Why Climb Mountains?

 

 

Rope team ascending Mt Ancohuma in Bolivia
Rope teams on Ancohuma in the Bolivian Andes

Cross the creek,
And climb the peak.
Forever seek,
The high ground.

Above the clouds,
The mountains rule,
Clear skies command,
And life expands.

So, kneel before the throne,
And kiss the summit’s hand,
See true majesty exert itself,
Upon the boundless land.

Audio Version:

Golden Lake in the Wind River Range of Wyoming
The Wind River Range, Wyoming

Candy Bars on Mt. Hunter… Revisited

 

Climbers out on the Kahiltna Glacier near Mt. Hunter
The Kahiltna Glacier near Mt. Hunter

I now concede that it was undoubtedly the five candy bars I ate in celebration of successfully getting down and across the avalanche debris field that caused the distress. I should’ve known better, but for various reasons, it’d seemed like a good thing to do at the time. At least, I reasoned once back at home; the whole thing had taught me a good lesson.

The fateful event happened like this…….

Continue reading “Candy Bars on Mt. Hunter… Revisited”

A Way of Giving Thanks

The Tarryalls

Embrace the time and place,
That puts a smile upon your face.

Wallow in it,
Soak it up,
Savor the moment,
Pour it in your cup.
Plant the vision in your mind,
Tell the story to remind.

The memories don’t have to disappear,
Or become less clear.

For me, I still….

Feel the river jostling my canoe as I marvel at the sunrise over the Del   Carmens.

Ponder the quiet of the Tarryall Mountains as I lean against a rock on the top of Bison.

Taste the Tuna Surprise we ate on Mount Borah.

Am amazed by the midnight sun as it finally begins to set over the Kahiltna   Glacier.

Hear the Popo Agie River roaring while I search for a good place to camp.

Feel the flow of the Puke Loop when I finally point my bike downward.

Make the right combination of moves near the top of the Rock Staircase.

Turn my eyes away from the blowing wind and snow as I near the top of       Huayna Potosi.

See the Milky Way come to life as I look up from my bivouac in the Winds.

Walk to the cadence of the Semana Santa drums in Copper Canyon.

Smell the campfire telling me how to get back.

Each instant a wonder,
A tale of its own.
Remember and treasure,
Help it be known.

 

Audio Version:

Ecuador

Remembering

People, places,
Visions, and faces.
Pictures, stories,
And skimpy traces.

Thoughts, dreams,
And blurry schemes.
Memories, tales,
And forgotten trails.

Colors, voices,
And always choices.
Before, after,
And often laughter.

Luck, mistakes,
Clear alpine lakes.
Gushing fountains,
And foggy mountains.

Breathing hard,
And hardly breathing.
Winning, losing,
Always amusing.

Hard, easy,
And sometimes queasy.
Win, lose,
And one time wheezy.

Upward, downward,
Often inward.
Planning, hoping,
Incessant coping.

Bluebird days,
And starry nights.
Scary heights,
And distant lights.

Peaceful summits,
Windblown meadows.
Forgotten canyons,
Where no one goes.

Hot and thirsty,
Cold and dry.
Frozen toe,
And sweaty eye.

Lost and found,
And outward bound.
Profound, astound,
At times renowned.

So many moments,
All melted together,
And frozen in time.

Audio Version:

Hike a Bike on the Silver Trail

Swan Song

 

The light emerges

Early morning,
New day awakes.
Sights and sounds,
Sunrise astounds.

The night would like to linger,
But all to no avail.
Late gives way,
And darkness fades,
The stars begin to pale.

A glow erupts,
Rocks and forest and grass appear.
All eyes look up and anticipate,
The coming of the sphere.

Wispy clouds turn red and orange,
The heavens seem afire.
But clear skies soon will overwhelm,
When full sun takes the helm.

Ghostlike forms of deer and rabbits,
Squirrels and bats,
And wily cats.
Streak past as they flee the night,
As though to hide from certain light.

It’s almost dawn,
The grass is wet.
Turkey’s gobble,
But no orb yet.

Then suddenly in the eastern sky,
There it is.
The Sun ascends,
The day is nigh.

All is new,
And hope awaits.
Then magically,
Life celebrates.

And to think it happens every day,
No matter what we do or say.
So, in the morning look to the sky,
Your slate is clean, just wonder why.

Audio Version: 

Moments

For a fleeting instant,
Light overcomes the shadows,
And provides a glimpse of life.

A sliver of trail that begins at your door,
Hawks that glide and soar.
Rivers flowing past,
And sometimes moving fast.

Mountains rise so high,
And fill the noontime sky.
A herd of Elk grazing above the tree line,
Alpine meadows bathed in sunshine.

Aspen trees quaking in the breeze,
Views that bring you to your knees.
Deserts, seem so hot and dry,
But full of life and lots of sky.

Snow blowing in your eyes,
Wolves talking through their cries.
Canyon layers of many hues,
Some greens, some browns, but mostly blues.

Horizons full of pines,
Boundaries without lines.
Alpine lakes too clear for fishing,
Mountain tops to inspire wishing.

Gray clouds building in the west,
Eagles landing on a nest.
Campfire burning, but no smoke,
With lots of coals you want to poke.

Rock cliffs split by many cracks,
Paths crossed by coyote tracks.
Trees bending with each gust,
A Beaver dam that you once cussed.

So many moments,
Each a crumb of the feast.

Audio Version:

Summit Day

Nearing the summit

Time to go,
The summit calls.

It’s way before sunrise,
No time have I slept.
It’s early, I’m tired,
That fact I accept.

I turn on my Headlamp,
To light up the tent.
Then fire up the stove,
To melt snow’s the intent.

I boil the water,
Must eat and hydrate.
And fill water bottles,
The coffee can wait.

Eat some oatmeal,
Oats and honey,
Find my sunglasses
It’s gonna be sunny.

I put on my bibs,
Inside sleeping bag.
Then finally crawl out,
But don’t lollygag.

I lace up my boots,
My fingers are numb,
I wonder if,
I have a right thumb.

Then out of the tent,
And into the morning.
Wind slaps my bare cheeks,
I think it a warning.

I look to the sky,
The stars overwhelm,
I’m taken aback,
I see a new realm.

So much to do,
And I’m feeling small.
Cold breeze makes me shiver,
I’m hitting a wall.

I fumble with gear,
Crampons, and rope,
My stomach is churning,
I think I’m a dope.

Then just at that moment,
Off to the east,
A full moon rises.
And backlights the peak.

The sight of the mountain
Is of no surprise.
It reminds me
Just why I am there, I surmise.

A warm energy of sorts,
Flows into my veins,
And melts away,
My various pains.

Enthralled and excited,
I rise to the task,
Put on my crampons,
And pull down my mask.

I tie into the rope,
Then take a first step.
No longer feeling
Cold or inept.

Darkness eventually succumbs to the sun.
The mountains awaken,
Each second to none.

Ridges and couloirs,
Faces and shoulders.
Headwalls and passes,
Crevasses and boulders.

A world full of stories,
That change with the time.
This morning I fretted,
But now I just climb.

Audio Version: 

Summit Day

Nighttime Revisited

on the Glacier

The night was long and restless. He was cold inside his sleeping bag even though the three of them had worked so hard to make things cozy. And then, there was the wind. It blasted the tent relentlessly, and he was worried about getting blown off the ridge. “What would that be like,” he tried to imagine? There was no actual sleep for him. But there was a sort of vigilant grogginess. While his body was mostly still, his mind actively raced in a frenzy of hyperactive speculation. He was uncomfortable, and the situation was damn near depressing. But thankfully, he wasn’t outside climbing toward the summit- yet. That would happen soon enough.

Continue reading “Nighttime Revisited”

Borders

 

Alpine Peak Ascent

No boundaries here,
Just rocks and snow,
And brutal gales,
That often blow.

There’s cold and rivers
That give you shivers.
And desert heat,
That can’t be beat.

You’ll sink in mud,
Wade many creeks,
Cross deep canyons,
And struggle up peaks.

The drizzle and rain
Will drive you insane.
Cold and numbness
Will mess with your brain.

Mountains will block you,
Jungles will hide you,
Crevasses confound you,
And dryness astound you.

Without a doubt,
There will be dirt,
Thirst, and hunger-
And sometimes hurt.

But,

After the summit,
It’s all downhill.
You’ll snooze and cruise
And know the thrill.

Of facing hardships
That come your way,
And dealing with them,
Come what may.

If you persevere and reach
Whatever goal it is you seek,
You’ll soon forget the pain and strife,
That took you up that mighty peak.

So,

Take on each challenge,
And don’t give-in,
Move always forward,
Become the wind.

Audio Version: 

 

Hike-a-Bike

Trail Supper

Copper Canyon Trail Supper

Out on the trail,
Leaning against a rock,
Cooking supper, and
Watching the water boil.

I’m hungry,
But have to wait.
And so,
I feast on tales.

We begin with a story
About noodling for Catfish.
Which seamlessly leads to
A discussion of Black Holes.
And then, there’s a description
Of how to set a cedar fence post
In rocky ground.

The lasagna will take 20 more minutes,
But no worries…….
Because there’s plenty more food for thought,
Waiting to be had.

Further proof
that dessert,
Is often
Best eaten first.

Audio Version:

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