What’s up with the Diamond?
One thought got me through the past year of grad school- the Diamond. In D.C., I’d steal an hour, hop the Metro to Earth Treks, jump rope to make the most of my 45 minute gym sesh, close my eyes and imagine I was hiking to the Diamond. I ran up every city stair I could find, hoping I could somehow maintain the cardio shape I’d gained over the summer in Colorado, conditioning that melted away each day. At the D.C. Metro stations, where you access each train by nauseatingly steep, long escalators, (D.C. Metro boasts two of the longest continuous escalators in the world-about 200 ft.) I’d run the whole way up while overworked government types would lean heavily on the black rubber banister and stare, or students yelling nonsense would stop mid-sentence and gape as I passed them. People commented occasionally, like, “Oh damn, that girl’s taking the stairs,” but mostly they just stared tiredly.
Washingtonians don’t mind working 14-hour days but take the stairs? Forget it. I lived on the fifth floor in BU housing on Connecticut Ave and I took the elevator twice—once to move in and once to move out. My classmates, even those in their early twenties, looked at me like I was crazy when I opted for the stairs. Most students took the elevator, even one flight up. I refused. The elevator was slow and old and cramped, the stairs were fast and fun. When did we become too good for stairs? When has physical activity become a chore rather than a gift?
Boulderites don’t have that problem. If anything, they exercise too much and don’t work enough. They exercise like New Yorkers make money and Washingtonians do politics. And now I’m one of them, again…
So, like a good Boulderite, I hiked up to Chasm Lake to assess conditions on the Diamond yesterday. It was a little gray and rained intermittently. Helicopters flew repeatedly to the summit for a rescue. By the time I got to Chasm Lake, the air was still and the thin gray, threatless clouds cleared. But my apres-hike relaxation was promptly interrupted by an aggressive marmot, with ratty fur and lumps, that was apparently starving. We hung out for a while until he tried to steal my raisins and I had to shoo him away, like 20 times. So I took some photos. The upside to habituated wildlife is you can get pretty good close-ups.