It has been too long since I last seriously read John Muir. Senior year of high school to be exact, when I took one of my favorite classes ever, an English elective on Nature and Animals in American Literature. We all had a crush on the now yoga-teacher professor as she lead us through the relationship between man, woman and the natural world through films, books, hikes and more.
Check out my writing for the class (and my first blogging experience) here: http://lucasinthewild.blogspot.com/
Anyway, we read enough Muir in that class that I was hooked. As a person he was inspiring for his undying ability to live adventure, but also to stand up for the protection of nature that he believed in. He also has a damn fine way with words. The simplicity with which he portrays his comfort in the natural world is magnificent, and inspiring to such a wordy writer as myself.
The mountains are calling and I must go. John Muir
A quote so often used, it is only escaped becoming cliché because it is so charged and powerful. They resonate with me and the people I tend to like, those who feel the draw of mountains, the allure of the backcountry and the, if I dare say it, call of the wild.
I had this quote on my mind during the train ride from Milano to Tirano, and justly shut off all my technology and looked out the window. Its a glorious train ride - passing Lake Como and entering the Dolomiti. Each peak set off a surge of excitement as high as its craggy top. I was to spend at least a month in such a stunning landscape.
I must admit that it was more coincidence that my own cleverness that Muir was on my mind. As I headed for Bormio, many of my friends set off for Camp Tawonga, my home away from home, nestled in a serene valley just outside of Yosemite itself, a mere drive or hike from the majestic granite mountains that I've grown to love as much as Muir did. My path has diverged from the splendid summers at Tawonga - but it still remains an important place in my heart.
I may no longer have Tawonga and Yosemite as my summer home, but that train from Milan lead me somewhere equally awesome, the town of Bormio in the Dolimiti. I'm working for a hotel, taking guests on bike rides in the area. The rides are nothing short of epic, some of Europe's most legendary climbs are right out of our front door.
Names like Stelvio, Gavia and Mortirolo are commonplace here, as normal as Half Dome and Cloud's Rest back at camp. Fueled by pasta, espresso and gelato, some of the most fantastic ride in the world defines my life right now. Stay tuned to hear more.