Too much to do, not enough time or money |

Too much to do, not enough time or money

The Sierra just has too much to offer. Between hiking, backpacking, cycling, rock climbing, kayaking, kite surfing, sailing, water skiing, fishing, snow skiing, Nordic skiing, snowboarding and ice climbing, there are just too many choices.

With only seven days in each week, five of those taken up by work, afternoons and weekends do not supply enough time to branch out and explore everything out there.

On a recent trip up to Eagle Falls above Emerald Bay, I noticed some climbers on 90-foot wall. “Now that sport looks fun,” I thought to myself. Clamber up vertical sheets of granite, climb to peaks inaccessible by hiking. The challenge alone of picking a route straight up a piece of rock using nothing more than your own strength captivated me.

“I could get into that,” I thought to myself.

As I walked back down to the car, thoughts of death-defying leaps and forearm-burning routes clinging in my head, I began to remember the beginning of last summer.

I had trekked down to the Reno River Festival and become enamored with whitewater kayaking. I tried it out a little, thought it was a blast and bought a used kayak at a garage sale.

I never once made it out on the river. It was the spray skirt that held me up.

I bought a used paddle for my boat, even found an old life jacket. But the spray skirt ” retail around $100 ” stopped me from ever really learning to Eskimo roll and allow myself into some whitewater.

Beside the price tag for all the gear I would need, daily mountain bike rides and regular weekend trips into the depths of Desolation Wilderness distracted me from any and all attempts to get out on the water in my secondhand boat.

Kite surfing came later that summer. As I lazed on the big blue shoreline of Kings Beach and watched surfers blast through the waves at the whim of sporty looking colorful kites flying in the powerful afternoon wind, I thought of my love for both sailing and snowboarding. “Now that looks like fun,” I thought.

But as I perused a retail Web site, the wind was stripped from my sails as I came across the high price tags for simple entry level kites and boards.

So as I hopped down over rocks back to the Emerald Bay parking lot, I thought about all the gear ” anchors, caribeaners, ropes, harnesses, shoes and helmets ” strapped to the two climbers I had just watched ascend the vertical natural wall.

My non-mathematical brain spun through calculations.

I looked back up toward the wall and picked out a route I could scramble up around the shear face that would lead me to the top.

So maybe I don’t have the time or money to try out everything. Maybe I can’t be an avid everything. Why not stick to what I’ve got. After all, I do enjoy hiking, biking, sailing, skiing, swimming …

Alex Close is a sportswriter for the Sierra Sun and the assistant editor of the Tahoe World. He may be reached at

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