The mountains have a magnetic pull for me. The crisp morning air, the most rising off the pond and creek, the sunlight bathing the cliffs in morning pink and evening gold, the smell of the ground after an afternoon shower, slopes of pine forests, the rugged peaks of the Sawtooth, Pioneer, and White Cloud ranges. Even with a cancery spine the activities are endless: hiking, fly fishing, biking, riding, smores, the hammock. I spent a lot of time in the hammock!
Even though I know some wonderful people in Sun Valley, I tend to just cocoon with family while I’m there.
I sleep with the shades open so that the first sight I see when I rip off the eye mask is the mountains. The cancer still makes me so tired so I sleep late and still manage to nap everyday in the hammock! Very healing.
I decided to take a chance and get on my beloved Loki for a short ride. Loki is my wonderful friends- George and Joan- Icelandic horse known for his gentle spirit and his remarkably smooth gait. Loki now lives along East Fork which looks straight at the stunning Pioneer mountains. I gave him a big hug and flashed back to our many long rides around the Sun Valley trails. George spoiled the kids first with short rides; they looked great and were so delighted. And then I decided I could trust Loki and that a short ride wouldn’t knock out my titanium screws. We started at a walk, and once I felt I had my seat back I urged him into a canter. Natural, easy, freeing. The wind against my skin, the view of the mountains, the rush of the soft aspen trees as we cantered past. It felt GREAT! Best horse ever. My butt didn’t event leave the saddle. I know I can’t resume long, racing rides, but this is enough. I’m so very lucky that George and Joan give me this opportunity. It is a thrill and a joy for which I am so grateful.
Creighton and I fished out in Copper Basin, and Dad and I fished in Loving Creek. Very different settings and fish, but both aided by the great Mike from Silver Creek who makes me think I can actually fish. Fly fishing isn’t for everyone. Given my lack of patience it has always been a source of learning. It is a fabulous excuse to walk or float a river for hours on end. It is a reminder to be in the moment and let go. It is a strategic chase in the midst of stunning natural beauty. Two giant bald eagles kept us company on Loving Creek for 2 hours, perched high on some dead wood and surveilling their territory. Gorgeous creatures. 7ft wingspans! I love watching Creighton and my Dad fish. Creighton is infinitely patient and will stay on a deep pool for hours. It often pays off. Dad is restless like me and likes to cover more territory, but he beams in this setting. I think fishing has been one of the great tools of his stroke recovery.
With the kids in the oh so fabulous Mountain Adventure Tours camp for a week (they spend the days jumping into hot springs, freezing natural pools, caving, hiking, exploring and just having an awesome mountain adventure everyday) I was able to get a few books read. I very much enjoyed Mademoiselle Chanel, a historical fiction about how Coco Chanel came from an orphanage to build one of the most enduring brands in fashion. She was a fascinating woman and the book does a nice job taking you through the fears and horrors of the two world wars while also bringing Paris and fashion to life. I flew through Dan Brown’s Inferno, a far fetched but fun chase through Florence, Venice, and Istanbul. Art history, travel, and a look at the topic of overpopulation. I liked that he mentioned Melinda Gates’s incredible work in this space. I’m a big fan of birth control and educating girls as a path to a better world. The latest Maisy Dobbs- Journey to Munich– delivered as usual. She is such a wonderful character: strong, grounded, insightful, open minded. A super zen detective living during the two world wars in London, the stories mix history, psychology, the terrors of war, the evolution of women, the evolution of the class system in England with a good mystery.
My mom spoils us with her amazing and healthy cooking. We offset it with Tony’s root beer ice cream, Killer Chocolate cream at Leroy’s on the square, and the Big Wood Bakery’s to die for carrot cake. Stupor inducing cream cheese frosting and a moist cake. Absurd!
A dear Stanford friend hitched a ride with her brother in law attending the Allen conference, so I was able to share some of my favorite parts of Sun Valley with her while we caught up. A real treat.
I only touched the surface of hikes I could do, and there were several friends I should have called. The time flew by too fast, but it was a wonderfully healing visit. A real summer.
My mom likes to remind me that while we live for each day, that we must always hope and believe that I might be the one to beat the odds. They don’t have stats on people using my meds. Maybe I have to walk around for years with holes in my spine and consistent pain, but who cares if I can live well in the meantime. I thank my lucky stars for my doctors, the trial, the rapid change of treatments, the incredible potential of new medicines, this blessed time with family and friends. There are many many silver linings to this otherwise hideous disease.
I hope these writings provide a bit of a respite from all the bad news out there. I am saddened by the violence of our society, by the horrid acts of terrorism. I’m encouraged by women having a voice as society finally faces the truth of sexual assault. But I also know that nothing can fix the past. All we or any institution can do is put its best foot forward for a new future. It is easy to get depressed when reading the news. But when I learn about the strides in conservation, when I meet energetic teenagers and millennials and their sharing economy, when I see the curiosity of our kids I feel ever hopeful.