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

Elk in the Mosquito Range… Revisited

The Colorado Rockies

There must’ve been close to 100 elk filling the valley below me, and I was astounded. I didn’t want to do anything to call attention to myself, so I just sat there quietly, peering over the boulder from afar. It was some sort of luck or fate that put me in that right place and at the right time because getting into a position to see a big bunch of wild animals was not one of my goals for that day.

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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…….

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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

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:

The Night Hike

Sunset

Into the night,
Intently gaze,
And while you do,
A mystery plays.

There were 9 teenagers in Will’s group. He was sure of it. He knew each of them by both their name and quantity of snacks they possessed. They’d been backpacking in the boonies for 10 days and he’d headcounted them a bunch of times. Making sure everyone was accounted for, was one of his prime responsibilities as the group leader. The nine kids and two leaders made for a total group size of 11, a fact engrained in his mind.

Continue reading “The Night Hike”

Mountain

 

Mountain

Last light,
First light,
And the North Face
Begins to smile.

Magic moment,
Brilliantly bright,
Summit shines,
In all its might.

Suddenly, abruptly,
The crowning glory
Roars to life.

A twinkle of limelight
On the mountaintop.
Briefly highlighted
By the glowing sun.

In a fleeting instant,
The peak shows-off
Its entirety
In one broad stroke.

Ponderance erupts.

For a short time
Life is large, possible,
Loud, tough, and magnificent,
Because a chunk of dirt, rock, and snow,
Reminds you that it is.

Audio Version:

Aconcagua

Alpine Summit Revisited

Summit of Huayna Potosi, Bolivia

Rocky, icy
Mountain summit,
Peaks above
The clouds.

Alpine world
Of wind and cold.
But also,
Warm and calm.

I go ascending,
Mostly upward.
Climbing, slogging
Pushing, moving.

Ice axe, rope teams,
Crampons, prusik.
Crevasses, glaciers,
Headwalls, ridges.

Glaring sun,
Burning lungs.
Frozen fingers,
And biting wind.

Pain gives way to persistence.
A deep breath of anticipation
Supercharges my lungs.

My focus sharpens.
No more blurry,
No more struggle,
No more doubt.

Within moments,
The horizon magically sinks,
As the mountaintop rises,
And welcomes me
Onto its crest.

I’ve won the battle of my efforts,
And the mountain the war for my soul.

Audio Version: 

On the Summit

Rain on My Tent

Anchoring the Tent

Raindrops pounding my tent,
They sound like thunderous applause,
Every time the wind gusts,
And throws them in bunches
Against the fly.

Lightning flashes remind me
Of other power surges.

Thin sheets of nylon
Are all that shield me
From the wet and chaos.

But all is well,
Because the dome protecting me
Is well anchored.
And I am warm and dry,
Zipped-up inside it.

I’m getting sleepy,
Even though it’s only 4:00 in the afternoon.

It’s good to be
Settled into my sleeping bag,
Just as the music begins.

I close my eyes and listen.
As the Rain Symphony gets underway.

I’m intent on absorbing its every nuance.
The subtle pauses, the crescendos,
The somber moments, the tempo changes.

Have I heard this one before, I wonder?
Some parts sound familiar.

But I know better.
Because every Rain Symphony is unique.
Each performance only happens once.
There will be other concerts
That are nearly,
But not quite,
The same.

Each is composed of
Familiar and comfortable sounds,
Blended with surprise.

Like always, the music is spectacular.
Contentedly,
I let my mind wander,
And begin to dream.

Audio Version:

Camp at the end of a bushwhack
A Mountain Campsite
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