Monday, May 9, 2011

Snail Mail

When life gets a little bit sucky around here in my brick bungalow paradise, I sometimes get discouraged by blogging.  I CAN'T WAIT to move forward to the point that I can relay the humorous side of single-girl life.  I am expecting some surprises.  (Hmmm... That's a little oxymoronic...)  Right now, it's all yuck.  What to write about when my life is a steaming heap of day-old possum innards?

I'm a member of this little thing called "Plinky".  Plinky sends prompts and suggestions to writers who want to experiment with different topics.  I have a vast collection of these now, because I never use them:  my life is giving me abundant material just now.  But I'd love to rest from all the emotion for a short interval, and this one is pretty light-weight. 

"What was the last real letter you received in the mail?"

I disqualified Christmas letters. So, would you believe that the last social letter I got was in 2006?!?  From Dad, who was 75 at the time.  He was such a Luddite. No computer in the house, so no e-mail.  I saved it - here it is.

Dear Simon, Kate, Sara and Nate,

Adventure Central checking in:  the conquest of Whitney, Labor Day weekend 2006.

No permits available for the regular "tourist trail", but we could get a last minute permit for the "Mountaineer's Route" - so we did it (PMP [that's Dad], Jerry Hershman [his best buddy from medical school - late Triassic Period], Dan and Jeff Hershman [Jerry's sons, who are about my age, and who often find themselves hauling their asses up trails with Dad and Jerry]). There is no real constructed trail with switchbacks, etc...  An indistinct path (or paths) that will get you to the top, following cairns, rock, gravel and dust.  We camped first night at Boy Scout Lake, 2000 ft. up from parking lot; next day another 2000 ft. up to Iceberg Lake, elevation 12,000 feet.  Third day up to summit - we scrambled up rocks & gravel to the "Notch"  Then Dan had us rope up while we climbed the last 1000 ft. up on big rocks and cliffs.  Hand holds, looking for foot holds (don't look down!).  After the steep rock, all we had to do was walk up to the summit, meet the hikers who came up the real trail.  Coming down was hardest for me.  Dan thought I might not make the 4000 ft. descent from Iceberg Lake.  First he took my sleeping bag & finally just strapped my whole orange pack onto his (total: 60 lbs.).  My thigh muscles were like rubber bands at the bottom.  3 days to recover!  But we all survived the mountaineer's route!

Jerry H. and I have made a solemn oath:  no more mountains!  How about the beach next time?

We had company from some climbers from Belarus (White Russia).  They went up the steep east face.
So, you have to put a new roof on your house!  Must have been quite a storm!  Just put a blue tarp over the holes - that's the Alaska way.

Everybody is back in school?  Routine getting settled in, I trust?

Your peaches should be in season if not damaged by the wind storm.

Other news:
Gilman Ness died of cancer.
Badgers and Packers just getting started.
Brewers in decline!!

Next adventure:  in a few weeks we embark on Canadian train at Winnipeg - ride to Jasper - get off for four days, then on to Vancouver for a week then ride the luxury train back to Winnipeg & drive home.  No phone calls, no tasks except eating a lot.

Sara & Nate - here's a picture of me climbing the rocks.

Yeah, I know:  Dad is making more appearances than usual in the blog these days. Coincidence, and a lucky one. I have just remembered that I did get a letter a couple of months ago from Evelyn Jahnke.  She played the role of grandmother to me when I was a kid.  I didn't save that letter, though.  Just as well.  You would have had to read all about every single thing she entered in the county fair last summer. 

I saved this letter because I was proud of Dad for taking a challenging route at his age, coming from the much lower elevation of Wisconsin.  My quads would have been pretty rubbery as well. Mom was pissed, though.  Squawk, squawk!  "He could BARELY WALK when he got off the plane!  He and Jerry are ridiculous.  They act like they're....60 or something!  One of these days he's going to keel over and die on some trail."  That was his stated plan.  No wonder he didn't leave an advance directive.

Miss you, Dad.  I'll be up at the cottage in a few days.  Yes, the family has suggested that I go where everybody goes when (as Charlie says) "it hits the fan", and some serious R&R is called for.  Plus Charlie wants someone to get the raking done.  I plan to build a fire down on the point. I will lie on the sand and roast a sausage on a stick.  I'll drink a beer for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment