Hiking

The Mountains Will Wait For Us: Or What I Learned From Bed Rest

As I sit here I can see the Olympic Mountains from my office. Sunrise is coming up behind my house, tinging the sky pink over the mountains.

Across the Salish Sea, they sit so close. So. Very. Close. And yet, they are locked up tight. For that I am grateful I can see them – and If I want to see them closer, there is a public beach a mile away that hasn’t been closed down (yet).

But I am not going to lie. Like most everyone else I have major cabin fever. I at least have a few outlets here – I have a ridge to hike across the street, and I have my property to wander on. But as I look across at the Olympic Mountains my heart hurts. I miss it that much. All I want to do is take the ferry and drive to the Olympics.

Yesterday Kirk and I drove off the island to do an errand, my first time off the island in nearly 6 weeks. As we drove off Deception Pass, at the north end of the island, Mount Baker was bathed in the sunrise. I felt a sadness, but then I realized something:

The mountains will wait for us. They will. Even when a volcano destroys itself, it will still be there. It might not be exactly as you want, but it will be there. (Case in point: I am old enough to remember Mt. St. Helens letting go.)

As we drove, and crested the bridge off the next island, onto the main land, the Cascade Range and the foothills lay in front of us, across the LaConner Flats. My eyes noticed something that cut through the yearning. Just how much snow there was, even in the foothills.

It isn’t even time to be in the mountains. It literally is the off season. Winter is long gone, but cold, deep snow sits in the mountains. And will for the next 1 to 3 months. The dirty snow is compressed and hard, nothing is alive yet. Spring won’t come for a long time.

And then, I just felt better. I just needed to be reminded that it isn’t the time.

It is like eating out of season fruit. Sure, cherries sound great in December. But it’s not actually ripe, so you don’t enjoy it.

And yeah, you can drive to the mountains, but will you enjoy a slog in crappy snow? Not so much. Especially considering all gov’t run offices are closed. No visitor centers. No road clearing. No bathrooms. And worse, you stop in small towns on the way and be that person. I live on an island, that lives and breathes tourism, but we don’t want you right now. Not at all. It’s not personal. It’s why all the state parks are closed and we can’t hike in our local state parks. Every weekend as we work on our farm, we listen to the traffic on the highway that runs up the island. It is quiet till the ferry lets off, then come the crowds. Nowhere to stop, but they keep coming out of boredom.

But there is more to this….and as a female who had 3 high risk pregnancies I will spin a tale about what it taught me.

The first child I was on bed rest for Preeclampsia, hospitalized for it. I spent July and August laying on my side. From my window I watched what was one of the prettiest summers slip by. I could see Mount Baker, looming over the water. for 2 months. The day I had that child it started raining. And it rained for months after. That next spring though I was healthy again, and my tiny baby was strong enough to be with me as I started hiking.

It taught me patience. It taught me to deal with boredom. (And this was in the era before internet I might add….)

The second child I was coming off a high in hiking. I had cracked the 20 mile day, I had done so many trails I had wanted. I felt like nothing was going to stop me. I was on top.

And then I had unexplained bleeding in my second trimester and in a blink my life changed. I was put on bed rest for half the pregnancy. I watched myself lose my muscle. I missed being outside, hiking, planning hikes. It was a lot crueler than the first time. But my goal was for me to be healthy, and my baby to make it.

When he was born in late March I had the same realization: Waiting sucks, but it will be there.

And when it was time we went to the mountains.

And I repeated this less than 2 years later.

It sucks to wait. But it will get better. And the mountains will be there. Right now, when you feel stir crazy, and mad to be outside, in the wilds…just breathe. Find something else to do. Because the trails will wait for you.

~Sarah

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