The story continues with an excerpt from Chapter 3 in which I finally get to Yosemite to start my journey!
Chapter 3 – And So It Begins (Excerpt)
“The mountains are calling and I must go.”
As July wound down, I found my heart beating a little faster. I wasn’t nervous per say, but I was chomping at the bit to smell the pine on the crisp Alpine air, and feel the twigs crack beneath my feet. It was very similar to the feeling I would get before a big game or standing in the corral minutes before the gun at a triathlon. Alternating parts of me wanted to dig a hole and hide, cry (with both fear and elation), and laugh and whoop with enthusiasm. Mostly I just yearned to stop thinking about the moment and be living the moment.
Working through this anticipation was a great exercise in focus and compartmentalization, because I still had clients to work with, a wife to love, and the rest of my life to lead. I think I did fairly well during this period, however there was definitely a gradual sharpening of focus, as if I was a sniper on a hill looking down at the plateau of my life… and then at some point hunkered down, put the scope to my eye, and locked in on the John Muir Trail.
And then it was time for me to say goodbye. I embraced my parents, aunt, and uncle, staying as light and chipper as possible so as not to worry them (I know my Mom in particular was very uncomfortable about this trip, but she tried to be supportive). Then everyone graciously found something else to look at as Jen and I came together for the last time. She surprised me with tears in her eyes. My wife is beautiful, graceful, and wild – like an Arabian mare running free through the grass. She sometimes chooses to match my stride, but she sets her own course. And she can be as hard as granite when she needs to be. So to see the softness in her eyes, and the acknowledgement that she would miss me and fear for me, was both touching and sobering. We kissed, exchanged murmured endearments, held eye contact for long enough to say what words never can, and then I was gone.
Next up - Chapter 4 and the first steps on the John Muir Trail...