I am sitting here in Tamarack Flat, site #3, which all the rangers keep reminding me is the best. Coastline excluded, up here in Tuolomne meadows is just about the only place in California where the weather is pleasant rather than debilitatingly hot.
I may be in the best place on earth, but I am finding it difficult to make the simplest decisions. Should I wake up now? Is now the right time to brush my teeth? Should I stay here another night or head to San Francisco today?
The memories of the past two weeks of climbing tall granite cliffs and domes keep flashing in front of my eyes everytime I close them in an attempt to make a simple decision.
Until yesterday, I was in the company of four amazing climbing buddies. I was energetically hosting democratic ‘Pow-Wows’ to keep the group moving. I was cooking large meals for us and had no qualms asking for help and handing out friendly commands. I had a vision of routes to climbs and a team to lead. Trailing some of them and switching leads with others, I took us up longer and bolder trad climbs than I had ever led before. I felt like I was truly accomplishing something.
Now, I am alone.
I have created this loneliness for myself by succeeding at all my goals. I work a digital 4-hour work week and live a life of perpetual “glamping” in a 1994 Dodge Conversion that I further converted into a full-time shaggin’ wagon of a van. I am living the #vanlife like a pro.
Except that I am living it alone.
I can’t climb alone and regardless – without someone to drag along, pushing only myself to accomplish physical feats in nature is not nearly as fun. Hikes aren’t worth it unless I can share photos of the adventure on Instagram, but not all beauty is photogenic. So I find myself chasing camera-friendly spots like a volunteer photographer, working extra hours for no pay.
I am left alone to battle my thoughts about life, love and tomorrow. Wondering if it is about time I settle and end the heartbreak pattern. Then I remind myself that I have only just started this traveling phase of my life. I decide to stop thinking and get on with the move. Then I remember how hot it is everywhere else, that I am in the best place on earth for today and that I can’t move on with my real travel plans until after next weekend because I promised a friend I would join him on his party bus plans for his birthday.
So I sit emptily; neither thirsty, nor hungry, nor wanting to smoke or even move. I am bored.
I am left alone to battle my thoughts about life, love and tomorrow.
The pattern repeats.
I write until I have emptied out my inspiration bladder. Then I go grab a book I have been meaning to read for a year. Maybe later I will hike to that same spot I was yesterday: The Devil’s Dance floor. The nearly flat surface of a giant granite dome overlooking the entrance to Yosemite valley is the size of a football field and is the only place I can hike to for a view and reception without packing up my van and wasting fuel.
I know that in just a few days I will be surrounded by people whom I love and enjoy. Or so I hope.