February 22, 2018

Do it. Because Life is Too Boring (and Short) Not To

It’s a dark night.  It’s pouring rain. I’m on my back sliding head first down the side of a mountain. I can’t see anything. I can’t stop myself. I surrender to gravity. And then to my fate.

What crosses my mind are two thoughts. The first, my body is traveling on a safe path and will eventually come to a gentle stop. Then I will crawl back to my feet and head to the finish line some 40 miles away. Second, my body is on a collision course with a protruding slab of granite, and my head is about to be the first point of contact. I don’t get back to my feet.

There are moments like these. They stick in my brain. Moments that make me wonder, sometimes, why a grown man over the age of 50 would put himself in these situations. Moments that are so vivid and consequential that they make the routine of life seem mundane, ordinary. Moments that make me feel lucky to just be on a mountain in the midst of a journey, any journey, that brings memorable challenges.

My advice to you runners and non runners out there. Look for opportunities. Take your mind and body out of their comfort zone. Find a challenge and go toward it. Why? Life is too boring and short not to!

February 18, 2018

Intoxicating the World Over

Intoxicating The World Over

If I were a tree in another life, I think I would be a Western Juniper. Known for their ability to survive nature's most extreme conditions, these endurance junkies produce a berry used by distillers to make one of my least favorite alcoholic beverages - Gin.

I just think there is something pretty awesome about a species that can survive with little to no water, freezing temperatures, high altitudes, incessant wind, all the while producing a little berry that flavors a beverage that has intoxicated the world over.

Usually thriving in the presence of more grandiose competitors like the Jeffery and Ponderosa Pines, the Western Juniper sometimes grows into a gnarled shrub with the aesthetic beauty of a rouge weed on steroids, and other times into a majestic evergreen that stands toe to toe with its biggest rivals. Predictable? Hell no. Bad ass? Well, you get the point.

California Juniper

February 11, 2018

Happy Birthday C. McCandless. The Sage of Solitude

Today was a good day. On Los Pinos trail. From hot springs with 2,000’ of ups. There were a few minutes on a perch overlooking Hot Springs Canyon. Contrails overhead, and a red tail hawk soaring below. Memorable for sure. It's not often that one looks down from were they stand to watch a hawk soaring. The best of all? For several hours there was not another human soul to be seen.

It reminded me of a scene with Alexander Supertramp, aka Christopher McCandless, from the movie Into the Wild. Randomly, he looked into the sky to observe a airplane passing overhead. In the movie everything goes silent for a few seconds as you watch this jet move across the sky. The contrail forming behind it. Why do they show this? There is no explanation. Maybe it is a silent protest of the fact that no matter where we are on this planet, we can’t escape human fingerprints. They are everywhere.

McCandless tried to escape from the fingerprints. He went to the farthest end of the earth, walked among grizzlies, ate wild berries and shot wild game. He was born 50 years ago tomorrow. He escaped the hands of society to travel the country, to find his refuge in a place a long way from the maddening crowd. A place with no lines. No malls. No traffic. No hordes. I wish he were still alive today. To share with us what motivated him to push the boundaries. To move "into" the wild. To shun what so many of us grasp onto.

Happy Birthday Christopher McCandless. You are the sage of solitude. Thank you for reminding us how important it is to go it alone.

February 4, 2018

Striking Out and Not Giving a $#@T

I shouldn't complain. That I signed up for three race lotteries, including Western States, Hardrock and Wasatch, and struck out in all of them is, well, probably what the therapist would've ordered anyway. Last week I was ranting about leaving "the cage" and "stepping into the unknown" to experience the "fun and mystery" and "magic" of what might occur. I'm embarrassed to admit I signed up for these races even though I've already run two of them, including one three times. Ok, its hard to escape the cage people.  It's so comfortable in there!

Time to really drop some sandbags and move on from the outworn memories. 

My heart still yearns for fun and mystery of Hardrock.  I'll leave the cage for that one!