Sunday, July 6, 2014

Behind The Scenes

A lot of times I find myself unmotivated to share or write about our lives when I don’t feel like we’re doing anything noteworthy or significant.  This happens to me often in the winter, when work dominates my day to day and I’m lucky to find time to get out on small ski tours and climbs.  I think it’s basically a function of how much I feel like I’m challenging myself.  When I’m out working towards larger goals or attempting them, I’m psyched to share my progress and experiences, but when my life takes a mellower routine, I’m content to go to the crag without a camera, and spend some time in the mountains without writing about it here.  We all need our version of silent reflection, whether it be from our jobs, our partners, ourselves or the whole scene, this time can give us the perspective and inspiration to return invigorated and focused. 

In light of all this, I wanted to share a little bit about our lives for the last few weeks, because while I might not feel like I’ve been challenging myself enough, our days have been full and there’s been a lot going on, in fact, we’ve got pretty big news, but you’ll have to read to the end for that.  After all, if my goal is to advocate for a simpler, quieter lifestyle, one that might not always be as glamorous but continues to deliver satisfaction and adventure, well then what better place to start than here.  With that in mind, here’s a brief look into the last month of our lives through some words and pictures.

Back where it all began.

Since our spring migration finished, Liz and I have been settling into a beautiful little home here in Leavenworth with our good friend and now roommate Scott.  In my decade of seasonal living, this will be the first summer I’ve spent in a place I’ve been before.  Maybe sometime I’ll even manage to do it two years in a row.  While our previous summer here was short, we were able to make some friends and get to know the area quite well, not to mention we managed to climb A LOT.  It’s been nice to come back and sort of pick up where we left off.  We already know what crags we can go to for an afternoon, and which are better for mornings, we know where to head out if we’ve got a full day or an overnight, and we’re already ticking off our long list of routes and alpine endeavours. 

When we first got here in early June, the weather was fantastic, and we were happy to jump on the rock, but we also spent a lot of time relaxing.  Our life in the winter is one of extremes, while we live in an isolated setting, we sacrifice much of our personal space and privacy, so to return to a quieter life in a home of our own affords us the ability to catch up on a lot of those simple pleasures we often miss out on during the colder months.  Going for short runs, shopping at a grocery store, and generally riding unencumbered around town.  Yoga, cooking, reading and writing, all of these activities are incredibly grounding and I’m happy to incorporate them back into a healthy balance in my daily life. 

As with any seasonal lifestyle, if you don’t have a job lined up, or something you’re used to returning to, finding work is part of the adventure, and while Liz and I already had some connections and a bit of history, we’re doing a little bit different work than we had previously.  Liz is helping teach at a series of summer camps while I’ve found work helping out with a few of the area’s small farms.  We’re both pretty excited about our work, and while we have a deep connection with our winter pastimes it’s challenging and rewarding to pursue a summertime occupation that lies a little closer with our sense of purpose and intent.  Teaching children, growing food, basically caring for plants and humans is something that we’re both pretty stoked to be calling work these days.

As well as the home and work scene, we’ve been devoting a bunch of time for personal projects, Liz has been working on honing her illustrating and pottery crafts, planting and caring for a small garden, and I’ve occupied much of my time sifting through all of the video we took on the Sawtooth Trip.  If you aren’t friends on the Face-tagram, you should be, but you should also know that I managed to put together a little edit for the Adventure Cycling Association’s 2nd Annual Bicycle Touring Video Contest.  You can check out the video here, and all the other submissions here.  Favorites o mine have to be the profile of the little kid and the Bicycling Nomad.  Pretty inspiring stuff, and I’m stoked to have been able to put something together and throw my hat into the ring.  One of the ways videos will be awarded by is most likes, so be sure to vote for your favorite.

In addition to all that, we’ve been taking advantage of Leavenworth’s insane access and using every available moment to get our for some morning and evening cragging sessions, as well as a few overnights and even an alpine route.  Leavenworth has so much to offer, so much of a variety of climbing that it’s easy to pick and choose a crag that fits your schedule and ability that day. 

We’ve also had a steady stream of guests coming to enjoy this granite paradise over the last few weeks.  It’s been a blast to show off all that Leavenworth has to offer, as well as finding motivation from others to explore new areas.  Our good friends Gaelen and Jake have been able to come out and climb recently, along with a prodigious amount of crack and slab climbing, Liz, Gaelen and I took advantage of a day off and got on the uber-classic Serpentine Arete of Dragontail Peak.  Pretty much all of our climbing this spring has been super casual and this was no different, making for a great outing and an awesome re-introduction to the Stuart Range alpine climbing.  Later that week Jake returned to make another bid to the alpine, and Liz was able to join him and Gaelen on the North Ridge of Stuart.  Although I wasn't able to go along they had an amazing time and I can't wait to get up there myself.

Perhaps the greatest (and latest) development here at Nature of Motion, is the support for our endeavor from a new partner.  Liz and I are incredible honored / proud / grateful / STOKED to be joining the team and receiving support from Evolv Sports!  Evolv is truly a climbers company and we are beyond belief - out of our minds - outrageously amped to be joining the family of climbers including the likes of Peter Croft, Steph Davis, Lisa Rands, and oh yeah, The Man-The Myth-The Legend, Chris Sharma.  Wild.

So we’re pretty happy about that.  With as simple and cheap as we live our lives, it often means our margins are small and a few days of work can yield several of exploration, so to receive support for our adventures means we’re only going to be able to get out there more, which is pretty cool.  This won’t be the last time we say it, but a huge thanks and debt of gratitude goes out to the whole crew at Evolv, and I’m pretty stoked to do all we can to earn their continuing support.

So that’s our lives in a nutshell.  Every day is an adventure, every moment an opportunity, and we’ve been working to fill them all with passion and mindfulness.  We’re putting it all together for the summer, and I’m looking forward to sharing with you all a little more about some of the bigger projects that are already unfolding, but for now, enjoy the photo dump.

Gaelen Belaying Liz up the last bit of the N. Ridge.  Terrible views as the sun starts to set.

Scotty got out for a couple of bike tours, reacting pretty well to having his bike and all of his possessions stolen Day 1 of a 400+ mile ride.  Way to go buddy!

Leavenworth Roadside Attractions.

Liz and Gaelen following on Heart of Gold, back when we were still cragging in a puffy.

Anyone? Tim Cole? They made a bike?!

Life is Hard.

Stopped counting rings on this guy somewhere after 250...

Giants do exist.  Mt. Stuart looming in the distance.

They don't call 'em the cascades for nuthin.

It seems this mountain has it's own filter.  I call it Gnar.

Upper Icicle, Endless.

My workplace, not a bad spot to spend the day.

Coffee and computers, make sure to take many breaks!

Liz grinding up an unknown forest service road on our way to look for the Chumstick Snag.  We failed this time but we'll be back!

More office shots.

Shared the garden with this guy.  Biggun.

Evening Send up Javelin. 

Jake trying not to fall through on the way to Pearly Gates.

We should probably just teach them to belay.

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