My obsession with mountains began with a family outing to Mount Rainier when I was twelve. I was very impressed by the sheer grandeur and magnificence of 'The Mountain' and it's surroundings.
Mountaineering books came next. Books about expeditions and exploration. I read as many as I could get my hands on from my school and local libraries. Let's face it- as far as my parents were concerned, that was about as close to mountain climbing I was going to get to while living under their roof...
After high school, I found myself enrolled at UC Berkeley drowning in math and physics as I studied for my 'dream' to become an astrophysicist. "Arrrgh!" I needed a break, so I dropped out with a semi-true rational of needing to earn some money. What I really wanted to do was something different from the rigors of lectures, homework and finals. I told myself (and my family) that it would only be for a few years and then I'd go back with the extra money I'd earned and get a fresh start while living in my own place. (I had been living in the dorms and found that studying had become very difficult for me due to all the many distractions.)
I got a job in a warehouse driving a forklift. The pay was enough so that I could afford my own apartment and buy a car. This was easy! I certainly didn't miss the stressful routine of college life. (My parents weren't too happy with my new perspective.) I hooked up with some high school friends who had some backpacking and peak-bagging experience. We started going on trips to the High Sierra together. I began to acquire enough experience so that I felt confident enough to go by myself when they couldn't break away from their own obligations. Eventually, nearly all of my trips were done as solo trips. They were kind of scary at first, but then I began to prefer the solitude. My climbing friends eventually got married, bought houses and/or moved out of the area. They had their dreams and I had mine.
There were many great years with many great adventures. I realized that I was actually living the life that I'd dreamed of as a kid. (Sadly, a lot of people can't say that.) Finally, it was my turn to grow up and become a 'responsible adult'. Just like my friends before me, I got married, bought a house and procreated. It was okay, though. Those long drives, twice a month or more, between the Bay Area and the Sierra trail-heads were starting to wear me down.
I presently live and work in the southern East Bay near Fremont, California. While my wife, son and I are still enthusiastic visitors to the Sierra Nevada, we spend most of our weekends and holidays hiking and peakbagging in our local Bay Area mountains. Yeah. Life is good.
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Mountaineering and Hiking Adventures in California (and Beyond)
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