But the past few months have been tough.
Sometimes it just happens that there is no opportunity to get away from the city to escape to wilder places. Whether it's a first magnitude spring in Florida or a New England peak high above treeline (or anything in between). That's what's happened the past few months--the chips have fallen in such a way that I've been unable to load my backpack or my trailer and take off for a while.
Mainly, it's been the 40-hour workweek that's kept me from getting away. Working for the Feds as I do, it's hard to string even two days in a row to get loose. I work five out of six Saturdays, with that weird rotating schedule that we have. The past six months have been among the worst for me in recent memory for being able to take off for a decent trip to parts unknown. I've been city-bound and there's not a thing I've been able to do about it.
Hiking the Black Mountain Crest Trail, Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina. Arguably the toughest hiking trail in the eastern USA.
But the novel that I labored over for more than a year is in my agent's hands. The current novel is well over halfway done and I can just cruise on auto-pilot until I write "The End" on the last page. Maybe by the end of March.
And then, by Jove, we'll be off. We have a full slate of vacations planned for 2009. In April it's to Florida to canoe the Suwannee River and snorkel in a host of first magnitude springs. A few weeks after that we'll be in the high country of southwestern Virginia to trek around the peaks and waterfalls. After that, it's a series of smaller trips until September when, at long, long, long, long last I will hit Yellowstone National Park and get a taste of what the American West has to offer.
And there's the possibility of taking early retirement if everything pans out. Some big things are happening on the literary front. We'll see.