Unscripted – Introduction

There’s a script to life that tells you what to do, when to do it, what to say and how to interact with others. It is society’s script of social norms. 

The script is a bit like a milepost guide to interstate exits, only it details life stages instead of restaurants and accommodation. 

If you stick to the script and travel along the freeway of life, your road is well-defined and engineered by all those who have passed through before. 

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Beyond Bananas – Conclusion

I like the stories with happy endings. Or the ones that end up being a start in a series. You know, like when Police Academy 2 was better than the original movie. Never mind about movies 3-6 or 7, of course! I also like stories where the end is really the beginning.

And so Beyond Bananas is coming to an end. There will be no more weekend rides or day rides. 

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Beyond Bananas – The thirteener

7/8 September 2022

Starting elevation: 9606 feet; Highest elevation: 13,651 feet (4161 metres)

Distance: 8 miles? on foot

Dawn is coming soon. First light has arrived and the sky is no longer illuminated only by the almost-full moon. Off to the east, the sun is shooting up rays that are about to reach the horizon. 

But it’s still dark down here in Hoffman Park at about 11,500 feet. The sky overhead says ‘first light’, but down below the ridge, everything says, ‘why the heck are you up so early’?

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Beyond Bananas – In the clear on the Continental Divide

18 August 2022 (21st anniversary of moving to Oz)

13.something miles.

Starting elevation 8930 ft. High point 11,970 ft.

First light is back there somewhere. Its dim illumination of earth had just started to spread over the Arkansas Hills as we headed west. But the light has not reached this cleft in the mountains yet. It is dark and moist and COLD. It was only 42F when we left the house, and we are about 1000 feet higher here. 

Still, I’m moving quickly up through the thick forest, each crunchy foot fall drawing me higher.  It’s 6am when my dad drops me off at the trailhead. And it’s 6.15 now as I follow Fooses Creek uphill.  I’ve got a couple miles to walk up a rocky track before the trail proper starts. Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!

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Beyond Bananas – Hitting the trails

3, 9, 12, 17 August

Like all parents, mine indoctrinated me. They planted the seeds. They fertilised the seeds.

They took my brother and me hiking on many Sundays in our youth. When our friends and family were in church pews in Bible Belt Indiana, our family was out hiking the trails of the state parks of Indiana.

My brother and I would race ahead, sweating and swatting bugs in the humidity of summer or kicking through thick leaves in fall. We were always instructed to wait at the signposts at the next trail junction. When our parents caught up, my Dad would unfold the map and show us where we were and where we could go.

This all helped to instill in me a love of maps and the great outdoors. (It didn’t really stick for my brother)!

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Beyond Bananas – Rides and Hikes Around Salida

July/August 2022

10-20 miles or so at a time on the bike – 3-14 miles or so at a time on foot

I sat around. I hung out with my parents. It was slow and sedentary for that first month in America. It was okay, I had used a whole lot of energy in May and June wrapping up work and that section of life. A bit of rest and relaxation was in order.

But then… that level of couch potato was just too much. I have energy again. I want to use it. And I want to build a little bit of fitness, so that jumping on the bike when I get back to Oz is not quite so painful in those first weeks. Plus, people come to places like this for ‘high altitude’ training. Let’s take advantage of that.

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Beyond Bananas – Colorado Trail – Avalanche Trailhead

18 July 2022

6 miles on foot – elevation gain >3000 ft – end elevation a bit under 12,000 ft

I’d like to say we dove straight in the deep end, but that would suggest that we went down. And we definitely didn’t go down. At least not at first.

The trail went up, not down. In fact, it was a whole lot of up. Like 3000 ft of climbing in 3 miles. And my dad and I had not done much hiking at elevation prior to the hike. It will end up being the hardest hike in elevation change we’ll do together in my time in Colorado – and it was our first hike!

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Explosive… or not

29 June 2022

13,000 kms or so

The climb out of town was steep at first before moderating. The dam wall, the sparkling waters of the dam, and the snow-capped peaks of the ranges around Mt Bogong far behind the dam were perfectly framed. You could make postcards out of scenes like that. And after the longest stretch of cold, grey and wet days to start winter that I’ve ever experienced in Oz, a sunny, cool day with gorgeous views was much appreciated.

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