Sunday, June 8, 2014

Chirico 17peat

I set forth with an impossible goal because I wasn't sure exactly how long it would take to work through the issues I needed to work through. I found my answer at an odd number, 17. Unlike the past where I would have kept pushing my body through pain for some arbitrary goal I simply stopped. I was at peace physically and mentally with what I had done.
It was good to walk away not feeling at all like I had unfinished business. I simply went until I was done. And when I was done, I knew that I was done. And I stopped.

There is something about seeing two people not much older than you pass away to make you reconsider everything. I consider myself someone who follows her dreams and her heart, but really, am I living every moment as fully and thankfully as I can? Am I being true to myself in my choices of work, play, and partners? Am I really just making choices based on fear and the subconscious belief that I have another 50+ years to do all those things that I can/should/want to do?

I believe your heart always knows the answer. Sometimes it's just waiting for someone to ask the question.

So, with that on my mind I arrived at the base of Tiger Mountain at 5am and began to climb. And when I reached the top I turned around and went back down. Again and again for 24 hours. I carried everything I needed in my Ultimate Direction Fastpack. Every climb asked me questions of self-exploration and destiny. Every descent asked me what my body was willing and able to handle. Climbing 28,900ft in 24 hours is to most people, extreme. To me, it was simply a Wednesday. A Wednesday in which I answered a lot of questions within myself. What I want in life and how to get it. Who I want to share it with and why. Whether I want to do the things I have said I want to do, or whether I do them because I have no idea what else to do with myself. Is Anish a one hit wonder or do I have more to do? Do I really have anything left I need to prove? Have I ever really been trying to prove anything at all or am I simply madly in love with wilderness and the physical and mental challenges of endurance?

17 rounds on Tiger to wrestle with the answers. 24 hours and one dark and windy night to acknowledge some painful and not so painful truths. 28,900 ft of climbing, 28,900ft of descending to feel enlightened as only suffering in this way can do.

Aside from the dozens of non-interactive hikers and a friend who descended one lap with me and Adam, who brought me an amazing dinner and coffee at 8:30pm I was alone. The aloneness is sometimes hard, but mostly it is rewarding. It forces the issues. There are no distractions or ways to avoid exactly what is running through your mind. And when you're tired and you just don't want to think anymore, you must. There is no one to hide behind.

"There is something about the first desperately awaited ray of dawn coloring the horizon when you have faced the Night. 
It awakens a thankfulness not only for the strength of your body, but for life itself. 
We are all beautifully scarred by life's wounds. But the scars denote healing. They are what tell the story of our triumphs and all the ways we have healed. They proclaim our ability to overcome--to face the Night.
17 repeats on Chirico in 24 hours. I can still climb but my quads are shot for descending. My body would have preferred I quit hours ago. Instead I continued on. Not from stubbornness or pride, but to face the Night. To allow scars to form where I have wrestled with grief and with destiny on this sliver of trail for an entire rotation on our axis.
No matter how dark, I will always choose to face the Night.
No matter how long or cold or alone, I will hold the promise of pale dawn in my heart.
I am thankful for the strength of my body. For the blessing of being alive."

"Starting the day-
Another chance to be new again.
How many of us still wish for that?
To be your own sunrise.
To awaken like a prayer-
Both solemn and joyful at being alive."
-Carew Papritz