Monday, May 5, 2014

Goals, Goals, Goals

Goals are one of those things that can either be good or bad. They can either motivate you to keep pushing on, or they can get you down when you aren't able to meet them. Last summer, I had a dose of both ends of the spectrum. 

Little was known about how my recovery would go last year. The one thing that was well-known though was how determined I was to get my life back. I had my ups and downs, but that was to be expected. I set a goal to make it up Moro Rock under my own power on June 1. I did it, unassisted, and passed a few people along the way. I set a very lofty goal to see the EVO again via Lamarck Col. I didn't meet that goal, but I made one hell of an attempt. [I can't control the weather, thunderstorms rolled in where we were, and I can't control when Dave gets AMS.] Was I disappointed I didn't meet that goal? Of course! At the same time, look at all the progress I made last spring and summer. How could I honestly be disappointed? Well, it's time to set some summer goals again...

Summer Goals: The Backpacking Edition

It is well-known that all I want to do this summer is spend time in the Sierra backpacking. I haven't actually backpacked since we went to Precipice Lake in October of 2012. We tried a little trip to Pear Lake last October, but between time off from hiking and other things, it wasn't successful. At least I tried though - that's all that really matters. Well, with the low snow year we had in the Sierra, it's time to start getting ready for backpacking season. That starts with setting my goals...

Goal 1: EVO or Bust!
After not making it to Evolution Valley last summer, or even getting a glimpse of it from Lamarck Col, it's time to go back this summer. I touched on how much the Evolution Valley means to me in my goals post last year, so I'm not going to expand on that in this post. Dave and I are probably going to attempt several trips to the area this summer (it's a gateway to the Ionian Basin and also Mt Goddard), but I'm going to focus on the first trip there. The plan is to cross Lamarck Col and set up a base camp in Darwin Canyon on the first night, possibly near Darwin Bench. The second day will be spent hiking in EVO - exploring all of my favorite lakes and possibly going to the Muir Hut depending on now I am feeling. The last day of the trip will be packing up our base camp in Darwin Canyon and hiking out to North Lake. Is this ambitious? Of course it is! This will definitely not be an easy trip like I would have considered it to be, prior to the events of last year, but I'm looking forward to the challenge. Plus, I'd meet last summers goal in the process too. Bonus! 

Sapphire Lake. The Darwin-Mendel Massif is in the distance.

Goal 2: Precipice Lake, not via the High Sierra Trail
The last backpacking trip I made was to Precipice Lake. Aside from the Evolution Valley, it is probably my favorite spot in the Sierra. I blame Ansel Adams for that. Well, as Dave knows quite well, I'm not a fan of the first 11 or so miles of the usual route to get there. This time we plan to go about it another way - by starting in Mineral King. The route is more challenging than the standard route, but I always love a challenge. I'm also looking forward to the change of scenery on the way to Precipice. Along the way, we get to revisit the Nine Lakes Basin, to which I am looking forward. We haven't been in this area since we did the High Sierra Trail in 2011. All in all, it's another lofty goal, but setting lofty goals is what I do. I have a date with Ansel Adams this summer... 

Precipice Lake - October 2012

Actually, I don't even know if I need a silly disclaimer. I know that I haven't backpacked yet. I know there is the unknown of whether I'll really be able to do it or not, therefore possibly making these goals unreachable this summer. I don't know how my body will handle longer trips and carrying a bit more weight. There are a lot of unknowns. I don't care. I'm going to try. I'm going to prepare and train like it will happen, all while listening and paying close attention to my body. Listening to my body potentially means making major life changes before this summer gets into full swing. These days, doing what is best for my body is what matters the most to me. Regardless of what I do, the backpacking transition might not be easy or go as quickly as I would like it to, but that's been the story of my recovery. When you love something as much as I love being in the Sierra, you give it everything you have and fight for it. I plan on doing that. Bring on backpacking season!

"The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are cathedrals where I practice my religion." :: Anatoli Boukreev