Thursday, August 24, 2017

Pouring Over Maps Of France

        The summer business cools to a simmer right before Labor Day weekend...and what do I find myself doing? Studying maps, electronic maps, folded paper maps and the maps in my don't have those?
        The river drainages of France...geez, we've not explored the river Loire (which starts on the northslope of the Massif Centrale and rolls west to Nantes and the Atlantic Ocean). There are more than a few hundred kilometres of bicycle trail along the Loire and there is a plethora of camping possibilities.  We would be zigging and zagging the heights of the drainage, the side canyons, the mountainside villages. The riverbanks of the Loire are undoubtedly noisy with motorists but, that's where the camping will be located. Ahhh...the trip of a lifetime. No, we are not flying to France this autumn, nor at any time in 2017.
        We must save miles and money and get the deck rebuilt but, I am plotting an excellent adventure that will include miles of cycling, gourmet camping (which is not the same as "glamping") and numerous wild swims....or saunas...or naked afternoons. I can't imagine a better location for all this to come together than France...unless, it would be Northern California and Oregon. Aren't we fortunate? We have all this at our fingertips but, we fly across the pond and find the experiences that we love most in rural France. For now, we plot mini-vacations to wild places in our own backyard but, believe me we are casual-mapping another escape to wild and wooly France.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The "Extra Days"...

        Pedaling to work this morning I see my neighbor puttering in his yard, stacking firewood against the oncoming winter. Hey Dave, what are you doing with the extra days you've been given? "On the water as much as possible but, there are still chores that need to be done." Dave has been a medivac passenger to the hospital in Chico (70 miles away) twice in the last 18 months. "You know, you are right about these being extra days."
         I always figured that days over the age of 65 and days after a medical emergency (especially those experienced after the age 65) are "extra days". When you reach the late 60's your list of friends and relatives who have expired "too early" is already becoming quite long.
        Time on the water (and for me, time in the water) are some of the best moments. The sneaky dips, the ones where you hike to a private location with friends, are my very favorite. I did this often as a teenager. We didn't crash friend's pool parties (in our neighborhood no one could afford a pool) but we did find remote natural locations to plunge au natural. I never stopped. Many of my closest friends never stopped. Underwater sans clothing is one of the best sensations out there....but yes, you have to be willing to go "out there".
       One of the side benefits of this activity is that you become much less self-conscious about your body. Body acceptance, no matter your shape, or your flaws, or your scars... just doesn't affect the pleasure of chunky dunkin' with friends.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Can't You Think Of Some Place You'd Rather Be?

       Well, yes. Top of my list...Wild Swimming and hiking in the high country with my beautiful friends. Yeah, that has to be at the top of the list. Cycling remote roads and trails takes a second place.  Actually, any place that I can roll up to under my own power, that has crystal blue water, that is not being utilized by other humans will find me de-clothing and diving in quick as a croc.  Three 59 year old girls that I've known forever took me on just such a remote hike this last week.
        We started at Juniper Lake, ambled on to Horseshoe Lake, wound our way up to Indian Lake and then circled back down to Juniper Lake's westside cliffs. We swam, we lounged back on hot rocks and marveled at the lack of mosquitoes feasting on our naked bodies. My dreams are made of scenes like this...but, I was wide awake and thoroughly enjoying the company.
        Seriously, we are naturalists...identifying flowers, birds. Enjoying healthy snacks and pure water and being comfortable looking at each others' aging, but capable about as natural as it gets.