Dirtbag Envy: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

AJWs TaproomAhhh! Midsummer!

The days are long; the trails are clear of snow, mud, and other detritus; and ample places are available to park my truck for long nights’ sleeps. These are the days that professional ultrarunners live for. These days make the photos more lucid and the videos more dynamic. These are the days that make my life worth living.

But, alas, these are not the days I live…

As much as I love to live vicariously through the hearts of the 21st century social-media crazed Beat poets who spend their days tagging peaks, their afternoons soaking in icy mountain rivers, their evenings swilling after-market IPAs, and their nights sleeping under the stars, my reality as the ultrarunning version of Willy Loman is quite different.

Sure, I spend a couple weeks a year and several-thousand dollars in a rented minivan with my friends and family exploring the mountain West. My family and I enjoy long dreamy nights camping by babbling brooks and deeply satisfying days in the mountains but that is what we do when we escape from the rest of our lives. That is what we do to get away, to enjoy a bit of time savoring the wonder of nature in the midst of otherwise hectic, over-scheduled, busy lives. That is what we do to make the rest of our lives worth living.

It is not, however, what our lives are!

And that is what I admire and respect about these modern day vagabond dirtbags. These folks who drift from race to race, mountain to mountain, campground to campground. In the absence of small annoyances like jobs, mortgages, student loans, and car payments, these folks can truly ‘run free.’ They can control their lives on their terms and do what they love, day after day, as long as they want to. They truly are, living the dream.

So, for all of you who have dirtbag envy on this midsummer night, this one’s for you!

Bottoms up!

Stone Brewing Company RuinTenAJW’s Beer of the Week

This week’s Beer of the Week comes from a Taproom favorite, Stone Brewing Company in San Diego, California. Just a few weeks ago they re-released their RuinTen. A Double IPA modeled after their original Ruination DIPA which, as far as anyone can tell, was the first-ever American DIPA released back in 2002. It still packs a wallop just as it did 12 years ago.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Do you have dirtbag envy right now, like AJW? If even for just a moment, do you wish you were sleeping under the stars, traveling from trailhead to trailhead on your own whims?
  • For most of us who don’t live the dirtbag life, what part of the lifestyle do you not particularly wish for? Or, what part of your life would you have a hard time giving up to live as a dirtbag?

There are 10 comments

  1. mbutler77

    Boy do I ever envy the dirtbags! I guess my full-time dirtbag dreams will have to wait until retirement. Planning our first family trip out West next summer. Curious AJW…Do you rent a standard minvan or a campervan?

    1. TrailTan

      Coffee shops near popular dirtbag climbing grounds serve up exactly these two things. They like the plumbing, too.

  2. Runhomepam

    Life's trade offs. Being a mid-lifer with husband and kids, I also dream of escaping to the mountains alone or with a merry band of like-minded adventurers. But I know I'd miss my family. Viscerally. I'd miss them enough to ruin the whole thing. So for now the two week adventures are nectar. Fuel for the road ahead….

  3. Max

    Some dream of expensive cars, private parking spots, and large houses. Others dream of a worn out sleeping bag, beat up shoes, and quite literally not a care in the world.

  4. Hans_D

    I too have dirtbag envy and sometimes I wish I had spent more time as a dirtbag. However, as I type this I'm watching my 4 year old daughter fall asleep after a full day of play and I instantly know I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I commit myself to continue to slowly get her used to spending time on the trails and in the mountains and hopefully we will soon share long days and nights just the two of us bagging peaks and valleys. And maybe just maybe one day our little family of three will be brave enough to say goodbye to our safe little world and go and live as dirtbags for a while.

Post Your Thoughts