Saturday, July 23, 2005

Climbing Mountains

Mountain climbing is a great analogy for life. There are two ways to climb a mountain I think. One is to climb it with focused ambition, the goal being the top. The second is to stop frequently along the way to rest and look, not just because you need to, but because you want to. I can be a bit of the former - always looking ahead, not stopping to enjoy what I'm in. So today I tried to be the latter and felt my ability to be awed grow each moment. I also found a part of myself that's braver than I thought. This part has been slowly growing since I've been married to Erik and realized that he's going on adventures and if I want to be with him, I'd better go too. Turns out he finds a lot of good stuff on those adventures.

We hiked to Grinell Glacier, which has starting at its trailhead frightening warnings about entering bear country. These warnings are repeated every 500 yards or so until you're thoroughly paranoid and have developed a fool proof plan for how you will escape the emminent bear mauling unscathed. Erik and I chattered non-stop for the first mile or so until we saw more bear bait ahead. We figured there was strength in numbers so we picked up the pace and met a family of 6 from my hometown! So that was a fun little quinkidink.

At the glacier, by request from a friend of ours, we tried to "hug the glacier" to no avail. You couldn't get that close. So we contented ourselves with getting off the beaten path a bit to find the top of the glacial waterfall we'd seen hiking up. The problem with getting off the beaten path is finding your way back when needed. We did find ourselves wallowing for a bit in the "this isn't fun anymore" stage while we struggled our way back. It's amazing how easy something can look when it's really not.

Going down is one of those things as well. The last two miles of the hike Erik sometimes encouraged me to look around but I was back in focus mode. One thing that motivated us was the promising thought of some cheese fondue served from 2-5 p.m. at the hotel. Whenever one of us lagged behind, we'd pick ourselves up with the very word, "Fondue!"

Back at the ranch, we did enjoy our fondue, some complimentary huckleberry frozen yogurt, and some relaxing hours reading while overlooking the lake. A good time was had by all.

Today's stats:
Miles hiked: somewhere in the vicinity of 13
Altitude climbed: 1700 ft
Wildlife sighted: regular sized chipmunks and various other small woodland creatures

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