Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Holsten Family Vacation

Sitting out the storm...this is fun, right!?

"Get out of my way!" I loudly think to myself. A green swath of steep brush pulls and pushes me down with all its might. Aggression fuels my muscle as I push madly through a tangle of slide alder and fir. The pin point of a broken branch slices dirty skin and blood trickles down my arm. This is war.

Behind me I hear my father, like a bear in the woods, crashing and slipping upwards through the jungle of pain we have chosen for our yearly "vacation".

Ever since I was small I was taught that life, although beautiful, is a demanding journey where you don't always get what you want, but you always make due with what you have. When I was young I wanted my dad to burn the musty climbing gear and take the family to a beach. Hawaii, Mazatlan, hell, Florida. Take us somewhere sunny, fun, and relaxing.

Despite my tropical dream, Dad and I always chose to work with the world right out the front door of our Seattle home. "Vacation" meant days of walking, climbing, and shwacking our way through the Cascades. Those days taught mental toughness and physical tolerance. My passion for high places sprouted from the long approaches, blocky rock climbing, and glacier crossings the Cascades demand.

Pleasant terrain near Eiley Lake

My father and I still like a nice vacation every once in a while, so August 8th through 11th was set aside for an attempt on Mt. Challenger. Day one saw us cruising up Little Beaver Valley under partly cloudy skies. Days two and three were spent wandering in the mist and trying not to burn the tent down while making hot drinks. Rain pattered all afternoon and night. A sucker hole lured us out from our bivy, but before long the rain resumed as our time dwindled. A pleasant day was spent returning to the car, the emerald waters of Ross Lake lapping at the forest bank as we cruised the flat path through the moss carpeted woods.

Mt. Fury floating in the mist

Time spent in the mountains is always meaningful, especially with my Dad. Although we traveled far only to fall short of the summit, we still enjoyed the new terrain, the thrill of route finding in tough conditions, and each others company. Of course, we are dreaming of our next vacation already. A cruise, surfing in Costa Rica, or a sunny beach all sound nice, but I have a feeling we'll be working with what we've got. Deep valleys, big hills, and high mountains. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Return to the valley

1 comment:

Doug said...

Jens - We'll do Hawaii when I'm in a wheelchair. Until then, there are more projects to take care of here. Proud to be your dad - dbh