18 January 2014

Who Needs Passengers? Another Life Epiphany

I've come to learn throughout my travels that the open road posses healing powers one isn't aware of until you find yourself putting rubber to pavement on your way to your next chapter in life or next adventure. Despite how physically draining they were, I look back on my 6 cross-country drives with nostalgia and appreciation. My drive's allowed for contemplation on questions that had plagued my life with uncertainty and anxiety. The most important similarity of all of my drives was the fact that they were all done by myself. I was free of the obligation to talk to another human being when I was behind the wheel which allowed me to spend as much time as I wanted thinking to myself. I started off dreading my 30-36 hour drives that lay before me but eventually came to not only enjoying them but needing them in my life. My stationary life over the past 4 years has kept me from changing multiple time zones in one trip but I do manage to pick up and roll out across the Appalachia for a few hours with no other intent but to wonder. Immortalized in the words of Tolkien, "not all who wonder are lost..."

With that rambling aside, my recent trip to Tremblant, Quebec opened my eyes to another truth that wasn't immediately self-evident to me: my road trips have to be alone. For the first time in a long time, I embarked on a long road trip with 3 other people in tow. What was even more spectacular for me in regards to the trip was the fact that I wasn't the one driving nor was I in my own car. I attempted to give the reigns to someone else for once and instill trust into not only the driver delivering me to Tremblant but into the other 2 in the car that they would respect my need for quiet and introversion on an 11 hour drive. After all, these times on the road have proved sacred to me...surely my friends can respect that. By hitting the road at 0200 I was destined to some quiet time to myself. The trip itself, at Mont Tremblant Ski Resort, was spectacular. One thing I found interesting as far as how my mind and personality works was the fact that I continually returned to the hot tub. I found that despite being surrounded by good friends, my being in a foreign country (despite the fact that it borders America, Quebec definitely is a foreign country to some), I was still drawn to meet new people and socialize. The resort hot tub proved over and over again to be the meeting place for those not acquainted with one another.

The drive back was a different story. After spending 7 days of being over whelmed with the close proximity of others, I was ready for a little introversion. I defintiely did not find it on the drive back. I do not blame my friends and I would never take someone talking to me for granted, but if I were driving by myself I would have most likely been silent the 11 hours on the way home. All the while during the trip, I had moments of anxiety over the fact that I had zero control over a means of transportation while I was there. If I was having an urge to get away from people for a bit, I wouldn't have been able to disappear into Parc National Tremblant as easily as I could have. I wouldn't be able to make detours as often as needed to satisfy my curiosity. I was subject to the driver's speed, the driver's demeanor, the driver's music. I was truly a passenger. And I did not like it one bit.

I have a 10 hour drive into the Adirondacks coming up. For the trip, an organized one, I had listed that I had room for one more person. I'm now having major second thoughts with that decision. Regardless, I know I am not going anywhere without driving myself and definitely without the stipulation that I be allowed at least half the trip without talking. Guess I'll be driving alone anyways.

31 August 2013

GoPro Camera

My adventures out west were mired with camera follies. From losing them while backcountry skiing, to ruining them by dropping them into sand, to them getting stolen. Some of my best memories are from my time spent in the American west so naturally it kills me that I don't have photographs of memories I want to share and relive. Anyways my lack of photographs from my recreating and exploring the west is what spawned my interest in adventure photography that's alive today.

Today I made an impulse buy and purchased a GoPro camera. It wasn't cheap at all but I have grandiose plans for it. Climbing, skiing, road tripping, doing stupid things, the list goes on. What I'm really excited about more than anything is creating memories with Maleigha. I'm looking forward to what Parenting+creativity+fun+Gopro will equal. Im flying to see her for a couple days in Sept. With her being in Kindergarten our time is limited and very precious. I'll be sure not to miss (nor will my Gopro) a single second of it.

26 August 2013

Yeah yeah, it's been a while. Here's a recap on the past couple of years.

First and foremost, Maleigha is big! My little girl is 5 year old now and in Kindergarten. I last saw her in June and plan on seeing her again in September (which reminds me I missed a Skype date with her due to a busy night at the fire station last night). It has become harder and harder being this far away from her as the years go on. Not only have I fallen in love with her all over again, I've fallen in love with Boise, the city that took me in when I was in my own personal dark place after my father died. For now, I'll have to bide my time and make the most of my trips out west. I am incredibly greatful for how technology has kept us together and how it has allowed her mother and I to stay more easily in touch. Email, Skype, Facebook, Paypal, even facetime through our iphones and ipads have all been put to great use ensuring that we make the best of my distance between my daughter and I. It's been a wonderful experience but I'm constantly thinking of a future where M is only a 15 minute drive away.

I have reached an incredible milestone that has been a dream of mine for 8 years. I finally finished Paramedic school and became a Nationally Registered Paramedic. Even though a lot of people thought I was crazy for doing it, I decided to bight the bullet and complete a fast-paced, semester-long Intermediate to Paramedic bridge program hosted by Prince George's Community College in Largo, MD about an hour away from where I live and work.  Between classes and clinicals, I was averaging 350 miles a week in my car just for the sake of class. In the end I was plenty burned out. Walking away from the National Registry test site, however, was a relief. It never sunk in right away, though, which I always thought was strange considering how big of a deal it was too me. I was finally able to call myself a Paramedic. I no longer had to explain to people what an EMT-Intermediate was or the difference between and EMT-Intermediate and a Paramedic. A dream had come true for me but I still found myself (still do to this day every once in a while) pinching myself to see if it's real.

I'm enjoying a fun and comfortable career with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire & Rescue Department. While attendign Paramedic school, I precepted as a medic which was a pretty fun experience. It was a great feeling that have the back of your crew/shift while undertaking such an endeavour. It went by pretty quickly too (3 months). Shortly after getting released as a medic, I completed the Paramedic bridge program I was taking, completed the National Registry exam, and submitted for and received my Virginia Paramedic certification which allowed me to promote up to the rank of Fire Medic. Working for an employer that provided me so much support towards achieving these goals has really made a huge difference in my life. Not a shift goes by where I don't wake up in the morning happy to go to work. For the most part, I forget that I'm even at work while I'm on duty. I couldn't be any luckier to be able to have such an outlook on life and my job.

12 October 2012

Return from a hiatus?

I'll start this blog entry with the same disclaimer as the last few entries and say that I've been severely neglecting this journal. My life has changed a decent bit. I'm starting to feel older which I have noticed has changed the way I think, treat people, and look at the world. Now, before you lambast me for my choice of words I will first admit happily that I'm 27. However I do see a huge difference in Todd Bevans now and Todd Bevans at 22 when I first embarked for Idaho and Antarctica. For one, I long for my estranged daughter. I long to move away from DC. I've noticed my personality and attitude have changed for the worse (I've become more moody and angry). I want to live somewhere that has a lifetime supply of mountains to explore. I've also been romanticizing the idea of settling down with someone.

I've had a preoccupation with death for quite sometime now. No, I'm not suicidal. However, I've spent a lot of time contemplating what it meant to me and how it has changed me via several deaths I'll never forget: my father's mother, my first dog, my father himself, my uncle, Andrew Palmer from the Dutch Creek Incident, various other deaths that hit very close to home in the wildland community, and a few others. When I first started this blog I hoped to take it down a path much like other climbers and adventurers. For now this blog will remain a target for my venting and frustrations. I welcome whomever has the audacity to admit that they actually following my writings and provide me with a (constructive) counter-argument or agreement. Of course I'll document my trips, random musings, and events. After all this is where I do most f my learning anyways...

21 August 2011

Vacation - Morocco Finally

The waning days of summer are here. Soon it will be September which brings the start of fall, one of my favorite seasons. The summer has been very non-exciting for me. I spent most of it slaving over school work and an absurd amount of overtime (voluntary albeit) at work. The overtime has paid off, however, because I'm departing on a two week trip to The Netherlands and Morocco on 25 Aug.

A friend of mine I met in the Cook Islands back in 2009 on my way back from McMurdo/NZ invited me to his birthday part where he lives in Rossum, NL. I didn't really think about it and just nonchalantly agreed to come. It just so happened that the day of his party fell within my vacation block I had set aside to attend Burning Man for this year. Back in July when I decided to do this trip I thought hard as to what I should do with the remainder of the time I had and could allot. I decided to try to resurrect a trip I had originally planned back in 2008 post-Antarctica to Morocco for the sake of climbing. So I figure from the 31st or the 1st to 7 Sep I'll spend tooling around Morocco with the hopes of finding vagabond climbers to hook up with which will give me plenty of time to make it back to Madrid by 9 Sep to fly back to Dulles. Anyways, 4 days and counting till I leave for a much needed vacation.

16 April 2011

A Saturday Ruined By Rain

I have a horrible habit of not checking the weather on a regular basis...especially considering my hobbies and line of work. Today I was planning on heading to Maryland Heights to climb throughout the afternoon. I woke up at about 1100 this morning to a shit load of rain and a lot of howling wind. So much for climbing. Instead I'm taking the time to facebook stalk some friends and organize the heap(s) of shit I've yet to sort out since I moved back home from Ashburn in February. My climbing equipment, camping equipment, cold weather outerwear, books, papers, etc are all mixed together in various storage bins which I have to make a rhyme or reason out of.

From Blogger Pictures

From Blogger Pictures

I have a lot of work to do as you can see. I probably should get off blogger and get started...

Forced Hiatus from Blogger

Note: for some reason my computer would not log onto blogger. I'm going to try to post post-dated entries on here over the next week or so.

16 January 2011

Ice Climbing Road Trip - Day 2

Bob and I had discussed an early wake up the night before about an hour or more before the showdown in our hostel room. He had wanted to wake up at 0600. I was hoping for a little bit later wake up call. Despite my subtle protests we decided on a 0600 wake up. To my surprise I awoke around 0700 still plenty tired and sore from the day before. We quickly packed and headed to a local diner in New Paltz for breakfast. With New Paltz being a quick jaunt off of I-87, we were quickly on the road heading for the Catskills Mountains. Our destination which we had discussed over breakfast was to be Stoney Clove located near Phoenicia, NY off of NY 214. Although a very quick drive, once we got off of the interstate, the drive up 28 and onto 214 became quite scenic. NY Rt 28 skirts the western border of Catskills Park which, much like the rest of the area at this time of year, was speckled yet covered in some spots with snow. Ice flows of all shapes and sizes lined several parts of the road:

From Miscellaneous Climbing and Hiking

When we drove through Phoenicia and turned on to Rt 214 we could notice a large cloud dumping snow on the exact area on which we were to be climbing. I'm not sure how Bob was feeling but I was ecstatic about the enjoyable misery of postholing through powder on the side of a mountain to climb some ice.

From Miscellaneous Climbing and Hiking

The drive from New Paltz to Notch Lake where we were to park took about an hour. We were hiking well before 0900. Despite it snowing and howling, once in the tree line it wasn't bad at all. Albeit steep, the hike was relatively easy. There wasn't as much snow as we had though on the hill side and there was already a trail blazed by various other parties that had visited the ice over the course of the winter.

From Miscellaneous Climbing and Hiking

From Miscellaneous Climbing and Hiking

From Miscellaneous Climbing and Hiking

Still hurting from the day before I passed the reins to Bob who led the first climbs of the day. The ice was rock solid and full of pockets thanks to a solid season of climbing. The sound of Bob's and my tools sinking in the ice was quickly absorbed by the falling snow. What most people don't know about snow is that the normally hollow structure of snow flakes is what makes snow falling so peaceful to us. Each individual flake does its part to absorb all the white noise we don't usually notice and take for granted. When said noise is not there, we're left with the peace and tranquility that snowfall and snowy landscapes usually bring with them. After a few hours of climbing, the skies attempted to clear and did so succesfully a few times.

From Miscellaneous Climbing and Hiking

From Miscellaneous Climbing and Hiking

I followed Bob for most of the day. My arm was screaming but I didn't let it stop me from climbing. The ice had been used so much over the winter that I spent most of my time hooking versus actually swinging my tools. There were several climbing areas at the top of the particular mountain we had hiked. We started off at an area called Sun Wall which proved to be a very easy WI2/3 in rating. We moved up the valley to an area called The Playground which ended up being a little bit more difficult than Sun Wall. We kept moving our way across the slope and up the valley until we started to get tired and the skies darkened again. The climbs had two things in common that worked against us the entire day: 1) topping out of the climbs required negotiating almost 5 feet of muddy grass and tree roots. Every climb, which we later found out this to be notorious of Catskills ice climbs, the ice ended just short of the top which led to very interesting finishes of the climbs. 2) Each sections of ice were separated by a deceivingly long and almost alpine traverse through thigh-deep snow. Enter the postholing. A couple times we thought about belaying each other in between the climbs only to sack up and pray we didn't fall in the end. The mountain side was even steeper in between the climbs and being 800 feet above the base made for a long glissade (slide) through a bunch of trees that didn't look at all fun to hit.

The last climb of the day ended up being a two pitch climb due to an incredibly steep hike (70 degrees!) up a snowy/ice slope to another mini-ampitheatre of ice Bob and I decided to forgo climbing. It was nearly 4 PM, it was getting late, and Bob had a Jets game to watch shortly. We decided to rap off a tree back to the base of the climb in order to start down climbing back to 214.

From Miscellaneous Climbing and Hiking

After an hour and a half of scraping my crampons on shitty ice and rock or down climbing small sections of vertical ice, we finally made it down to 214 about 3/4 of a mile up the valley from Bob's car. Tired and sore, we packed up and headed back to Phoenicia to get dinner and watch the game. We left by 2000 and drove back to New Paltz where we spent the rest of the evening hanging our rope, outerwear, and climbing gear in order to let it dry only to pass out by 2200.