One in, one out

DH is home! Always a thrill to see him walk in the door with his heavy pack and a two-week beard, tanned and happy.

Lucy with her hand-made packbasket, camp 2008

Lucy with her hand-made packbasket, camp 2008

He was here for breakfast before Lucy left for camp. One of the many perks of DH’s job is that our children have been given so many opportunities we could never have otherwise afforded. One of them is summer camp, seven weeks of living in a tent, running barefoot, swimming in the lake, hiking, canoeing, and singing camp songs around a bonfire. Since Lucy is on the property here I will see her from afar over the summer but I always try to play by the rules and avoid seeking her out. Independence from Mom’s managing eye seems like a side benefit I don’t want to deprive her of. Though Lucy has a managing eye all her own. While I was working last week she gathered all her gear and labeled it. All I did was fold it, pack it in her duffle, and kiss her goodbye.

hockmark82DH had a wonderful time climbing in the Sierras with Mark, his best and oldest friend. They met in the 1970s in the Alps, two scruffy young Americans in Chamonix who didn’t speak French and were looking for climbing partners. Though they live on opposite ends of the country they have met every year in the three decades since to climb together. The photo (right) shows them on emerging from their first showers after climbing Denali in 1978. Once upon a time Mark nicknamed DH “Tweetie Bird,” due to his bright blond hair. Thirty years later a lot of the hair has gone and what’s left has darkened, but they’re still El Presidente and Tweetie Bird, twin pillars of a loose group of old climbing buddies that call themselves The Fossils.

DH had emailed me that one night on this trip, after a very long climb, he and Mark found themselves benighted, caught out on a ridge far from their gear. Though they are both careful climbers, they’d seriously underestimated the time needed for the route, which required roping up for at least 14 pitches. It was 28° in the high altitude, and they had no tents, sleeping bags, or food. At 10:30 PM they lit a small illegal fire to dry their socks and then spent the night sitting on their ropes with their feet in their packs, leaning together to stay warm.

cell phone photo from the summit at 7 AM

cell phone photo from the summit of Lone Pine Peak at 7 PM

I mentioned this episode to Allen the next day. “You know, my husband and I have completely different interests when it comes to recreation. But we both do seem to enjoy knocking ourselves out.”

Allen gave me a long look. “One of you’s a nut, the other one’s a squirrel.”


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