How soon we forget

Less than three weeks after quitting my job, I’m getting more comfortable with this post-corporate thing. This morning I found myself trying to recall what that daily stress felt like… and it’s like it was another life, perhaps somebody else’s life. Everything that seemed important in that world is now simply gone. Just letting go of the effort to pretend I still cared is a huge stress relief in itself… without even considering the stress involved in actually trying to do the work.

While I’m loving the relaxed and carefree nature of this new life, I’m also having to let go of the idea that I’m going to run several times a week. I jump right out of bed when I awaken, but I’m waking up too late to feel enthusiastic about running. So I haven’t run since Sunday morning, and I have plans for the next several days that will keep me from running. But that’s all right because I did an absolutely wonderful hike yesterday. I returned to the Coachella Valley Preserve and tagged along with other hikers for a 6-mile, 4-hour hike way back into one of the less accessible palm oases that line the San Andreas Fault in this area. This hike involved walking along the tops of steep, spiny ridges and scrambling up and down boulder-strewn washes. I was rewarded by vistas that did not include obvious signs of human habitation. Yes, it is a bit of a moonscape, but there were moments when there were no airplanes overhead and the silence was profound.

If you look about dead center in this photo you can vaguely see a clump of palms that would be my eventual destination: Pushawalla Palms. The trail at this point runs along the ridgetop at the right.

Here I am just entering the oasis, and looking back up the wash that I had just hiked down:

At the canyon bottom there is a running stream; the palms line the stream for roughly half a mile. There were lots of wild animal prints here (large canines, felines, probable bighorn sheep and several birds) and in several side canyons that I cautiously explored. If any large carnivores saw me, they stayed hidden and out of the midday sun.

There was a slight breeze that caused the palms to rustle and whisper. It was, quite simply, a magical place.

The way out of the oasis was similar to the way in, but steeper and less well marked. Basically, the route was “turn left at the old truck wreck and scramble up to the ridgetop.” The actual way up is to the left of this photo and did not require scaling the cliff itself.

How did the truck get to such a remote location, you ask? Well, the ridgetop here turned out to be the edge of a level plain running several miles northward. Someone must have taken a wild ride across the moonscape, over the edge and down into the canyon.

While I’m not running as much as I’d intended, I feel strong and sturdy and I’m certainly not losing any muscle tone. Hiking up and down hills will actually be good preparation for the trail runs that I’ll be doing on the Alaska marathon cruise this summer!

Overall it was a great day. Hiking out there in the middle of nowhere, I am giving myself permission to do whatever I choose to and learning that I can, indeed, accomplish the things I want to do. That’s powerful learning. This is an exciting time of possibility, and I am relishing every moment of it.


Posted on March 14, 2012, in LIfe_goes_on, Nature, Place and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. After all those years of having our lives defined in one way, it most be a sign that it was the wrong way by how quickly it can be replaced. It must be nice not to have those 5 am conference calls. I think those should be classified as inhuman.

  2. Bruce Herrington

    Once you get introduced to the varied pace of trail running, pavement will seem little better than a treadmill.


    • My favorite “trail” up north, while paved (read “very lightly chip-sealed”), is hilly, scenic, and mostly well away from streets. It’s not like a treadmill at all!

      I will be running some dirt trails later this year, and I’m looking forward to that challenge, but I don’t expect ever to be bored on the Olympic Discovery Trail.

  3. It has been so many years since I have had the kind of freedom to “just be” as you are describing. I look forward to experiencing this some day! You really have found some remote hiking trails and the pictures are great. I would think the slower pace of a long-haul trek would be the best for thinking and just de-stressing, all while still staying in shape! And I sat at a computer all day. LOL! Debra

    • Oddly, I think (at least for now) I do more thinking while running than hiking. While hiking I have to focus carefully on keeping my footing on a rocky hillside, which doesn’t leave much room for meditation or idle thoughts. As I gain more experience and confidence, that may change. No question about the keeping in shape though!

  4. How wonderful! I’d like to find somewhere to take some good hikes. Too bad the island is so flat. Wherever I move to has to have good hiking trails, or at least some cool woods.
    I’m glad you’re enjoying life. 🙂

    • Now that I’ve got my feet “wet” on these desert trails, I’m even more excited about going home to hike and run on mountain trails that include trees and alpine wildflowers as well.

      I hope you find your magical hiking places too.

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