Looking back at 2011, I know that for me it was a very good and eventful year, even if not everything that happened was good. After spending a week snowshoeing at Mistaya Lodge, high in the Canadian Rockies, I was forced to make the hard decision to put down my beloved Alaskan Malamute. A few weeks later I left for the Yukon to mush a dog team in the magnificent Tombstone Range, camping out in the snow, meeting wonderful people and getting very attached to my dogs. After that I sold my house and moved into a rented condo. In June I spent a month in Mongolia, horse trekking and touring; that country so won me over that I plan to return in 2013. I managed a few days at Shadow Lake Lodge in September, just in time for the golden larches to display their finest. Since then I’ve been taking riding lessons and riding as much as possible in preparation for a horse trek in Mexico in February. Unfortunately in early December my mother (97), fell twice and has been in hospital ever since. She will have to give up her apartment and move into a nursing home.
So now I face a new year that is already stressful. My next adventure to Patagonia and Mexico begins January 13, and before then I must move my mother’s belongings into storage, clear out her apartment, find a nursing home for her, deal with all the loose ends of her life, and find time for riding lessons, workouts with my trainer and daily visits to the hospital. Trying to conduct business in the week between Christmas and New Years was all but impossible, but at least I was able to pack for my trip.
One more big trip is on the horizon: dogsledding with the Thule Inuit in Greenland (late March, early April), followed by a short hop to Sweden to drive a dog team in Lapland and maybe spend a night at the Ice Hotel (though why I would do that after 10 days of sleeping in a tent on the sea ice in Greenland baffles me). Next summer I will spend another week at Mistaya Lodge (where the hiking is as good as the skiing and snowshoeing), do at least one multi-day backpacking trip in the Rockies, and possibly take a September horse trek in the Yukon. And, of course, I will also be planning my trips for 2013.
Is this a life on fast forward? Indeed yes. Each year brings me closer to the time when I will have to give up many of the activities I so love, even if illness or injury doesn’t stop me before age does. So I fill my days with dreams, plans and adventures, living in the present and future, not in memories.