Monday, May 31, 2010


Sophia. (My brother's photograph.)

I’m sitting at yet another McDonald’s, this one at the edge of the Minnesota prairie. I’ve just spent another fantastic weekend with my family, this time with my brother and sister, her husband and children, and her brother- and sister-in-law. It is cool how there is this real way that we’ve all become family to each other. My sister’s husband is really my brother, as is his brother. We’ve created a new family for ourselves, or the family is evolving and changing, and if we want to maintain these relationships, we have to accept that. And relish it.

We spent the weekend at an incredible Wisconsin lake cabin, and I spent two hours both days rowing my sister and her daughter across the lake. We chased box turtles, spied sandhill cranes, and watched a family of Canada geese, the chicks fluffy and gray, disappear up from the water. This weekend was billed as my brother’s bachelor party. It’s the first long weekend the three of us have spent together in a very long time. Both my sister and I are standing up for my brother at his wedding, so, as groomsmen, we had to show him a good time.

Not that we did anything particularly spectacular. But two days of laying in the sun, good conversation, and marine exploration make for a perfect weekend. Not to mention my sister’s near-perfect menu, with an all-day marinade of skirt steak in garlic and cilantro, grilled and sliced for carne asada tacos topping the list. My nieces are perfect, as usual. Sophia had about three children chasing her around the beach, trying to get her attention. She attracts a fan following anywhere she goes.

Now we head west. Westward ho. The goal today is to get to Boulder, where we meet up with friends of Peter’s. It’s going to be an epic, seventeen-hour day of driving, which freaked me out enough that I couldn't sleep last night and woke up at two in the morning and did some yoga outside on the deck. Seventeen hours in a car does not make my lower back happy.

In other news, the Pacific Crest Trail hike looks like a more distant possibility. I’m getting consistent feedback that section is still impassable from snow. Another, more low-elevation hike, is a possibility, especially later in the season. I’m disappointed, but I also want to be realistic. Then again, one can always start a southbound thru-hike of the PCT on July 1… Why are these ideas always so tempting to me? And so tough to follow through on?

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