Everyone has reset buttons.
Those reset buttons can be very different for different people. And people can have more than one reset button.
For some people it may be having a nice evening with a small group of friends, chatting about life and enjoying good company.
For some people, this is one of my own reset buttons, it’s being alone for a while, not interacting with another human being, just hanging out with Rudy and reading, writing, or watching a TV show, and recharging my social battery.
For some people it’s turning up on a Friday night, slamming shots with friends and hitting the dance floor.
Luckily, there’s one reset button that Amber and I both share, and that’s being outside and enjoying nature. Preferably on a mountain, no matter how big or how small, with trees around us, and a great view at the top.
For the first time in about a month and a half, Amber and I finally got to hit that reset button as we hiked one of our favorite, and most convenient, hiking locales.
This was our third time hiking Kamiak Butte in 2017, and most likely won’t be our last. The first time we hiked it this year was potentially the most beautiful hike I’ve ever been on, with the only competition being my Multnomah Falls, Oregon hike in early May.
That first Kamiak Butte hike of the year was the first weekend of January, and pristine snow blanketed the Butte, the entire Palouse, and pretty much all of the Pacific Northwest. Since the Palouse’s first snowfall around the first of December, it had stayed below freezing all month long, meaning we hadn’t had a melt, and more snow had piled up. That particular January morning the temperature was a whopping 7 degrees Fahrenheit.
With mostly clear skies and calm winds, that hike was absolutely breathtaking, a true winter wonderland, even though much of the hike was trudging through snow that was up to our hips in some spots.
Our second Kamiak Butte hike came in March, just as the Palouse was starting to wake up after a long and cold winter. Green growth was just returning to the fields, however the Butte had not had enough warmth to really take off growing yet. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful hike as well.
I had hoped to make it up again in May or early June when the spring green on the Palouse was at its most vibrant, but we never got the chance between working and moving from Pullman to Moscow. Late spring is the most beautiful season on the Palouse in my opinion, and it’s a shame that so many people who attend college at WSU and UI never see it in this state of lush, green, vibrant life, and only associate it with the golden ambers of the Fall, which is also beautiful in its own right.
Nonetheless, we finally made it this past weekend, and witnessed the beauty the Palouse has to offer as we head into the dog days of summer.
We got there around 9:30am, beating the worst of the heat. Given our Irish and Scandinavian roots, and in turn very pale skin tones, we slapped on some sunscreen once we got to the top of the Butte and the sun started beating down on us. The low 80’s temperature was comfortable, but with my shirt off, if I hadn’t had the sunscreen on, I would have looked like Hellboy the next day.
The prairie grass that blankets the Butte on its south face had already turned into a golden yellow, contrasting with the green pine trees and undergrowth that slowly increases in numbers as you move to the north face of the Butte, which is made up of forest.
On our hike, we jumped from topic to topic, endorphins rushing through us as we soaked in nature for the first time in what seemed like forever. Our batteries were recharging as we scaled across the Butte toward the west.
Amber discussed how she felt as if a weight had lifted off her shoulders, and that she had been feeling a bit trapped and stir crazy with our lives the past two months.
Not that we hadn’t been busy. Quite the opposite. We’d either been in the process of moving into our new house or out on the road every weekend for the past two months, but although we’d been on the move, we’d felt a bit trapped. Trapped in our plans, trapped on the go, lacking the freedom to wake up “late” on a Saturday, jump in the pickup and take a dirt road to go on a nice four mile hike.
Lacking freedom of choice. Freedom to do whatever the fuck we wanted to do for a change.
That’s not to say that these past two months haven’t been great in their own right. We got moved into a new (old) house, which is very exciting. We’ve gotten to spend a ton of time with family, which has been amazing. We got to go on a beautiful boat ride on Coeur d’Alene Lake, which was breathtaking, and something to aspire toward being able to do on our own in the future. And we adopted an adorable little Texas Heeler puppy (half Blue Heeler half Australian Shepherd) that Rudy isn’t too sure about still.
It’s not about not valuing what we’ve been doing the past two months.
It’s about slowing everything down for a moment, and hitting “reset”.
There’s something reinvigorating and inspiring about stepping into a wild place. There are places that are far wilder than Kamiak Butte (such as the Indian Creek Hike we went on in June), but it represents a little slice of nature right in our own backyards.
It was just what the two of us needed to get ready for the next two months, which don’t look like they’ll offer much more peace and quiet than the last two have. We’ll be in Seattle for a Mariners game soon, I’ll be off in Everett for a work conference, Amber will be working two jobs until she begins her Master’s in Teaching program in late August, right at the same time I’ll be starting a class at WSU. And then, September we’ll run the gauntlet of WSU’s five home football games jam-packed into one month, and we’ll both be working each of those games.
In turn, we will cherish this past weekend and the peaceful Saturday morning we were able to enjoy, because there’s currently no end in sight…
But, you know what they say, being busy is better than being bored. And we’ll have plenty to keep us busy.
Have a great week everyone, and keep sending good vibes the Mariners’ way, they’re right in the thick of the Wildcard race. Go M’s!!