Saturday, May 29, 2010

My Love/Hate Mountain Obsession

I am supposed to be getting ready for a trip to Shasta and I'm SO dragging my heels. I love that mountain but I really don't like all the prep especially because circumstances make it appear that I'm going by myself. It means backpacking up to Horse Camp and them leaving in the middle of the night just so I can climb as high I as can. I have difficulties with altitude so I'm not going to summit, and the travel is on snow which makes things both easier and harder at the same time.

I'm vaguely considering just starting from the trailhead Bunny Flat but that adds time on to the climb and decreases how far I'll be able to get. But it would mean not having to lug a backpack and not having to do that saves a huge amount of energy. I could instead camp at Bunny Flat ( and the car would be there. The bummer is that it's noisier (snowmobiles) and there isn't that delectable spring water - in fact there's no water and I'd have to bring it or melt snow.

So I'm supposed to be getting ready but instead I think I'll sit and watch Archer (a recent fav).

Then I laid down for a couple of hours and I'm doing much better and am back to the original plan of backpacking up to Horse Camp. Except carrying a 2 person tent is a real drag when you're one person. I'm telling myself that it's a short trip so I could do it in two trips if I want to. I'm also debating taking my skis. I have never skied there but it might be fun to try (carefully).

But I keep going back to: What is going to end this obsession? Perhaps just trading it for another obsession perhaps? Though I seem to collect them and they don't really go away. I'm discovering that what I really like is dropping anchor somewhere (some people have started calling them "base camp" trips), and exploring the area using just a day pack. We're going to be doing that in July in Yosemite Cathedral Lakes area and I'm excited about it. It's going to be a lot of cross country because there are not many trails in that area.

But I really do want to get higher up on Shasta. I know the lower part of the mountain very well and could even guide it, but I haven't been above Helen Lake and I really want to. One way that I'm considering is have someone else sherpa my pack up to Helen Lake but that means that I have to actually get up there myself so that I don't get separated from it. It means lugging extra fuel to melt snow and camping at Helen is a bit crowded, and it's not nearly as nice to camp at as Horse Camp though it is 2000' higher.

So my adding obsessions is just meaning that I have enough of them that they are now round robin. I'm not going to Whitney this year (I think), but if I don't I'm definitely going next year and will be trying to summit from the lower Outpost Camp which means climbing nearly 5000' - eek.

But enough for now, right now it's Shasta and there's a ton of snow and it's going to be gorgeous.
However I just double checked with the Fifth Season Snow Conditions line (530-326-5555) and it's saying that the snow pack is more than 120% of normal and there is no running water anywhere on the mountain which means bringing extra fuel to melt snow. This means that delicious spring water isn't available yet which is a huge reason to camp at Horse Camp so I'm back to wondering about Bunny Flat and maybe just doing some skiing in the area. Oh, I don't know - argh. I have a second trip planned later in the month and that might be a better time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Hate Literary Surprise Violence

When I read a book I let my defenses down, so I can fully experience the story. This is not a conscious choice it's just something that happens. So when I feel an author is messing with my head I really, really take it personally. Surprise extreme violence is the worst, and it's funny (?) how what happens is strangely similar to real life - it takes repeated violations for the relationship to end.

Something I dislike happens in a book and I continue reading/listening thinking that it might get better. It usually doesn't. If an author has decided that that's their thing then they use that cheap trick (and that's all it is) repeatedly.

The most recent one I WAS listening to has painted a bleak scenario for the characters. You know the main character is going to be ok, but those along are very much at risk, so in a sense I had been warned. But the author will take you off on a the main character dreaming about the innocence of playing in her childhood and you get sucked into that story and then pow. The main character wakes up to find that one depressed/hallucinating character has killed herself, and then of course the main character spends time describing the dead woman's body. I spent time cursing at the author.

This is not Taratino. It's not hyperviolent, but Taratino you do get warning (in the script or on film). Even David Lynch or the Cohen brothers (i'm thinking the brutal No Country for Old Men) are easier in a way than writers who seem to deliberately screw around with your comfort level. Maybe that's his point, but I rarely leave audible books behind but this is one of them. After a few go rounds like this and knowing that it's going to get worse (I read a summary in self defense), I've decided my time is better spent reading less punishing stuff and I'm going to have to offer my apolgies and views to the book club. Ironically it's a reasonably well rated book: ah well.