Solitude and eye surgery

solitudeI’d forgotten how quiet it down here. Especially at night but pretty much all the time. I’m five days into a nine day Wilderness First Responder course and I’m loving it. The classes end between 5:00 and 5:30 so the sun is already behind the mountains when we get out for the day. Friday night we had an evening session so we didn’t get out until 9:00, so they gave us a dinner break from 5:00 to 6:15. Instead of driving into town to eat, I took dinner with me and walked out into the desert to eat and gaze at the stars.

Solitude at last…

I thought I’d found solitude close to home a few months ago, but I was wrong. Compared to here, that solitude at home was like comparing an original painting to a cereal box. Or something like that. It’s not just the desert at night that’s quiet. My motel is on the main highway through town. There is less traffic on that highway in the morning – a LOT less – than the little connecting road that runs through the neighborhood where I live.

Even neighborhood traffic is less. I live on a cul de sac with 15 houses on it. Seems like every 5 minutes there’s a car going in or out. All day, every day. In Bishop, my mom owns a property on a street with 40 homes. I spent a couple hours there today doing some cleanup work (we at a day off from class). ONE car the entire two hours. Amazing.

Eye surgery?

Which brings me to… eye surgery. I had Lasik about 17 years ago. It was great at first but about 5 years ago my vision started getting worse. I’m at the point now where I can’t see the sights on a handgun without my reading glasses. That makes it kind of hard to see the target. Besides needing reading glasses out to 5 or 6 feet, my distance vision also wasn’t as clear as it had been.

Went to the eye doctor and he explained that’s normal. I guess you’re eyes are changing throughout your life even if they’re healthy. Silly me, I always thought they stopped changing when you’re around 40, which is about when I got the Lasik. So… he tested my eyes for a glasses prescription. With the prescription my distance vision is once again 20/20 (actually a little better). Even better, I can see my thumb clearly at arm’s length with the “distance” lenses. No reading glasses for shooting – yipee.

So, the bad news is I need glasses again. The good news is I’ve got cataracts just barely starting, but that I’d probably be better off with glasses for now. BUT, and it’s a biggie, he told me if I wanted he’d refer me to an eye surgeon for a second opinion. At first I decided to just go with glasses and skip the second opinion. I’m only 56, and my eyes might keep changing so I could end up needing glasses in the future even with the lens replacement surgery. I’d rather wear the glasses now and finish my life not needing them, than have a reprieve now and have to wear them when I’m old.

“So what” you ask…

Well, the “so what” is the solitude down here. I’m still young enough to camp and go on treks. It’s a total pain in the a$$ to worry about glasses when you’re camping or traipsing through the wilderness. I want to learn how to swim and glasses are a pain in the a$$ for swimming, too. So now I’m thinking I’d rather have good vision without glasses while I’m still young enough to enjoy the outdoors. When I get old and have to settle down, glasses won’t be as much of a hassle because I won’t be doing as much. Well gotta go now. Almost 9:00 and I want to get up at 4:30 am to study. Until next time…

Peace out,

Solitude close to home

solitude close to homeI had lots of fun on a nature walk in the city with my kids and some friends a few months back. I’ve been looking for closer places but I’m always too busy. I guess I haven’t been looking hard enough. After 16 years in my house I just found a good place to hike, practically in my own back yard – a trail head about 2 miles from home. It splits into 3 trails right at the start. One goes south and then turns west and winds around to the top of a hill overlooking the valley. One heads south and leads to a park in a different part of town, and the last heads east and ends at a ditch. For our hike, we took the trail heading east.

Makings of a microadventure?

The sign at the trail head warns that overnight camping is illegal. Whatever. We saw only a few people on the trail. The land is surrounded by houses and businesses on 3 sides so I was kind of expecting to see more people. Thankfully there weren’t many. I did see a few places I could easily spend the night and not be noticed. Maybe a good place for a microadventure?

Round trip was about a mile. There’s a pretty nice hill so coming out was good exercise. The trail ends at an irrigation ditch running along the edge of private land. Doesn’t look like it holds any fish. It was really nice finding a place so close to home with so few people.

Dirt road coming up to the irrigation ditch. Doesn’t look like it’s been driven on in a long time.

Ditch at the end of the trail. On the other side is a private ranch.

Next to the ditch, looking north.

Looking north-east as we approach the ditch. The road is the one we took to get to the trail head. The green area in the middle is a private ranch. I hope they never sell it and build on the land. That would really suck…

Looking south-east. Feels nice and remote even though we’re surrounded by homes and buildings. There’s a highway less than a half mile behind us. Thanks to the hilly terrain, we can’t hear the traffic at all.

My family walking back to the car. This was so much nicer than just walking to the little park by our house.

Back side of some businesses along the north side. The owner of the white truck was doing some dumpster diving. Don’t know what the businesses are but it looked like he was finding stuff to keep. This is only about a quarter mile from where we were at the ditch.

Solitude close to home…

Glad I found this place. It has a nice, remote feel to it even though it’s so close to homes and businesses. Even the highway along one side doesn’t break the solitude. I’m thinking really hard about spending the night there before winter hits. It will be my first microadventure. Until next time…

Peace out,