It was Christmas break of my sophomore year in high school when Jake and I took off from Denton. We geared up and drove his parent’s VW Camper/van (with their permission), bound for Mexico with a stop in Douglas, Arizona. The plan was to meet up in Douglas with an older, more mature person named Jim, whom I knew from the summer camp where I had worked the previous summer. From there, the three of us would travel to Guaymas, Mexico, where we’d camp, have some quality beach time, and experience a bunch of “neat adventure stuff.” In the van, we had scuba gear packed away under one of the seats in cardboard boxes, places to sleep, and we must have had some food somewhere. (Note- I’m not sure how we got our parents to agree to the plan. Although I do remember it being a good thing that we would be under the supervision of someone older).
Jake and I drove to Douglas, where we connected with Jim at his parent’s house. We spent a day there doing “the friends visiting from out of town” routine, which included supper across the border in Agua Prieta. The next day we loaded Jim’s baggage into the van and took off across the border toward the coastal city of Guaymas, which we had randomly chosen as our destination.
No matter how big the face,
Or how full your plate,
When you climb onto the rock,
A new realm you’ll unlock.
The world suddenly shrinks,
To nine square feet.
Living in the moment,
Is truly a treat.
No worries about what tomorrow will bring,
Cause your future rests solely on what you can cling.
The past is a jumble,
Most problems have gone.
What most concerns you,
Is what to step on.
The cracks are for the hands and feet,
And jams are mostly for arms and fists.
A pocketed face looks mighty good,
And a chimney’s for climbing and not for wood.
While getting to the top may be the goal,
Even the holds within reach could be beyond your control.
If you can’t make the next move,
And are stuck in one place,
The top no longer matters,
And a new goal you’ll then chase.
If you try while you’re climbing to think worldly thoughts,
The vision you conjure may be of knots.
But when you make a move forward and stand up on a nub,
The moment will win,
And you’ll understand then.
“If we do make it up to the top of Delirium, there’s a knife-edge ridge we’re gonna have to cross to get over to the Cemetery and then down. It’s only about 100 hundred yards long, but it’s got lots of loose rocks and big drop-offs, so watch out. If the other person on your rope falls, jump quickly to the other side of the ridge. That’ll create a counter-balance and keep both of you from getting pulled down on top of each other. Don’t waste any time thinking about it- just do it.”
Deep in the heart of Wyoming’s Wind River Range, there’s a place that we called Golden Lake. No marked or named trails go there; if you look on a map or search a guidebook for information about it, you’ll find nothing. But, while there is a lake there, it has another name. It sits in a glacial cirque, or basin, along with two others at the top of an obscure drainage that leads down to the North Fork of the Popo Agie River. The main lake of the three is full of Golden Trout. Thus, the name.
The solution wasn’t jumping out at her. Nothing about the situation made any sense. Why had he said that? His conclusion wasn’t logical. Her mind worked in overdrive to come up with an answer to the problem, although a part of her feared there might not be one. Maybe I should….. But her chain of thought was broken by the reality of the moment. She looked down at the ground, some 30′ below, and her focus reverted to the rock. The climb was rated 5.12 and named “Second Thoughts,” of all things. And from that point forward, the thing that mattered to her most was the few square feet of rock surrounding her.