Sitting in Sookies cabin sifting through my winter clothes I found my old logbook and started reading through it. Stuck in the inside was a little cutout drawing of Chloe with a caption one hand for you, one for the boat. I read though often laughing out loud at some of our mis adventures, I really need to start writing about some of this stuff.
Our first trip together was up the west coast of Vancouver Island. We had no lifelines, no reef lines, no topping lift, oh and no motor. The wind was less than desirable on that trip, always way too much wind or even worse a dead calm but we made it just fine. Somewhere on that journey we become one. I can sail her in my sleep and know every inch of her from how many and what size fasteners she has to exactly how much food I have I have in her 26 lockers. I don’t need lists, she is a part of me.
I’ve only put her mast in the water once but it was a memorable experience. We’ve been lost more times than I care to admit. Nearly run down by a pissed off ferry driver who kept changing corse right at us. We’ve dragged anchor but only once. Never run aground but I did run over a full dock floating in the middle of the ocean one dark night.
She is too small, too slow, too antique and too much work but still a far better bargain than I am. With her wide side decks and deep cockpit she was the safest boat I could find for Chloe, you see Sookie was never mine, she was Chloe’s. It’s been two years now since she took her last breath cradled in my arms. Two years I’ve been running. Two years of a broken heart and missing her every day. Without that stinky fluffy monster Sookie just hasn’t been complete and either have I.
I never did ride across the Golden Gate Bridge but I did close the gap and now have cycled the full length from Canada to Mexico, just a drop in the bucket of my cycling adventures. I’ve sailed all over the world. Section hiked the PCT from Mexico to Lake Tahoe. And a million other journeys.
With the end of each journey comes the question what next? Where is the next great challenge, not that it takes much to challenge me greatly. I’m not getting any younger and know that each of these new journeys is a blessing and could very easily be my last. The clock ticks faster with each passing year until it spirals out of control.
I stand naked and dripping in my warm bathroom, I don’t have an ounce of body fat, my muscles are cut and ripped, skin dark and healthy. I’m strong enough to do anything but what? In 2018 I’ll cross into my 50th year on this planet, I need something bigger, harder, scarier. Like Dr Rachel says think Big Alan. I need to cross into the next realm of adventure travel and I need it now.
I’m sitting on my bed with clean sheets, a glass of stellar wine and a small pile of chocolate chip cookies. ‘This is all so nice but I miss being out there, scared, cold, alone and as usual hopelessly lost. I need to feel alive without the walls of safety closing in on me like an Iron Maiden. My lonely soul is that of a wanderer, an explorer on the road less taken. I take in a deep breath and cough a little, my lungs are healing just a bit. Chika arrives in two days which means I can test them on Mt Constitution. I feel lucky to be alive, not because I survived the fire but because I put myself out there to experience it. One more notch in my weathered old belt…