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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Chasing The Muse On Bear Creek Trail

"You can't always get what you want...but if you try sometimes, well you just might find, you get what you need." Rolling Stones

Sailing headlong into the Third Act of our "play," Bobbie and I share a common belief and it is this: What one did yesterday they can likely do today, and thus, via logical extension, what one does today they will in all likelihood be able to do tomorrow.  

Maybe, if we just keep pushing our outdoor limits and routines...the things we hold dear, the things that make life worth fighting for, the things that bring sense of accomplishment, joy, and inner calm, well, maybe, just maybe—barring illness or injury—we might be able to keep doing tomorrow what we do today, which is to climb and hike and explore the west's wild, remote places. 

But oh the gods. They seem to delight in human misfortune and misery. My inner cynic says, Life is a crapshoot, Mark.  Greed prospers over benevolence, hatred "trumps'' love, and Charles Manson dies of old age while children die of cancer. 
Perhaps the cartoon Calvin and Hobbes expressed it best: 
“The world isn't fair, Calvin."
"I know Dad, but why isn't it ever unfair in my favor?” 

Human beings seem to be wired to hold out hope in the midst of despair by counting on some unlikely event to come to their rescue. Why else would we spend 75 billion dollars per year on lotto tickets here in the good ole USA? To add insult to the "injured," according to a Duke University study, it is the poorest third of households that buy half of all lotto tickets. 

I don't buy lotto tickets. Don't play Powerball either, where the odds of me winning are 1 in 292 million. Let's break it down to the harsh reality; if you bought 10 tickets every single week, it would still take 562,000 years to win the jackpot. My single greatest hope is not a lotto win, unlikely as it may be, but rather to be out there on the trail tomorrow. If I can just keep doing what I'm doing, the odds of that happening are more in my favor. Health over wealth. 

There's no prize for those who live beyond Actuarial Predictions. Just more yesterdays piled onto tomorrows. I will take "quality" over "quantity" any day, as I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be a "happy camper" at the "home" if I can't do the things that keep me interested in staying alive. 

To that end, these days, I'm working at shifting my goal oriented mindset...just a little bit, mind you, because I'm wired to still enjoy a good push to a new PR. This is now on my Desktop, where I'm forced to read it several times a day: "There's little glory in climbing a mountain if all you want to do is to get to the top. It's experiencing the climb itself - in all its moments of revelation, heartbreak, and fatigue - that has to be the goal" (Karyn Kusama). "Heartbreak and fatigue." Wow, I"m almost there...

In middle ground, Lovely Ouray. In the distance, as if floating on haze, Grand Mesa.
Mount Abram, with a touch of Red Mountain.
Nietzsche was drawn to outdoor challenges, too, and understood his "maleness": "Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called 'Ego'".  Yes, sometimes ego can be our own greatest stumbling block, altering our courses due to the gravitational pull of limelight and byline. Sometimes, in order to get over life's obstacles, one must first get over themselves

I will leave you with another quote from Call of the Wild by Jack London. I keep it on my Desktop as a reminder of my inner "wolf," and to keep on keeping on, out there on the "trail," be it pushing for a silly PR or sauntering along smelling roses:  "He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars."

"Everything that was not death." Hmmm, maybe our belief is not so farfetched after all. If one "climbs" today, is not likely that they can "climb" tomorrow?

Now go take a hike...preferably one that wanders through wilderness devoid of human beings. Then do it again tomorrow and the day after, and keep doing it till you need to do it in order to feel "right." What's good for the body is even better for the mind... 

Here's to postponing infirmity.
I hope you enjoy the rest of our hike on Bear Creek Trail.
Cheers, mark and bobbie  


  1. Well your pictures make it look very doable anyway unlike everything we have always heard about it.
    You have nailed the secret to success for a well lived life and you are doing it everyday: giving up is not an option as long as the old heart is still ticking.
    I just wish you would eat a bigger breakfast than 3 cups of coffee when you start out.. :)
    Stay Thirst my Friends.

  2. Great post. That Jack London quote, the sensation he describes, is to me what it means to be alive. The mechanisms of achieving that state can and will shift, but I understand that I will always need it in my life.

    Back when my health was on a continuous downswing in 2016-2017, I gave a lot of thought to infirmity, and how I might cope if the years draw out long after my physical health has faded. I don't carry the optimism that anything can be tomorrow as it is today. Some regard me as reckless, but I view myself as an opportunist. No matter how careful or cautious some might think they're being, fate still falls on everyone in unexpected ways. I suppose this is the message though — live for today, and when tomorrow comes, live for that day. Every day is a gift.

  3. I'll take quality over quantity too...but the line out of all of this that made me stop and reread was, I believe, yours: "Just more yesterdays piled onto tomorrows." That's an excellent use of words to create an image.

    And I enjoyed your hike too.

  4. Love the close up pictures of the different colors in the rocks. My sister and I are hoping to hike to the top of one of the Spanish peaks near La Veta this July. Some of us have to start out small and easy. :)

  5. Well, maybe not a hike this time, but does launching a kayak on a new lake count at least a little bit? We still have to get them off the roof of the car, and get ourselves into and out of the water without dumping, and paddle against the wind into hidden coves, and get the boats back on the top of the car, and it is glorious life. For a couple of geezers at 78 and 72 I'll settle for walks and kayaks, and maybe let go of the need to even think I might to what you are doing. then again.... but NOT every day!

    1. Yes...all outdoor activities count, and so does celebrating with a medicinal brew afterwards :). Love your sunset house...

  6. I share your life view. Nothing makes me feel as vividly alive as riding my bike with complete concentration and full commitment over a trail that challenges me and takes me through gorgeous land, devoid of other humans.

    I am, in a sense, already on Act 2. I have had a lot of spinal surgeries. By far the biggest was a multi-level fusion in my lower back. I went telemark skiing the day before my surgery and somehow I knew that it was my last day of doing something that I loved. My husband saw my sadness and said "don't worry, you'll be back". I never was... It was a similar story with running and even long hikes. So, I couldn't do today what I did yesterday. But I adapted. Now my bike is my passion, and it takes me to those places that my soul needs to feel happy. That experience taught me that I am adaptable and I'll likely be able to handle the next big changes.

    I just saw a short video about a 97 yr old who runs up Mt. Washington every year. It's inspiring. I know that he's not as fast or graceful as he once was but he's still doing what he loves. Here's the link.

    1. Adapt or die. It is, after all, how we got here...
      The link didn't show...if you read this pls. try again. I'm interested!!!

  7. Here's that link! https://www.outsideonline.com/2321616/running-highest-peak-east-97

    Yes, adapt or die, perhaps just spiritually die but it's the same in my mind.


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