saiyuki: journey west

And so it begins. #journeywest2015

Day 1: Journey West
I’m going to go climb the mountains.

Today marks the first day of our annual Journey West. 

This year, my family will be driving out to California w/ our trailer, hitting up some southwestern parks on the way (Bryce, Canyonlands, others we haven’t been to in a while) to do some day hikes and mountain biking, summit White Mountain in California afterwards (14,252 ft- 3rd highest mountain in the contiguous states), and then head to our normal vacation destination, above San Francisco, where we will spend a few weeks hiking/biking/playing in the surf. 

Halfway through, I’ll be dropped off at SFO and catch a flight to Portland, where I will be meeting the rest of my 5-member party for our Three Sisters Backpacking trip. We will be off the grid for 6-7 days, hopefully summit the south sister, and get 50+ miles in. It will be my first backpacking trip without dad’s expertise alongside me and my first major independent trip. 

The one downside is that I won’t have access to any climbing gyms/routes along the way, simply because we won’t have time/I don’t have the proper equipment, but I’ll be in a constant state of activity, so hopefully that won’t be too much of an issue.

I’ll be back in about a month, but I’ll be sure to keep you guys updated with pictures, stories, and much more. 

Let the adventure begin :)

Man is not man simply because of bodily attributes. The standard of divine measure and judgment is his intelligence and spirit.
— 

‘Abdu'l-Baha, The promulgation of Universal Peace

30 April 1912
Talk at Fourth Annual Conference of the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People, Handel Hall, Chicago, Illinois

Day 5/6: On the road to the White Mountains of California

Sometime within the next few days, before we hit up the San Fran area per usual, I will (hopefully) be summiting White Mountain Peak in Mono County, California. 

White Mountain Peak, at 14,252 feet, is the highest peak in the White Mountains of California, the highest peak in Mono County, and the third highest peak in the state after Mount Whitney and Mount Williamson.

Should be able to see some bristlecone pines/some great views of the Sierras while I’m up there.

Pretty stoked, despite all the shittiness that has gone down in my personal life recently. I dearly hope, to quote one of my favorite José González songs- that every step is moving me up. 

Books I’m Reading:Why I Came West by Rick Bass

In this poignant look at the thirty-year journey of one of our country’s great naturalist writers, Rick Bass describes how he fell in love with the mystique of the West–as a dramatic landscape, as an idea, and as a way of life. Bass grew up in the suburban sprawl of Houston, and after attending college in Utah he spent eight years working in Mississippi as a geologist, until one day he packed up and went in search of something visceral, true, and real. He found it in the remote Yaak Valley of northwestern Montana, where despite extensive logging not a single species has gone extinct since the last Ice Age.
Bass has lived in “the Yaak” ever since, and in Why I Came West he chronicles his transformation into the writer, hunter, and environmental activist that he is today. He explains how the rugged, wild landscape smoothed out his own rough edges; attempts to define the appeal of the West that so transfixed him as a boy, a place of mountains and outlaws and continual rebirth; and tells of his own role as a reluctant activist—sometimes at odds with his own neighbors—unwilling to stand idly by and watch this treasured place disappear.