Thursday, August 9, 2007

Day 2: 7/26/07: Mount Democrat/ Mount Lincoln/ Mount Bross(Cameron):14,148/14,286/14,172/ (14,238)


7.5 miles

Standard Route – Kite Lake

Company: Wendy Chi

Wildlife: pika, ptarmigan

3700 feet

Start: 7:00 am

Summit: 8:50/10:25/10:50/11:50 am

Stop: 1:15 pm


Clear/cool – 6:00 am

Cloud formation – 1:00 am

Oh how the trail provides for methodical minutes in which to contemplate. Sometimes thoughts are consumed by the mere action of plopping one foot in front of the other systematically, rhythmically. In tough sections, this action is paired with mantra: just keep moving, just keep moving. The yogic breath of mountaineers matches the staccato of trekking pole tapping rock. Keep. Move.Ing. And then there are those times we float. The music my feet make continues in time effortlessly and thoughts drift off to places good and bad. That flower is so purple. I have a rock in my shoe. Cairns must represent perfect mountainside feng shui. How can I be happier in my daily life? What is my cure for loneliness? How much farther? Today, moving up and down, across saddles and ridges into barren, moon-like terrain, body and brain detached. It was an “on” day where each step was easy and the mind was set free. Free to be present. Free to be absent. What to do with the spare time? Work hard to think of nothing – finding an elusive meditative state? Rehash the goings-on of front-range life? Today I thought about how people approach life and how that approach is not unlike the trail. Sometimes each step is premeditated with a perfect precision. I’ve memorized the contours of the next rock and the next and the next in order to minimize surprises. This is like living life myopically with an eye only on what is immediately in that moment. Other times I force my head from the camel sand hole and look down the trail – looking and planning for the future while maintaining a competent connection with the present. Then there are moments where vistas shout loudly enough to draw eyes upward to soaring peaks, billowing clouds, blankets of tiny pincushion flowers, streams giggling past sprung from an unseen snowfield. Ah, the big picture. Oftentimes it is in these scarce moments that a random rock bites a toe, sending me sliding, slipping, groping for terra firma. It is also in this rare moment that life rushes into you. A scraped knee’s itch reminds me I’m alive. The surprise of a mountain goat chewing his cud on the trail reminds me too. The sweat dripping into my eye reminds me as well. In this instant born from the contemplation of how life is like the trail, once again my mind is free, present and future blended perfectly into landscape.

No comments: