People often talk about the work-life balance, but in my life I don’t know which one is work, and which one is living, confused about where I truly belong; I feel alive when I’m in the mountains, yet I never stay. Back home in the city recharges my soul, yet I inevitably grow restless and leave again to find fulfillment in the mountains. Continuously I cross the threshold between these two worlds – worlds in symbiosis, incessantly turning over. Both are part of my identity, yet I can’t exist in one forever, not without the other. Like the sand that falls through the narrow waist of an hourglass, I am constantly pulled from one realm to the other. This is my life in perpetual motion, a delicate dance balancing pleasure and pain, serenity and insanity.
by Niki Yoblanski in her piece “the hourglass”
Photo by Julie Vargo
The work-life balance has been a difficult thing to strike lately. Like the author so poignantly describes in that quote from her larger piece “The Hourglass” , I am constantly struggling to create an equilibrium between my career goals that I am pursuing here in San Francisco and my personal passion to play in the mountains. One unfortunate consequence of this tricky task is that I have completely neglected this blog. This, in turn, will benefit you, my few readers, because this will be light on text and heavy on imagery!
If I know only one thing, it’s that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak
Yeah I’m tongue-tied and dizzy and I can’t keep it to myself
What good is it to sing helplessness blues, why should I wait for anyone else?
And I know, I know you will keep me on the shelf
I’ll come back to you someday soon myself
–Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues
The colors are what strike you first when you peer up at Laurel Mountain; a dazzling array of crimson red, slate, brilliant white and dark gray sit in neat horizontal patches like methodically placed paint brush strokes. At a height of 11,818 feet (3,602 m) Laurel Mountain creeps up above Convict Lake in the High Sierras. The mountain, like any other, is no laughing matter nor is it a walk in the park, but most people come here more for the adventure than for the technical difficulty. There is not a move above 5.2 and most of it is fourth class. However, the route, dubbed “Northeast Gully” asks the climber to contend with nearly 1 mile of vertical gain. Due to its low grade, most people, including us, free-solo this route.
Photo by E. Léger
With spring came great Yosemite Valley climbing weather, but also my last (and most difficult) quarter at UC Davis. Somehow, I managed to pull off going to the Sierra Nevada four times to do some trad climbing, but with my 21 unit load I never found the time to actually do all of the blogging I wanted to about these trips. With so much time past since these trips, I have decided to make this a “photo blog”, which I figure will be appreciated by my number one blog reader- my mom. Here then, are the adventures…