Solo Adventuring + Puppy Life

I’ve been quiet for the last month. Very quiet. For a myriad of reasons, I haven’t been in the mood for writing: I haven’t had much to write ABOUT (well, maybe that’s not true), I’ve been figuring out my next career-related adventure, and I got a dog (a puppy, in fact).

First, let’s briefly talk about this puppy. Her name is Gilda, and she’s a mini Australian Shepard. We’ve wanted a dog for a long time, but due to circumstances, it was never the right time (moving a lot, and living in graduate student housing wasn’t ideal for a dog). Once we settled in Portland, it finally seemed like a good moment, and we went back and forth on ages, where to adopt etc. We ended up going with a puppy (because, LOOK AT THAT FACE), and an Aussie shepherd because I have grand dreams of her carrying a (small) dog pack and being my adventure companion on hikes, backpacking trips, etc.

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Gilda, her first day at home, January 3.

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3 weeks later (ready for a nap), already growing so much!

To be honest, puppies are tough. While she has so many wonderful, sweet, amazing moments, she’s quite frankly also an asshole sometimes. But, such is puppy-hood. Overall, it’s been fun to slowly introduce her to the outdoors and the wider world in general, while working really hard to get her biting/nipping under control.

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First “hike” in Forest Park (note: puppies have developing hips, aren’t yet fully vaccinated, and don’t really hike, but it’s been great fun to let her sniff around and generally spend lots of time outside. When she’s especially tired, she even allows me to carry her in her special Outward Hound front carrier).

Otherwise, it’s been a lovely, wet and quiet winter in Oregon for us. We’ve gone to the snow for some amazing cross-country skiing, spent time on the equally gorgeous Oregon coast, and overall have settled into our new home. I’m finally feeling like I’ve found my forever-place, and I’m still overly excited for glimpses of Mount Hood, Mount Saint Helens, and the abundant waterfalls near my apartment.

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Mount Hood from Trillium Lake.

However, I’ve also found myself experiencing some winter blues in relation to my outdoor pursuits. I don’t get out nearly as much as I’d like, and sometimes it feels like a whole lot of work to make trips happen. Thus, I’ve been spending more time indoors dreaming of future trips, and have turned to planning future excursions as a way to reignite my drive to get out there. There’s so much to see and do, which at times feels daunting, with the planning that goes into all the trips I’d like to take (I know, it’s a silly complaint, but nonetheless truthful).

As I discussed in my last post, one of my major goals for 2016 is to start doing more solo trips close to home. With my aspirations for a 2016 solo thru-hike of the JMT (and knowing myself), I’d like to tackle some of my anxiety related to solo backpacking during the time leading up to August. While I’m not new to undertaking overnight trips alone, I’ve never really enjoyed it. The nights are too quiet, there’s no one with me to appreciate the epic views and to share the challenge of completing a big climb. However, while I think it’s entirely legitimate and OKAY to not enjoy solo backpacking on a regular basis (because there IS something unique and special about sharing the backcountry with friends), there are also times when I choose to not do a trip because I don’t have a companion to go with me. Instead, I stay in the city, feeling frustrated and annoyed that I yet again didn’t get out and do something I love.

I adore solo day-hikes. I can stop and observe flowers and birds while not having to worry about interfering with the pace of my hiking partner. Furthermore, I think there is something important, even vital, about doing something for myself, that I enjoy independent from the company I keep. In large part, this is why I’m planning to solo the JMT in 2016 (and you know, in addition to feeling empowered and badass).

So, a very late happy new year to you, and here’s to getting out and making things happen (even if out friends don’t always want to go).

One Comment on “Solo Adventuring + Puppy Life

  1. Pingback: JMT Gear: Early Edition | Outdoorsy Archivist

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