Late September: Transitions and Grizzly Peak

For the first time in quite some time, the four members of my immediate family reside in four different places. Although we have all probably been separated in the past, such as runs to the grocery stores or whatnot, this is the first time our homes are disparate. For my brother, his home is his apartment in Central Oregon, where he is working hard to make a living and move up in the engineering company he is employed with. For my mother, her home is the back of her SUV, in the midst of a fire camp some 1000 men and women strong, as she works long days and sleeps short nights, sometimes moving from place to place to find the most quiet and least smelly location. My father and our two dogs reside at home, holding down the fort and I am sure he is no doubt immersed in his work as a self-appointed historian. As for me, I am getting settled into my new home in the small town of Talent, just north of Ashland.

I know this blog was intended to be a travel blog, and this isn’t quite a travel post, but bear with me as I write about my state of being from moving from one place to another. You see, although I have traveled before, this move is much more permanent. This is the start of a period of my life where I am semi-nomadic. Yes, I am living in a house now and am quite content, but for college I may move and may find newer and different surroundings. The house where I grew up in is just that, and the notion of it being my home is changing.

However, I am finding southern Oregon to be a beautiful place. I could not ask for more welcoming roommates, and we all seem to go out of our way to be kind and respectful of each other. My social life here began with them, as we visited coworkers for birthday parties and went on walks, but soon will branch out as I meet new people in school and reconnect with old friends. In a way, my housemates are my new family, and I trust them as I know they trust me.

Speaking of old friends, every time I have come to Ashland, I have heard of the mysterious and grand place known as ‘Grizzly Peak,’ and this past week was the first time I was able to hike and summit it. Kadie, a friend that  I knew from high school, acted as guide. She has been going to this school for the past two years, and has subsequently explored it much more than I have. We hoped to do a sunset hike Wednesday evening, after she had gotten off work, along with a small group of her friends that I did not know.

As Wednesday began to roll around, the weather looked increasingly gloomy and Wednesday morning I was awoke with the soft sound of rain falling. I had never seen southern Oregon in the rain; it was a sight to behold, as low, dark clouds inhabit the valley and the gentle rain falls steadily and falls on some objects outside of my window that make sounds like rain does when falling on a tent.

Since the rain was not heavy, Kadie was still confident we could take Grizzly Peak, although some of her chums had (perhaps wisely) opted not to hike in the dreary weather. As four people piled into my small station wagon, we set out, high hopes in cold weather. The drive up to the trailhead was pleasant, especially as we took the interestingly named Dead Indian Memorial road (which struck me as a name white people give to a road to alleviate some guilt without appearing too respectful). Jasmine, my car and my love, handled beautifully up the roads, which soon turned to gravel with quite some craters for potholes. At the trailhead, we were alone. Although there was a large area for parking, apparently no one else wanted to go hiking in this weather.

The hike up was serene, the view from the peak was surreal. We were essentially standing in a cloud that seemed to play with us. Rather than flooding us with a deluge, we were battered by the constant mist. There were many large charred trees, barren yet stoic, indicative of a past fire. The lights of Ashland twinkled in the distance, as we stood atop the slick stones and rocky outcroppings of the peak and ate granola and drank water, which seemed ironic that we should need such sustenance. Our victory was short lived as the cold crept, yet the view was no less magnificent, The Rogue Valley stretched out before us, with it’s gentle hills with yellow grasses, cut in half by the illustrious Interstate 5, with it’s constant flow of activity with commuters, semi truck drivers dreaming of home, and free spirits simply in love with the road.

School has just started to begin, and I suppose I need to get myself into the mindset of reading things academically, sleeping on a decent schedule, and exercising. Luckily, I know that I am starting off in one of the best places that I could be. Let the happiness of the present continue and expand into the future.

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