Into the woods

by Jon Sullivan - 2022-11-14 - Status

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For the first time in a long time I did a proper hike in the woods. It was wonderful.

Famously, I have spent much of the last few decades complaining about how people live outside of San Diego. About all the things no one in SD ever has to trouble themselves with. Bugs, weather, mud, lack of ramps and white asparagus. Now that all of those things are part of my new life, I keep testing myself to see how I'll actually react when they are all unavoidable. Last weekend's test was a three and a half mile hike through mud and snow. I had a great time. The walkies are paying off, though hills are still a problem due to my substantial girth. Gear for the cold and wet is doing it's job. All the new photo opportunities are great fun. The new car continues to be perfect for this new life.

The best part was just to be out in the woods for real again. It was a fairly easy trail, made easier by frequent stops to get photos. But it's been a very long time since I could say I was really out in the woods. Maybe that was the biggest test. Take a city boy who has barely left his apartment in San Diego in years. Then drive into the mountains and see if he can survive even the easiest of hikes in the wet and cold. I want more. Lots more. But there will be a few things I'll need out there.

It's becoming obvious I need to take some classes (or something) on foraging, especially for mushrooms. I didn't really understand how thick the mushrooms were here. Picking them on photo adventures to take home and cook just makes too much sense. Without even looking for them I came across about a dozen varieties. Knowing which ones are poisonous will obviously help, but knowing which ones are good to eat is a big challenge. I'll likely end up growing some as well. My diet is much more mushroom based these days. No idea why.

Dovetailing into that is the need to get my car camping/cooking set up working. Cooking when I get back off the trail will be nicer than needing to drive an hour and a half back home to eat. And not having to drive at all would be nice, just parking near a trailhead then camping overnight after one hike and getting an early start in the morning. Bring some stuff to cook or heat up, forage some stuff on the hike back, then cook it up out of the back of my car. This needs to happen soon.

A few unknown unknowns still to work out. Like getting into snow for real. Am I going to cross country ski (highly unlikely)? Get snowshoes? Just bundle up and go for it? And what about studded snow tires? Unlikely to need them for Eugene and the coast. But I am very excited about winter photos and the peace of mind would help keep options open. But the expense and needing to store them off season...... ick. Still figuring out seasons. Maybe plan trips based on what time of year it is, so avoid the mountains completely till it warms up? That sounds boring.

Still behind on my fishing and crabbing goals. Who knows when there will be time for that. Soon I hope.

I love being out in nature again. How I got to this life from where I was three years ago, I still have no idea. But I'm pretty sure the next few years will be more elf and less hobbit.

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