Bike, hike, climb

June 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

The very nice thing about having the particular friends that I have is their willingness adventure.

Now, a 50 miler on a new route that ends in a hike is more of a wander for me at this point in life. I’ve plotted enough day and weekend trips to feel very comfortable on a bike headed somewhere that Google tells me is real. Look at map, pick out a green blotch, hit “Bike Directions.” For most people who don’t wander much, much less adventure, this is in their “pee-your-pants-zone.”

learning zone(Graphic expanded from this post.)

The life-side-effect of being used to working 80 hours a week for months talking to strangers about politics and money, is that most other things in life end up in the learning or comfort zone.

This is a long way of saying that wanders and adventures alike are more fun with friends.

bike map
Here’s our route – south and west through Hillsborough (which was, happily, absent of hills) to Sourland mountain. The day was calm and heat mild, with intermittent clouds overhead. Halfway through, we stopped at the Hillsborough Star Diner to hang out with the many families there for fathers day.

I’d only been to this mountain (more of a small hill really) in the winter and remembered a bunch of boulders, but couldn’t tell how clamor-friendly they were. We were pleasantly surprised to find 2-5 hold rocks all around the park. Here is Loren gliding on one of the boulders.

sourland mountain

It takes more than trust in your body and an understanding of physics to climb things – it takes a bit of an adrenalin junkie, that nudging curiosity wondering “what does the world look like from over there?”, and the ability to look at the fear inside and climb whatever it is you intended to climb despite it.

The Fathers Day families were out fishing on a little lake, watching tiny blue gills swim in buckets before setting them free. It was a nice pause after all the activities of the day before traveling back home.

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We took the Raritan Canal back and it was lush and sunshiney, a different world from the winter.

Raritan Canal Towpath
We wrapped up our wander at a little antique store for some carrot cake and coffee, a day well spent.

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Cicada Summer

June 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

During the summer, I run door-to-door political outreach offices, building public support before the legislative session kicks into high gear in the fall. I’ve done this for seven summers in SF, San Diego, Berkeley, and Palo Alto, working to make sure we have clean water, open spaces, affordable healthcare, and other nice things.

If you’re following along, all of those places are in California. This summer, I’m running my first office in the east coast, and I’ll tell ya, it’s a different ball game.

There are obvious differences in weather (light coats versus stripped down to skivvies whenever possible) and politics (“No I don’t want to volunteer, I’m writing you a check so you can do this for me!”), that seem trivial at face value. Notable, but hardly earthshattering.

Intellectually, you know that “water” and “trees” are real things in places that aren’t deserts, but practically, it changes everything about how I’ve perceived and felt about my environment. Evenings aren’t quiet light sweater weather – good for a glass of wine on a rooftop – anymore, they’re mosquito prime time, draped in a layer of heavy humidity – good for shitty beer and barbeque. Mid-day isn’t the time the sun peeks over the fog, sharp and piercing hot – the only good time to go to the beach, they’re an ocean in the very air you’re breathing or a flash thunderstorm, warm and refreshing.

And the bugs! Cicadas chipper in every moment, clinging to doormats and littering driveways. Tiger mosquitoes, black and white striped, hunt in all hours of the day. Lightening bugs flash one light, then many, harbinger to the nightime cousin of the tiger skeeter.

Waterways are warm – a rarity you get in few places outside of central valley California – but as often polluted as water in California is cold. It’s a false positive each time, but a good reason to keep knocking on doors, talking about toxics.

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