Warning: Unbearably Sexy Photo

We went camping again last week—a two nighter this time—to a 19th century gold mining area that is littered with abandoned mines and ghost towns. The valleys being warm, we camped at the mile-high level.

Peggy and I both enjoy the woods, but her real passion starts at timberline, which is around 7,500 feet (2,286 meters) in Western Oregon. I think of timberline as a gray and barren area with few redeeming virtues aside from an expansive view, so I prefer to spend my time rhapsodizing over snakes, alder leaves, mountain streams, and other humble interests that only exist at lower elevations.

Peggy was a devoted climber (she’s in the middle of the photo) until arthritis forced her to give it up. She always wanted me to climb with her, but I couldn’t see the point in working that hard in the interest of recreation, and, as I said, the high country has a spiritual dimension for her that it lacks for me. The highest she ever got me to go was the 8,363-foot summit of St. Helens, and I wouldn’t have climbed it if Peggy’s friend Shirley hadn’t previously gone. Because Shirley is a known woos, I figured St. Helens just couldn’t be that bad. Well, I guess it wasn’t in one way, but in another it was pretty awful. Gray, gray, and more gray, all day long nothing but sharp gray lava under an intense mountain sun that made me feel like a cat in a microwave. When we finally returned to the world of greenery, I was as happy as if I had been away for years.

On our trip last week, I left the narcotics at home (no more night sweats, diarrhea, and hallucinations in the middle of the woods for me, thank you very much) and just took sleeping pills. I couldn’t decide which ones to take, so I just tossed some Restoril and Dalmane in with my vitamins. Well, wouldn’t you know it, with only two kinds of pills to keep straight—one orange and one blue—I still got them mixed up, and double-dosed on the Dalmane. It didn’t seem to hurt me any, and I slept better than I have in months—if not in years. The second night, I double-dosed a second time. A few minutes later, we decided to get out of bed and watch the Perseid meteor shower. All of the stars looked like shooting stars to me, but I could pick out the real ones because they moved faster. I finally just sort of fell over backwards and, it being a warm night, Peggy left me where I landed. When she got up the next day, I was still in the same position. (If I were you, I wouldn’t believe QUITE everything I read here.)

I have long been convinced that I would go insane if I couldn’t go camping regularly, and now that I haven’t been for two years prior to this summer, I think it safe to report that I was correct. Those who have only met me during those two years don’t know what my life was like for much of my adulthood, so I’ll tell you. It was hard manual labor punctuated by camping trips. I’ve long since lost the ability to do the former, but I’m regaining the latter, so maybe the other will come with it eventually.

I’ve decided that since I’m getting past the worst of the pain from my two shoulder surgeries, maybe I should develop a life other than the Internet, so I’ve joined three local atheistic groups. One of them is supposed to meet here this week to watch the movie Religulous, and it will be something of a return to the old days when groups met here all the time. I always enjoyed having people over, partly because I love my home and partly because I had rather stay here and have people come to me than for me to go out to be with them.

I know that I haven’t been visiting blogs as faithfully as I usually do, but what with it being summer, I just don’t want to spend so much time at the computer. I feel bad about that though. I can but ask that you pardon my absence, and that you let me know if anything momentous should happen in your life because, I assure you, I'm here if you need me.


kylie said...

its always such a joy and a relief to start to get a life back.
i'm pleased for you, snow!

Diana said...

I am so glad that you were able to go camping Snow. I haven't been for a couple of years. Used to go all of the time. All the kids still go, I took them a lot when they were little. I guess they must have really loved it as you do.
I do hope your shoulder pain continues to get better and happy for your great night sleep!
Love Di ♥

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Snow, is that YOU in the yoga pose??? I'm a backyard nudist... it's the only way to swim at night and not catch a cold! But I try to go out only after dark. Don't want to scare the neighbors!

Glad you are camping again!

Strayer said...

I think that's why I'm going insane, Snow. No camping. Used to be my basic soul food.

Can't get into going it alone. Woos city.

Glad you got away. Where'd you go? I like camping by water, a stream or river or quiet lake (no roaring jet skiis). I like the black sky speckled in bright stars. I like a campfire in front of me.

The Depressed Reader said...

Whether it is camping, hiking, or climbing, there is something special about getting out of our regular environment and spending time in some kind of natural setting.

In my case, over the last few years it has been climbing Mt Fuji, which I've done at least once a year over the time I have been in Japan. I often think that I should make the effort to go to more other mountains, but it never seems to quite happen.

I suppose it is just the endorphins kicking in, but to me there is something profound about slogging up a mountain to the top, the satisfaction of making it, the knowledge that I have taken a risk, the temporary feeling of being, literally, on top of the world.

Snowbrush said...

Kylie and Diana, thank you so much for stopping by.

CreekHiker said: "Snow, is that YOU in the yoga pose???"

I guess you weren't fooled by my story about passing out on Dalmane and spending the night in that position.

Strayer said: "Where'd you go?"

The Bohemia gold mining area east of Cottage Grove. We traversed both Noonday Ridge and the Calapooya Divide. The only mountain we climbed was Fairview.

Strayer said: "I like camping by water..."

Me too, but only if there are no bugs or people. I seek solitude (from bugs and people) above all else, so we nearly always stay on abandoned logging roads, preferably ones that end on a point with a good view.

The Depressed Reader said: "over the last few years it has been climbing Mt Fuji, which I've done at least once a year..."

That's more mountain than I've climbed, although I've seen it climbed on TV. My understanding is that there are a lot of people and a lot of litter on Fuji. The people part, I can understand, but litter? Near here, is a mountain by the same name that's also quite beautiful, and, like the one in Japan, it's also volcanic. It's not nearly so high though.

The Depressed Reader said: "there is something profound about slogging up a mountain..."

That's what Peggy says. She really misses it.

Bernie said...

So glad you and Peggy were able to get away for a couple of days. I love camping and seriously miss it but I wouldn't go on my own.
Sounds like the pain is not as bad Snow, are you down to just the sleeping pills? Take care my friend/I care....:-) Hugs

The Depressed Reader said...

Hi Snowbrush,
Yes, there are a lot of people on Fuji, I believe about 200,000 people climb it every year during the climbing season (July and August). As for litter, I believe there was a lot 15 or 20 years ago, but there is very little these days. I've never seen more than a few small pieces of litter.

Yes, there is something profound about climbing a mountain. In Japan, mountains were traditionally considered the home of the gods, and climbing Mt Fuji was really something of a religious pilgrimage.

Although it gradually changed to being more of a mass tourism activity, I can understand why those monks from long ago decided to use it as a spiritual exercise, as despite being an atheist, that is basically what I use it for as well.

Mim said...

Damn - from the title I was hoping for the full monte.


Myrna R. said...

I used to hike a lot when I lived in Germany - about 100 years ago. Now, my hiking is more done in fantasy. I want to start again but never really make the time. Your trip sounds great.

Ps - My husband had surgery in both shoulders too. Like you, he's doing pretty well.

JOE TODD said...

Sounds like a great time. Probably not of light pollution where you were.Good for viewing whatever LOL

Snowbrush said...

Bernie said: "are you down to just the sleeping pills?"

I've never gotten significant relief with narcotics. Apparently, they work better with some types of pain than others. Sleeping pills and ice have always been my foremost lines of defense. That said, all of these drugs work less well the more you use them, so I tend to switch around. The most that the narcotics do is to keep me from feeling despondent. If ALL I got from them was pain relief, they probably wouldn't even be worth taking....well, I guess they would, not because they're effective, but because when I'm in that much pain, I'll do almost anything for even a little relief.

The Depressed Reader said: "a spiritual exercise, as despite being an atheist, that is basically what I use it for as well."

Which is why I too go to the mountains, although I never climbed the big ones (I've climbed lots and lots of the smaller ones). I've sort of tried to move away from the word spiritual though because I don't believe in the world of spirits. I know, of course, that the word has other meanings, but I still don't feel right using it as I find that it confuses the issues for me and other people too. Another blogger got on my case because I said something about having faith in my wife. He objected to an atheist even using that word, so, clearly, avoiding words can get tedious if not ridiculous and, in so doing, make us look as puritanical as any Baptist. We all have to find our own way about how to express ourselves.

Mim said: "I was hoping for the full monte."

Thanks, Mim. Unfortunately, I threw away all my nude photos from the days when I looked good enough that anyone actually wanted to look at me. Now, when I look in the mirror, I just feel kind of sad. The years have passed so rapidly.

Myrna: "Now, my hiking is more done in fantasy."

My knees are too bad for hiking, so most of our walking is done on abandoned roadbeds because they're smoother. We went six miles last week which is a lot for me. After my knee surgery in 2006, I went three years without walking more than a few city blocks.

Myrna R said: "My husband had surgery in both shoulders too. Like you, he's doing pretty well."

I wouldn't say I'm doing well. I had the first one 17 months ago and the last one 9 months ago, and both shoulders still interfere with my sleep, and I still use pills and ice. However, I'm starting to get a little better. I know a woman who had shoulder surgery because she was in a lot of pain, yet she was in even worse pain for two years after the surgery. Now, she has to have the other one done. So much depends upon how old you are and how much you have done--and how much of your problem was uncorrectable. My biggest problem is arthritic damage, and the only way to deal with it is joint replacement. The problem is that artificial joints can't do as much and they too have to be replaced after ten or fifteen years--and that's if you baby them.

The Blog Fodder said...

When our kids were young we camped a lot. big heavy canvas tent. Storm proof pretty much. I loved camping. My wife endured it. Hiking and mountain climbing, no. But envy and respect for those who get to see the high places in the world.

Glad to hear you are back camping again. Hope you find a set of meds that work for you.

Marion said...

Snow! That really is your good side, I think. LOL!!! I'm glad to see you camping, out and about and mooning to boot. Damn, you're a different man from a few months ago. I'm envious of your camping trip and your agility. We missed the meteor shower here due to rain. Drought all summer and it rains the 2 nights of the year we could feast on falling stars. Blessings!!

Rob-bear said...

Glad you're back to camping, Snow. I hope it continues to be a good experience for you. I'd love to camp, but some of my health challenges pretty much rule that out.

rhymeswithplague said...

As long as you include photographs of nude contortionists that may or may not be your lovely self in your posts, you need not worry about being thought as puritanical as any Baptist!

Also, Editor Bob wants to tell you that on this side of the country, "woos" is spelled "wuss"....

All Consuming said...

Brilliant/ Great to hear you're doing a bit better. I've always been freaked out by heights so when I used to climb it would be up shady paths that were more of a gentle gradient and went on forever. Then I got to the top and had to lie down to look out over the edge. Peggy is great, I'm really impressed with the top picture. The 'bottom' one I shall be selling on ebay to the highest bidder and expect to be a millionaire by the end of the week. What a cheek! Hahahaha. xx

Snowbrush said...

Blog Fodder said: "Hope you find a set of meds that work for you."

The reason I gave up camping was that I couldn't do without ice and had to sleep in a chair. Hopefully, those days are over. I'll stick with the sleeping pills. Like I wrote at some point, narcotics really do very little for the pain, and they don't do much for insomnia, but they sure as hell make it a lot less miserable to like awake in pain because they sort of lift me out from my body so that I'm observing it from a less attached perspective.

Marion said: "Drought all summer and it rains the 2 nights of the year we could feast on falling stars.:

Well!!! I'm so sorry. One of the things I hate about Western Oregon is that it rains almost everyday for months in winter and spring, and then it almost never rains in summer and fall. I very much miss Mississippi's afternoon thundershowers and its lovely winters. I don't miss the heat and humidity though.

Rob-bear said: " I'd love to camp, but some of my health challenges pretty much rule that out."

I know. If I could only go back to taking long, steep hikes, I would feel pretty good about things. As I said, I never climbed big mountains that took a whole day or more to climb (and many of her climbs started at midnight), but I sure enjoyed the smaller ones. I liked nothing better than to push my body up steep hillsides.

Rhymes said: " nude contortionists that may or may not be your lovely self"

If I had wanted to make you think someone who wasn't me was me, I would have found a better looking fellow to do it with. My spell check likes woos but not wuss. My dictionary likes wuss but not woos. Google references like both, but more of them like wuss, I guess I'll stick with woos for now simply because I like the look of it better, but then again, maybe I won't. It's a hard decision. I ALWAYS appreciate your usage suggestions and corrections.

All Consuming said: "I'm really impressed with the top picture."

I wish it were bigger. I also wish I had lots more climbing photos of her (most of the ones I have were taken by her of other people). I also can't get scanned photos to look as good as the originals. The photo of the sun over Black Butte is gorgeous by virtue of its clarity in the original but not so good in its scanned version no matter how much editing of it I do.

All Consuming said: " The 'bottom' one I shall be selling on ebay to the highest bidder and expect to be a millionaire by the end of the week."

Well, if you're that big a fan, what the hell are you doing staying with your hubby all the way over there in England, you hot-looking woman you? You and I could make beautiful music together, you know, aside from the fact that you're in chronic pain and I'm old and pathetic. In any event, I hereby grant you the right to sell me on eBay. Let me know how you make out.

All Consuming said...

Hahahaha, it's a deal.

JOE TODD said...

A link for you Snow
Atheists Anonymous

Gaston Studio said...

Finally, you're getting some relief from the shoulder pain! Good to hear and good also to hear that you feel free enough to bare it all on the mountaintop.

Just_because_today said...

I really want to imitate that pose...love it!

Snowbrush said...

Joe said: "Atheists Anonymous

Joe, thanks for the link. I sent it to my Presbyterian nephew who is new to the ministry, and he confirmed everything, especially the last one.

All consuming said: "Hahahaha, it's a deal."

Since I haven't heard anything more, I assume that the bidding for my nude photo is so hot that you haven't had time to write. I think that's wonderful. It really gives me a lift.

Just because said: "I really want to imitate that pose..."

It's quite easy really. Just take a double of dose of Dalmane (a powerful sleeping pill in the same family as Valium), and then go outside and look straight up at the night sky. Next thing you know, it will be noon the next day, and you will be in that very same position.

Gaston Studio said: "good also to hear that you feel free enough to bare it all on the mountaintop."

Company is always appreciated, Jane. Just think how MORE inspiring the photo would look if there were a lot of us doing it.

Natalie said...

I am very happy for you. Getting out and about is wonderful.xx

The Bipolar Diva said...

I am SO glad you're getting out and about more!

nollyposh said...

Nothing like some fresh air X:-)