A morning traverse, running across the Schinchon Wilderness of Lava Beds National Monument, California. Hot with no shade but plenty of solitude and silence. See August 12 post but the video is here: Schinchon Wilderness Traverse.
We recently spent five glorious days camped in the hard landscape of Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, a wild and austere half-million acres in the Great Basin desert of Nevada. It was similar to a convection oven, but the sunsets were breathtaking and the nights classic desert, with coyotes singing and assorted animals making curious visits.
Unfortunately, the side effects of our respective treatments limited us to shorter treks. Well, except for one day when I just took some meds and went out anyway, attempting a passage through Thousand Creek Gorge before the day's heat shut the door. To get a sense of the vastness and solitude, watch my video here: A Morning Run....
A full traverse of the refuge is now on my list of future adventures, possibly in the fall, but more likely in the spring when there is more water.
Much of the refuge is being proposed for Wilderness designation. That is a big deal because it is a perfect fit for this.
From the 1964 Wilderness Act:
"In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its possessions, leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness."
"A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain."
Federal agencies often don't have the resources or motivation to accomplish these projects, so citizen's groups may lead the charge. In this case it is Friends of Nevada Wilderness.
"My intention is to again run marathon distances across endangered landscapes..."
This has become a life of two parts: Increasingly successful physical accomplishments, and continued "managed" misery from all the ruin that has been done to my body. The doctors just have no idea what it's like day-to-day. They only have a checklist with two columns: Dead, Not-Dead.
In between nausea days, easy trail running distances of up to a half-marathon are now routine. Today's micro-adventure was the longest since this ordeal began nearly two years ago, a 16-mile traverse of the Schonchin Wilderness in Lava Beds National Monument. Remote, rugged. Right on the western edge of the Great Basin Desert, up against the beginnings of the Cascades. Zero humans. Silence. Home.
These places offer enormous space and peace to think about anything you want, like how the world is currently (and rightly) enthralled with fabulous Olympic athletes, many of whom will be funded by corporate sponsors. Yet... who is sponsoring the folks trying their every moment to inspire others recovering from the most daunting circumstances, who climb mountains, run deserts, and try to inspire others without the benefit of trainers and great genetics, the people who spend their own money at REI and Patagonia??
These are my heroes, and they are invisible. Maybe I should change that.
In the meantime, I'm right where I am supposed to be.