Adam and I are celebrating – celebrating the beginning of February, which means that the worst of winter is behind us (hopefully). This winter in the van has been particularly challenging. From enduring the biting cold of 10 degree nights in Bishop, to a week straight of snow and rain in Red Rock, to a weekend of 50 mph winds and flooding in Joshua Tree, we just couldn’t seem to escape the frosty clutch of winter. Ice covered windshields and snow covered landscapes followed us from one desert to the next. Every day tasks -cooking, getting dressed, going to the bathroom – were a struggle. I wore the same pair of long johns under all my layers for over a week because it was solely too cold to even consider exposing my bare skin to the raw air. The constant cold numbed us. My motivation to climb dwindled. My motivation to run disappeared. I found no pleasure being outside. I simply wanted to feel warm again.
And then, the other morning, Adam and I woke up to sun! Not the cold, dull sun of winter, but the bright, euphoric sun of spring. For the first time this season, as I turned my face towards the sky and closed my eyes, I felt warmth. I felt awakened from the winter funk that had set deep within my body – like a bear waking from hibernation. The world seemed vibrant again. My mind swirled with thoughts, as if I was finally digesting everything I had experienced in the last two months. Energy abounded. I craved the outdoors again – climbing, running, setting goals and working to attain them. And, like any good adventurer, the memories of the discomfort will quickly fade into stoke for tomorrow’s climb.