100 steps A Quandary

Mount Massive was to much of an undertaking and Goldpoint Lodge is located about 90 minutes from the trailhead while Quandary is a quaint little 20 minute jaunt out of breckenridge. So the plan changed, it is good to be flexible. DSCN1635DSCN1638DSCN1626DSCN1632DSCN1644DSCN1642DSCN1584DSCN1596DSCN1593DSCN1576

We started very late into 14er season, I don’t know what I was waiting for, but  it took all the way until August 9th.

Mt. Quandary is known as an easy 14er as 14ers go. The thing about a 14er though is that it is a monstrous effort.

The lack of oxygen, the unavoidable nearly straight up ascents. The knee pounding descent, the crazy weather. The intoxicating views and of course, in case it didn’t sink in, the continously increasing lack of oxygen, nearly three miles above sea level.

When I was on the Inca trail, Dead Woman’s pass was an ordeal, but the ascent from 3600 meters to 4200 meters was not quite as high. And there is a world of difference between 14k feet and 13k feet. Plus on the Inca trail, there were coca leaves, those made up for a lot of the lack of eenrgy I may have had otherwise.

What is the point?

As hard as it was, we endured. Near the top, we got to the point where we went 100 steps and then sat down for 30 breaths. This strategy worked well. When you break things into manageable tasks, they become much easier. One foot in front of the other 100 times and you are there, repeat, and you are there in no time.

A 14er is a metaphor for life. It is wild and wide open nature. The world is real out there. Rainstorms can start anytime, winds can blow in a storm and then blow it away, temperature shifts can switch faster than the fastest packer can change into the layers. It is deceptively sunny and then it all changes.

In life, you can meet difficulties at any time. The key is to be flexible, to allow yourself to dig deep and then put one foot in front of the other. 100 steps, then breather deep re-assess, rinse and repeat.

Curl on,



In my last post I spoke of epochs in life, of finding your passion, diving into your work and putting the time in so you can reap the benefits of the lightning strike of inspiration as it channels through your spirit. As it so happens this very metaphor played itself out tonight in my post-yoga headspace and in the Denver skyline.

The feeling was evocative of an epoch. So perhaps this really is it. The feeling that has been building in the gut, not talking about my gut flora, that tells me I may be arriving soon. The fear has not reared yet or perhaps fear’s time is past. The kind that has held me back from striving forth and grasping my dreams from the air. The fear that kept my soul in a nice neat little box until a few years ago. And so that is all there is right? The fear is gone so now it is just an easy dreamlike sway into the free life, the real life.

Oh how very wrong. You know better than that.


This isn’t of tonight, but I am sure there will be some magnificent photos popping up from tonights light show.        Photo by Christopher Bebout, his site is http://500px.com/beboutphoto.I found this photo on this post http://staggeringadvice.blogspot.com/2014/03/these-extraordinary-photos-of-us.html

This is where the real work begins. Work? Uh oh fear is back, why though? This is what I have been waiting for, the beginning of the ascent. I have to channel that pre-meet feeling. The morning of, early in the water for warm up. Stepping up onto the blocks, the anxiety hits hard, but the closer I get to those moments the desire trumps the fear and in I go lungs full of air, dive in undulating and breaking out one or two breaths per length, powering through the third wall and into the finish. That is the kind of drive I need to channel. The 100 butterfly drive, swam that event more than any other in my life, and so I must apply it to each moment. Looking back I can see that I have used it before. Before the Triathlon, I was nervous, I wasn’t sleeping, but I was excited and that drive got me through. And so I know I can channel this spirit in my adult times. The athletic prowess is long gone and I am but a shadow of what I once was, but those lessons remain. The drive to do things that matter, to put in the work is still there, waiting to be used.


This is what I prepare for. What took so long? Maybe fear of failure maybe fear of success. None of that matters now, at least not at this moment. Now is the time to work and build the dream. Committing now is gold.    

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”—Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho

And so the epoch is here, lighting has struck, so many times now that I must pick a bolt and wield its thunder to forge this dream, carving out with the tools of my soul.

While I may not know where this will lead, I know the free life awaits down the next bend, even if I don’t understand the meaning yet.

“Just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean that the explanation doesn’t exist.”—Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time


Curlin’ on