Went out today with my wife, in part because the next six months of summer seems incredibly long, in part because I set a goal, and while that goal has been modified, I still want 150 days, and in part because we can. Back in the day the Intergalactic Pilots used to build skinny bridges and ride them. Well, this photo is sort of an off-shoot of that, only with a hell of a lot less hype. There is a river, it needs a bridge. Cool. Skiing is great, but it's days are numbered so it's time to move onto other dreams.
We headed down the hill today, courtesy of the Town of Nederland and free eco-passes and went to a talk by the legendary modern adventurer Andrew Skurka. As mentioned here earlier, our big goal for summer 2012 is a through-hike of the 480-mile Colorado Trail. I biked many sections of this years ago, but this go around we're giving it a more thorough examination. Plus, hiking allows access to Wilderness sections, which are indeed the best parts of the whole route. We're beyond psyched, and as with everything we do these days, we're determined. Being told you are crap tends to motivate us, every single day. Call it a train with a lot of fuel. Basically, it makes you want to grab life for everything it's worth and squeeze everything out of it. And the truth of the matter is – and it took me a little bit to fully understand this – together we are powerful and can do pretty much anything we set out to do.
Skurka is the man when it comes to this stuff. He's hiked across the U.S. – west to east, hiked the Great Western Divide (linking the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail) and circumnavigated Alaska. Obviously, our CT trail attempt is piddling in comparison, but for us it's big and it's our start to bigger things to come. The talk focused on gear, and we learned a lot. The key is to go as light as possible, but keep it safe, anticipating real obstacles but not succumbing to the bogeyman inside our heads that would urge us to pack everything but the kitchen sink. It's funny, but lately my head is swimming – tarp vs. tent, do I really need rainpants, do I need a hip belt, etc. It's fun to see how much you can do without – it leads to better adventures.
Some of this is all just faith too. Not planning for the armeggedon (as Andrew says) but trusting yourselves and letting it unfold. I feel like we're moving strongly towards this line of thinking and living, and as we sprinted to catch the last bus up the mountain in a driving rain (made it by 10 seconds), it had me so happy to be learning and – my apologies to the Beastie Boys for pilfering their lyric – "To tell the truth I am exactly what I want to be." Doing what I want, making dreams happen, filled with love and faith in the future. The carnage that went with it, the lost people…well, as my mom put it when I told her that "I lost a lot of friends"…"no son, you didn't lose any friends." Mom always knows best.
Just finished a great book by Jennifer Phar Davis, the record holder for the fastest completion of the Appalachian Trail ever – 46 days. I'm not particularly religious – at least not in a church going traditional sense – but she is, and I enjoyed the perspective. Even more, I loved this quote, taken from none other than the bible:
You shall not fear the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day,
Nor the pestilence that roams in darkness, nor the plague that ravages at noon.
Though a thousand fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, near you it shall not come.
No evil shall befall you, no affliction come near your tent.
For he commands his angels with regard to you, to guard you wherever you go.
With their hands they shall support you, lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You can tread upon the asp and the viper, trample the lion and the dragon.
Or, as my awesome sister wrote to me in a birthday card:
Happy birthday to my dear brother – your indefatigable quest to explore, live on the edge, and experience new things every day is inspiring and amazing and we can't wait to see what new adventures are in store for you.
They are predicting 50 mph gusts. Tomorrow. Seems like a perfect day for Elaine's first ever commute up the 4,000 vertical feet from Boulder to Nederland. I'm honored to show her the ropes and have a new adventure with the love of my life. That's the cool thing really – I've done a lot of this stuff (and a lot I have not) – but now I get to share it with the person who matters most. As such, it's better, richer and more real.
May the storm howl and the winds roar. We'll pedal into it, laughing the whole way. After all, we're well practiced in the art of laughing at the storm.