Topic: Personal
At six o’clock on June 29, I will leave my office and not return until Monday, July 11. This will be my first vacation since my transition between jobs last summer, and the first time I’ve taken a day off since starting this job last July 27 — almost certainly my longest stretch at any job without giving in to the urge to take a mental health day. And though I love my job, I need a break.

I also need to get out of the city. Oh, how I need to get out of the city! Other than one weekend in DC this winter, I don’t think I’ve been beyond the city limits since Jenny’s sister got married in the spring of 2004.

This is where we’re going:

That’s Buena Vista Lake in Yosemite, which I believe may be cleaner even than the Gowanus Canal. I’ll be backpacking there with Jenny and my parents, brother and sister. I’m not entirely sure which trail we’ll be taking, but I think it’s the Buena Vista trail, which loops around Buena Vista peak. (Do you think there are good views?)

The last time I went backpacking was in 2002, in Nepal, where it’s called trekking, which makes it sound more badass than backpacking, though in fact it’s much simpler because you eat and sleep in trekking lodges (which, admittedly, vary from elegant, well-built hotels to trailside shacks).

And the last time I was in Yosemite? Well, that trip was interrupted by the events of September 11, 2001. Jenny and I were together, reunited after several months apart, and planning to enjoy a short backpack when we heard over the radio in the Glacier Point snack bar that the twin towers in Manhattan were simply gone. Unable to believe what we were hearing, we went ahead with our hike to the Point, fortunately before having seen the images of people tumbling to their deaths from the high floors of the towers. Then we drove down to Curry Village, where the staff had set up a couple of TVs and a crowd had gathered to watch, over and over, the horrifying images: the planes, the explosions, the towers collapsing, the New Yorkers running from the billows of white dust.

So this will be a return to nature and a return to Yosemite that are both long overdue. I don’t think even 9/11 has the power to taint Yosemite for me, but I’d like to go there and come back without there being an act of war against New York City while I’m away, just to make sure.