asphyxiation and bone chilling cold. Well asphyxiation is a bit dramatic, but this is my blog not yours.

The waning moon rose much later than I anticipated, which made for an exquisite display of the Milky Way. It was straight above me for many hours, beckoning me to absorb it as often as possible. In fact, I wanted to eat the entire sky and wash it down with a cup of coffee.

To my north rose the jagged rocky majestic peak known as Mount Stuart, marking the south edge of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The moon now high in the sky opaquely lit it up, while the ever present Big Dipper circled out from behind it. To my south the waning glow of the sun, lasting well into the late evening, silhouetted the mountains surrounding the Teanaway drainage. Mount Rainier included. I was surprised to see it from this vantage but of course very pleased. So like I said I wanted to eat the entire sky.

Adding to all this excitement and beauty and discomfort I would brave the elements, leaving my cocoon to adjust my camera or make sure it was still capturing whatever scene I deemed most important to capture. I would lazily boot up with stubborn numb fingers, scanning the sky and skyline for the perfect shot.

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