As the year was ending, I was thinking, no, the whole thing wasn't terrible, just much of it.

Upon further reflection, I realized I did have a number of high points in the year. In this case, "high" had multiple meanings, one being very literal.

Top of Mount Baker, July 2021
Top of Mount Baker, July 2021

Top of Flat Iron, in the Superstition Mountains, September 2021
Top of Flat Iron in the Superstition Mountains, September 2021

Virginia Pass, Hoover Wilderness, October 2021
Virginia Pass, Hoover Wilderness, October 2021

Mount Vinson Base Camp, December 2021
Mount Vinson Base Camp, December 2021

Turns out, when looking through the my photos, I noticed the photos in which I looked the youngest, the photos with my most joy, were the ones with me on a mountain. This surprised me, and didn't surprise me. N has told me many times to self-identify as a mountaineer, to believe that I am no longer an ultimate player, I am a mountaineer. The fitness and muscle adaptation that result from mountaineering training (steady pace, heavy load, go all day) is different than for ultimate (sprint endurance), and I'm learning that difference.

The loss of one identity comes with the emergence of another.

I was going to post the four images on various social media platforms, but realized I wanted to keep them here. So, I didn't post them there. And I'm happy with this.

Because How Could She Be Competent?


Misogyny is alive and well in our "modern" era. I mean, when you're reading about this amazing find of lapis lazuli in a medieval woman's teeth, and you come across the paragraph,

"But art experts were still skeptical. Some dismissed the idea that a woman could have been a painter skilled enough to work with ultramarine. One suggested to Warinner that this woman came into contact with ultramarine because she was simply the cleaning lady."

... how can you do anything but (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

Of course a woman must be the cleaning lady, because heaven forbid a woman could be accomplished, then erased from history.

Reminds me of Arnaud, actually.

F---ing asshole men.

Could be worse


Went to the knee doctor today. I was wise enough to run before i went into the appointment, though not wise enough to run far enough to trigger enough pain to provide a description to my doctor for what I was feeling.

I very much enjoy chatting with the doctor. He is all short, direct sentences, and will keep talking if interrupted. I have learned not to interrupt him.

Okay, doc said MRI at this point would be to see what the surgical options are. Given has been 3 weeks since injury, he says wait for a month and then have the MRI, to give my knee time to heal as best it can. Stay active, as much as I can tolerate (so, somewhere between sloth and Priyanka levels of activity), go to PT again for exercises that I can tolerate, and don't aggravate the knee. Walks with packs are fine if the knee is okay. Don't go downhill much if I can avoid it, for the next month.

Clouds over Southern Chile

Daily Photo

This is not My Tribe


I'm sitting in a hotel lobby, a lovely place in Punta Arenas, Chile. I am four days from my scheduled leaving for Antarctica. I am surrounded by eclipse chasers.

This is not my tribe.

There's a woman here who has been to 23 eclipses. She is loud and proud about this number.

There's the editor of Astronomy magazine over at another table. He's had that job for 34 years. He's a celebrity to this crowd.

There's a retired physician from Phoenix talking with his eclipse chaser friends. The group talking about past eclipses, future eclipses, photography equipment, eclipse stories.

For all of them, Antarctica is secondary to the eclipse. The eclipse is the draw. "I'm going to ride the bikes, but I don't want to use crampons or an ice axe."

Feels similar to last year: many people went to Antarctica for the penguins. I went for the ice, the rocks, the cold, the continent.

I'm here to spend days on Antarctica. I'm here to walk on the snow, see the ice wave, put an ice axe in my hand, crampons on my feet, and experience the cold.

This is not my tribe. I don't know what I was expecting, but I don't know why I wasn't expecting older people, less active people, eclipse people.

Houston to Santiago


Landed in Houston pretty much on time, and wandered to the nearest club lounge. Turns out, no, wrong one, you want the one closer to your departure gate. I was still uncertain if was in the correct lounge, so expressed the uncertainty to the front desk gatekeeper. Her demeanor was stiff to the point of hosility until she looked at my ticket, and saw that, indeed, I could be in the lounge. She was then very pleasant. The switch gave me discomfort whiplash.

I spent an hour in the lounge, mostly reading emails, and received a "suddenly filled with the feeling that you’re travelling with someone," response, which made me sad and immediately defensive, as I am now unable to have some solitude without triggering someone else's anxiety. I wish we hadn't ended up here, but since we are here, I'm embracing empathy and gratitude.

Close enough to the flight departure time, I walked over to the gate. A long line wound away from the gate, and my stomach dropped. Unsure what to expect, I walked to the front of the Group 1 line and asked the woman there if she knew what the long line from the gate podium was. She let me know that was where paperwork was being checked, the PCR results page and Chilean C19 vaccine passport document. The app showed status, if green, you're good to board.

Ah, anxiety dropped. I had my paperwork checked in Phoenix, I went to the back of the Group 1 line, and waited.

Shortly, a couple joined me in line, and made some comment that caused me to turn around, say hello, and ask, "You going to Antarctica?" "Yes! For the eclipse!" and we started chatting.

I had assumed they were going to the same location that I was going, but realized fairly quickly that they were not. They talked about the cruise they were going on, and yes, expected to see the eclipse. Ah. Not Union Glacier. We chatted a bit more about paperwork and such, and stopped talking as her anxiety jumped. She couldn't log into her app to check her documents status. He logged in and looked, she was fine, no no, she insisted, he was looking at his data, what about her paperwork? Not able to help them, I disengaged from the conversation and waited for boarding to start.

To my frustration, when boarding did start, I became caught up in the rush. The gate attendant had asked for the pre-boarding groups, but didn't announce it on the speaker, so when the line moved forward, I moved forward also. I hadn't realized the people in front of me were of the pre-boarding status. I was able to board with them, as the gate agent realized boarding me was going to be easier than having me step aside as the crowd surged behind me. While I was on the jetway, no one boarded after me, which was a bit disconcerting.

Turns out, the paperwork of the woman behind me in line had not been checked, and the boarding process had been blocked while she stepped out of line. I found this out later as the couple boarded later in the process. She was on the plane, and complaining loudly about the boarding process. The two of them bickered non-stop, she was kinda mean, and, according to her, he couldn't do anything right. Quite the couple. I mean, you're on the way to Antarctica to see an eclipse, and you're sitting in first class. The plane didn't leave without you. What is there to complain about?

Yeah, so, on a plane, on my way to Santiago. I am hoping to sleep for much of this flight.