December 18, 2003


This cold thing is starting to get out of hand. I’ve been playing it safe and sleeping lots and not playing outside in the cold and drinking homestyle orange juice so it isn’t progressing into something fierce, but it isn’t going away, either. I’ve now missed two bluebird days at the Mountain, which are a precious commodity in the Cascades because the weather is pretty nasty most of the time. Overcast skies, thick fog, blowing snow, wind that tries to rip you from the chairlift, the occasional rainstorm… they’re all a reminder that those 300 inches of snow have to come from somewhere. The Summit chair was open today, which ground my soul something else because the Summit chair typically only opens three days a season, and this season it has already been open three days.

Mentally and spiritually I need to be shreddin’ around the mountain, but physiologically my body suggests that I need to take it easy, lest three days of needed rest blossom into two unnecessary weeks of stumbling angst at the world. The hardest part about not being at the Mountain is that all of my friends are fellow co-workers up there, and since we’ve so far been lazy about trading phone numbers, if I don’t see them on the slopes I won’t see them in town.

Nonetheless, the day hasn’t been a total loss. I swung by the mountaineering shop down the street to learn where all the climbing punks hang out in town, and they referred me to the Cascades Mountaineers, who are based out of the Central Oregon Environmental Center (also right down the street). I dropped by, picked up details on their next meeting, and trucked on down to Bend Map and Blueprint to pour over topo maps and whet my appetite for adventure.

Also, I am seriously pursuing an avenue that would make Bend, Oregon my home for an undisclosed number of years and months. This is a spooky prospect, as I am still a bit uncomfortable with the idea of casting down roots, especially so far from the place and people that feel like home. The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that there could be worse things than living in Bend, Oregon, a town that caters to groovy outdoor folk with its mountains and snow and climbing and trails and rivers and lakes and forests and wildfires. If I do end up hanging out here for an extended period of time, I will become, in essence, a western outpost for fellow rugged Midwesterners looking for a change of scenery.

Even though I needed to blaze fresh trails and often navigated by dead reckoning to find my way out here, there’s no reason that you passionate individuals need to dive headlong into the darkness yourselves. Looking for a cool place to hang for a summer? Looking for an outdoor bum lifestyle post-graduation? Chances are we’ll be here, looking for you.

Let the exodus begin.