Towards Heaven

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I love my family. I really do. But we all need time to ourselves now and again. So even though I was in Colorado visiting my family I decided to take a brief hiatus and headed to Rocky Mountain National Park. I went high into the alpine tundras and then down into the valley. I hiked up to Mills Lake which is a beautiful and serene glacial lake with a cirque of peaks. The skies opened up and unleashed but it didn’t matter. It was worth it.

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“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” ~ John Muir

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On The Road . . .

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Finding time in a busy life of adventuring to write about my adventuring. That’s the trick, the magic. Holding on to those thoughts and feelings long enough to convey them into words on this medium. I arrived in CO almost two weeks ago but just now I’m going to write about it.

The road has been my home for over two years now. Moving, always moving. I’ve house sit or had extended stay with friends but all my belongings are in a 5 x 10 storage unit in Oakland. After stopping to switch out gear for the summertime I hit the road again. I had planned to be in Wyoming for part of June. Idaho for the beginning of July. But decided to head to Colorado first to see my family. And of course I drove there.

On the way I made a stop at the Burning Man ranch to see my friend Jay. I love the desert. Something so simple yet complex about it beauty combined with harshness. Dinner followed by a walk through sagebrush with the setting sun to soak in a hot spring fed by a geyser. Good company, conversation, fluffy clouds and warm waters. It was a good night and I was happy.

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On my way to Reno the next morning I had to stop and walk on the playa. One of the many places that I call home in this world. The wind caressed my face. The silence enveloped me into a peaceful state. I walked for a while, my feet turning white and smiled.

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The next stop of my journey was Reno for a couple of days. Some good friends are working on a large scale Burning Man art project. They’ve partnered with an art group in Taiwan to create a beautiful space, Mazu Goddess of the Empty Sea.

http://www.mazugoddessoftheemptysea.com/

I am so proud of my friends and I eagerly anticipate this project on playa. I spent a couple of days hanging out and lending a hand when I could at The Generator in Reno. I met new friends and reconnected with old. This community that we created, it has teeth and is growing into something so profound.

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After Nevada it was onto Utah.

Oh Utah . . .

“Men come and go, cities rise and fall, whole civilizations appear and disappear-the earth remains, slightly modified. The earth remains, and the heartbreaking beauty where there are no hearts to break….I sometimes choose to think, no doubt perversely, that man is a dream, thought an illusion, and only rock is real. Rock and sun.” ~Edward Abbey

Utah is magic. So many varied landscapes that don’t seem like they’re from this world or the next.

I decided to head to Colorado via the 70 which skirted parts of southern Utah and then through the mountains. Along the 70 I started seeing signs for Moab, Arches National park and Canyonlands. The exit approached  and without thinking I turned off. Heading the 30 miles to Moab and Arches National park. I don’t think words could describe the beauty that I only saw briefly. I did a quick drive to the Windows portion of Arches. I was spellbound for the short duration of my stay. Red rock formations rising skyward with arches scattered throughout. The La Sal mountains green and still tipped with snow in the background. I would like to say that something profound came to mind but all I could do was stare with my mouth hanging open. The one thing I did realize, is why Edward Abbey was so fierce about protecting this land.

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After Arches I ran into Moab to check the town out and grab lunch. It’s an adorable place with red rocks and mountains plus a river running through it. An outdoor lovers paradise. It had a good feeling to it. Made me happy. After only spending a couple of hours there my mind was already scheming on how to live there next spring for a month or two. Climb, hike, bike my heart out.

Back on the 70 I was speeding towards Colorado. Hwy 70 is a beautiful highway. You rise through foothills into canyons then huge mountains. It’s breathtaking the whole way. I had to pull over many times just to try and get some pictures that would do it justice. The hardest thing to do it take pictures of mountains that do them justice.Sadly my iPhone wasn’t up to the job. I did manage one panorama outside of Breckenridge at sunset that was lovely. I will leave you with that for now. Next up my time in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Of Stone and Space

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Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ~John Muir

I want to start off by saying please forgive me for the roughness of this blog. I’m trying to get the feel for what it’s like to create something such as this. And right now I only have the bones of it. The rest is slowly forming and like all good things time is the only obstacle.

So . . . on to Yosemite

My climbing buddies casually mentioned a trip to Yosemite a month or so ago. Immediately my ears perked up. I had only been to Yosemite once as a child. Now as an adult and a climber Yosemite held some kind of mystical legacy in my mind. So much of what we think of as modern rock climbing started in that valley. Of course I inquire about the trip because I’m planning on inviting myself along. My friends were taking a class from the famed Yosemite School of Mountaineering on a Saturday and then were going to spend Sunday climbing and of course I was invited. The next morning I called the school and signed up for a class and the adventure was set.

We set off from Santa Cruz Friday evening. My 4Runner was full of friends and high spirits. We arrived at Yosemite well after dark. Driving down the windy road thick with trees we could just make out the walls looming on each side. The dark outline of El Capitan stood regal in the darkness. Somewhere in the dark, so far high was the Wall of ‘Early Morning Light’ or as it’s know now the ‘Dawn Wall’.

We were camped in North Pines campground outside of Curry Village. The site was dotted with flowering dogwood trees. One of my favorites. The white flowers stood out against the darkness. It was chilly but not overtly so. I was in sandals and comfortable. Our main concern was the threat of rain for the next day that would potentially cancel our classes. Regardless we all fell asleep with happy hearts and the excitement for the next day ahead.

The next morning we awoke to this . . .

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It had snowed while we slept! Such beauty took my breath away. We layered on everything we had and trucked through the fluff to Curry Village. As we thought our classes were canceled so we had an entire day in suddenly snowy Yosemite to play. We took a little walk to take in the sites. Towering rock walls on either side of the narrow valley covered in snow. If only Ansel Adams was alive to capture the incredible scenery. My pants were wet but I didn’t care. Nature was showing us her best and I’ll be damned if a little cold and wet would thwart me.

Yosemite Falls

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We made the best of the day. Decided to hike to the spectacular Vernal Falls. As we started on our journey is gradually got a little warmer and the snow that sporadically fell from the sky turned to rain. On the ascent up the hill we actually worked up a sweat and the layers came off. Vernal Falls was everything I wanted it to be. Raw and full or power like a waterfall should be. I managed to get a shot with my GoPro before getting too wet near the falls.

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The rest of the evening was spent bbqing and chatting. Heading off to bed in anticipation for potential class and sunshine in the morning.

The next day dawned with a bluebird sky. The guys and I rushed off to our classes. My instructor from Yosemite School of Mountaineering was named Mark. He had this awkward edge that reminded me of Alex Honnold (or at least the interviews I’ve seen of Alex Honnold). We set off to Camp 4 to learn the fine points of anchors and more specifically anchoring big walls. Mark was a wealth of information and the day passed by quickly. There was some climbing, a lot of anchor building, and such an appreciation of life.

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I learned so much. And it was such a treat to be having this experience in Yosemite Valley. The whole weekend was exceptional. Even with the surprise snow I wouldn’t of had it any other way.

“Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.” ~Ansel Adams

I think we all got what we wanted out of the trip. And Yosemite you’ll see me again. Snake Dyke on Half Dome . . . I’m coming for you

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The Creation

This is the first post in the middle of a long journey. I plan to do so much with this page but like all things we must begin with the first step. I wanted to give myself over wholeheartedly into the adventure of life. To show myself and whoever decides to follow what the world we live in can offer. There’s so much we take for granted. From rivers to mountains our wilds are slowly becoming less and less and those of us that crave clean air strive to climb bigger mountains. So this will be a record of my journey through this adventure we call life. Pictures and stories of my adventures and bumbles through them. Sometimes I’ll be funny, sometimes sarcastic, maybe down or up. You never really know what I’ll get into so it will always be wise to check back. Last weekend I went to Yosemite. I’ll write about that next week after I get back from a wedding that I’m attending in Ashland, Or. Until then here’s me and El Capitan.

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