And then tomorrow…

Annapurna, K2, Everest.  Himalaya.  Karakoram.  I think what it would be like to travel for weeks and months into land so immense the map doesn’t seem big enough to capture how remote it really is.  I’ve read the books.  The words.  Those descriptive words.

I’ve seen the pictures.  But I’ve never seen the land.

Problem is I don’t know if I ever will.

Still, I walk out my front door and turn my dreams into adventure.  My mountains stretch into the atmosphere and peak at ten thousand feet.  No, it isn’t remote wilderness, but I can steal away the moments when they happen.

In winter mountains fill with snow.  With my gear I embark on that grand adventure, if only for a day.  The paths are varied, from dirt and rock fire road, to manicured single track, to overgrown and unkempt bush pass.  So I am an adventurer, and each path before me will lead to the high terrain.  And to the snow.

Eight thousand.

I can feel the rush of my journey.  The sun may be warm, but the cool breeze filters its way through the pine and reminds me this is winter.  And so I will continue.  Ever higher.

Each labored step brings with it pain.  The weight of the pack.  The twist of the foot.  The seemingly never ending strain of muscle and will.  And there is no place I’d rather be…

As I step, I breathe, and with each breath I dream.  Of Mallory and Irvine, of Herzog and Lachenal, of Hillary and Norgay.  I am transported beyond my steps into a world of lands so immense they cannot be contained.

Nine thousand.

Slowly rise above the tree line.  Along a ridge.  The thrill as thousands of feet drop to either side.  The air seems better.  The pain washed away.

Ten thousand.

My adventure is grand, indeed.

My journey will not last.  Though I try with all of my might to push this thought to the deepest recesses of my mind, I know that it is true.  My life awaits my return.   It remains the one pure truth.  I will rejoin the world with renewed spirit and energy.  I will have gained perspective and hope.  I will have learned about my land, and even more so, about myself.   I will be thankful for the opportunity to enjoy the land.  I will be thankful for my health, and my family’s willingness to share me with the world outside.  I will have fond memories of the places I have been and the relationships I have forged.

And then tomorrow…

4 responses to “And then tomorrow…

  1. Love Love Love this – and you know…. I came very close to joining a Charity Challenge to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro this year. However timing was not on my side so maybe next year. I kept thinking of you while doing the research on it. It would have been super challenging and I planned on training in Flagstaff …. Mt. Humphrey is our highest peak in AZ (12637 feet). I made it to the saddle once a LONG time ago. (11500 feet). Anyway – just had to share as I wanted to tell you all last week while doing my research. How funny you’d post this…. but then – not really right?

  2. Greg, I too have read many of the writings and adventures of mountaineers, and there is something mystical, raw, beyond us, living and breathing in those landscapes. While I feel time/age has gotten a bit too far to prepare for an Everest expedition, Mt. Rainier holds a place in my heart as a possibility. I hope to be ready to make an attempt in 2013 and bring the stories, imagination, and words into one beautiful culmination.

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