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Going Places.

Sara Lingafelter
Sara Lingafelter
4 min read

It’s been a strange winter, but I’m starting to come out from my hibernation. Only it hasn’t been hibernation… it’s been a strange experience in constant motion for the last few months… very little rest, a very lot of movement, and very little of any of it within as much of my own direction or control as I’ve become accustomed to. The short version might be, “Shit happens.”

So, whatever I’d call it, here I am. I’m holed up for a couple of days in soft-water Spokane Valley, WA, in a kinda ok hotel. Work is full, and fun, and interesting, and really a dream come true kind of setup… I get to travel, meet new and interesting people who play outside, and talk a bit about gear, but mostly play outside and talk about playing outside.

There’s a strange new learning, in this kind of worktravel blend. I hang the “do not disturb” sign like other professional travelers I’ve observed, so that the privacy of my chaotic little sanctuary away from home is the same when I return to it as when I leave it… a universal constant I take for granted at home. My systems for keeping organized are getting better. I’m trying to make more time for phone calls to friends and family (I’m failing miserably at that one, at the moment, but hopefully I’ll improve). I’m getting better about eating well, and I’m determined to get better about exercising even while I’m on the road. I can feel myself slipping into expedition mode, where I have brief, meaningful interactions with strangers I may or may not ever see again, but whose time and words and smiles I value because I miss the human interaction normally delivered by my close friends and family.

Last week I set off for Nelson, BC for a ski event (which rocked, by the way) and a big stretch of the trip from Spokane through Metalline Falls, across the border and into Nelson was brand new to me. It was ground I’d never covered before, even though it’s only a day’s drive from home. I’m enjoying that part of my job… it won’t always be new, but when it is, it’s great. I have a bit of a dormant travel virus in me… last year’s big trip was a flare-up, but since then, I’ve been in a bit of a recovery mode. Driving through new terrain in my home state made it flare up, just a bit.

I haven’t been climbing much… partly, my personal life took over everything else there for a few weeks, and I’m still digging out a bit. Partly, I’ve been dealing with a nagging injury from last December, and my body finally issued a stop work order a few weeks ago that even I wasn’t able to set aside. Some self-care has been in order, and is in order, for awhile to come.

My harness doesn’t tighten down quite the way it should… my training dropped off entirely for a few necessary weeks. During that time, life was family -> work -> family -> work … lather, rinse and repeat. It was a bit of a blessing in disguise, since the covalent bonds that connect me to the people I love and who love me back are … not stronger, since they’re always strong, but I’ve been reminded of them, and now’s a good time for that, since my life is even a little less conventional right now than my normal level of unconventional.

As I move through this world so close to home but not home, I’m thinking a lot about friends who are getting ready to head to far flung places. This Everest season is unlike years past for me, where I was able to lightly follow the action from the comfort of my laptop and then watch the post-season documentaries with my climbing friends as a form of entertainment, this season is closer to home. I’m thinking positive thoughts of health, safety and success for each friend headed for the mountain — the blessing bestowed upon me during my wander through the region last fall.

I’m looking forward to the next few days of work, and then to a few days closer to home, hopefully involving friends, family, and playing outside. And probably, a whole lot of salad and trail running. Next week, if plans hold, takes me down to Red Rock for the Red Rock Rendezvous, an event that will truly blur the line between work and play for me. I’m hoping for at least a bit of cragging while I’m there… I’m not in epic, long, trad-leading shape, at the moment, but I am excited about the prospect for getting in some bolt clipping in between work commitments while I’m there and seeing so many friends (and making so many new ones) all in one place.

If you’ve emailed / messaged / commented / etc and not gotten a response from me, I apologize. I usually manage to keep up, but just trust me when I say that the last few months have been unusual to a degree that I just wasn’t able to respond to everything. I did / do read everything, though, and appreciate all the support and encouragement and concern and love, and look forward to life returning to a more normal level of abnormal, and being able to keep in touch better than I have been.

Take good care, and hopefully it won’t be a month before my next post.

Not Climbing

Sara Lingafelter

Sara (Grace) Lingafelter takes steps forward and backward toward a right-sized life on a daily basis.