I’m back from a very full two days in the mountains. After a solid two days of non-stop adventure, my … Continue reading Reflections from the Mountains
Angels Landing, a plateau at the peak of a red rock face, perched in the heart of Zion National Park.
2.5 miles of strenuous hiking up multiple series of switchbacks, including Walter’s Wiggles, takes you to the landing point where some will stay while others scramble to the final landing. Two long series of chains bolted into the rock with steel poles provide a safety net from the 1000 foot drop offs.
I wasn’t sure what the trail would really be like. I knew the distances. I knew the height gain. I know what it feels like to hike up long, steep descents. I have done some scrambling. But I wasn’t sure what these chained sections would be like.
My first attempt at reaching the summit of Angel’s Landing, I had taken the first shuttle of the day from the town beside Zion park. I darted across the park entrance to catch the next shuttle up the canyon. I disembarked at the Grotto stop, along with dozens of other eager hikers. The herd quickly thinned as the climbing grew strenuous. At the top, many other hikers already milled about. The first series of chains wasn’t nearly as challenging as I thought it would be. I stood on the flat section before the second series, looking up at a daunting rocky climb. I wanted to do it. But, all I could think about was the growing number of people, of various hiking abilities, streaming both up and down sections only wide enough for one. The communication was minimal. The chaos was growing. I didn’t feel this was something I should do. Or that I wanted to do under these conditions.
A couple of years ago, my husband and I travelled to Chamonix, France. The dream was to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc. A 180 km hiking route covering about 10,000 metres of climbing. When we showed up, our excitement was crushed. The snow levels had been high, and the melting process was taking longer than usual. Sections of the trail were closed. Not even guided tour groups were passing through. The Tour de Mont Blanc wasn’t going to happen for us.
Dreams don’t always come true when we expect them to. It doesn’t mean that we should give up on them.
We left Friday Harbour on a ferry and headed to Orcas Island. We didn’t have confirmation of a place to stay that night. We had contacted one of the few places that may have some vacancy, so we took a chance. When we arrived, we drove the peaceful, quiet road, easily sinking into the slow pace of everything and everyone around us. We found the one small ‘main town’ and a lovely breakfast. How delightful!! The food was tremendous, the view was spectacular, and who knew what the day held? After our adventures in escaping from the blazing fires in Oregon (Burning Eyes of Fire) we were definitely ready to turn over a new page on our road trip!
I was SO excited. We were finally hitting the road! It had been a while since we had done any travelling. We had just moved into our first house. It was a huge endeavour that took much more time and energy that I had anticipated. The fruits of our labor included an amazing summer in our new oasis.
I was craving some time on the road. Some time away to explore and be free. We had a great two weeks planned, packed full of craft beer, cycling, and outdoor exploration. We arose before sunset. As we backed out of the driveway in our little Subaru, packed to the brim with bikes and outdoor gear, we were guided by the soft glow of the moonlight.
The summer had been an absolutely terrible one for forest fires. We were fortunate. Being in Alberta, and the fires mostly burning in British Columbia, the most we experienced were some minor inconveniences when we had to cancel cycling or hiking plans due to poor air quality. For those in the heart of it, lives had been changed. I didn’t realize how much, until we embarked on our exciting little road trip.
Whether you THINK you CAN or you CAN’T, either way you are RIGHT!!!
My brother was the one that first brought my attention to this quote. I use it here because it completely describes my grandfather’s approach to life.
My dear grandpa, Isaac (Ike) Doerksen, finally found a place of peace a few days ago after 103 years of life on this earth. I don’t believe that there was any part of his life in which he did NOT believe that if he decided to do something, then he would. The last week of his life was not easy. As his ability to eat, drink water, and even get up slipped away, my family and I watched this man who had been such a strong figure in our lives slowly decline. As his physical being lost it’s strength and became a weak shell of what it used to be, I watched in what was nothing less than total amazement as the strength of mind, soul and spirit emanating from him literally infused the entire room. He didn’t once complain. When I told him I loved him, he used what he had left to tell me he loved me too. He often reached for the loving hand of whoever was sitting with him and gave a healthy squeeze. He displayed such grace right to the end. And as he did his entire life, he didn’t give up easily. He simply lived true perseverance as he always had.
We didn’t know it yet, but, we were nearing the end of a several month adventure. We had left home with hefty backpacks, planning to chase the pro cycling circuit. We had seen a lot of cycling races, done a lot of our own riding, and had also found many other adventures along the way. Coming off of the high of accomplishing some big things in my own cycling journey, I think I was in complete belief that I was the bionic woman!!!