I spend Monday through Friday land-locked between the 101 and the 10. At the strike of 2:45 beckoning the weekend – my mind races straight to her. She spends the week baiting me with her forecast, promising frozen precipitation, bluebird skies, and a chai latte upon my arrival. No matter the season, she smells dank of lodgepole pine. I know what I’m getting myself into every time. My heart races with every mile I pass on the long and straight-forward 395. I picture us together, in the bliss of fresh air, clear perspective, and simplicity. I am in a very committed, very serious long-distance relationship with the alpine.
When I look at a ridge line, its like looking at the your lover laying flat on their stomach. You can trace every beautiful twist, turn, and feature with the stroke of your forefinger. You can squint one eye and follow its regal shadow from one end to the other, contemplating what its like to flirt with the division of a massif. I want all of it. I want to play with her and connect with her in every way possible.
Somewhere along the Kenai Peninsula I stepped into myself. Four days out of college, in the candy apple red Tacoma of my dreams, it was the mix of Led Zeppelin, loneliness turned independence, and the sudden feeling of finishing a 22-year long puzzle that initiated the first round of my becoming. I was living out the wildness inside of me, and knew that this feeling would spread like wildfire. Here I am, but three years later, trying to seek and maintain that same feeling while living in a great concrete expanse. I am love-struck by my lifestyle that is simultaneously my religion.
There is a certain rhythm to the madness that makes it meditative. Do your laundry on Monday, to air dry all of your capeline and synthetic fabrics until Wednesday, to create the gear pile in the middle of my rug Thursday, to leave as soon as you can Friday. By Friday evening, I’m at an altitude that’s rid me of my headache of the week, and can actually sleep through the night. Sunday, as I make my way back to the 101, noticing Universal Studios on the hillside to my left, I am still reeling. My windows are down, my left arm out, still singing and laughing to myself the same way I did on the 395. I feel like I have the best kept secret. My body still implies I was on the mountain that morning – my sock line traced with dirt, my hair drenched in sweat from my helmet. The traffic that’s sure to start somewhere around Hollywood Boulevard and continue into downtown will not defray the weekend’s engagement with my beloved. My heart is open and aches for her every chance I get. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part — it’s alpine forever.