“Why do we do it?", I asked my friend Ian.
We had just shared tears after completing something only a year prior we thought not possible.
It was the end of trekking five mountain passes. Four valleys. Each with nature’s greatest gifts. Each with overwhelming challenges. Scrambling boulder fields. Navigating ridge lines and following goat trails. Descending waterfalls. Ascending ice walls. Three packed days. That felt like weeks. This was my first trek at this level and during our traverse I was floored by every emotion. Speechless by it’s beauty. Lonely in it’s silence. Empowered by it’s challenges. Humbled by it’s rawness. And absolutely overwhelmed with fear, and stress by the reality that the risk involved could be fatal. This wasn’t your typical hike. There were several sections that seemed impassable; only one route existed. A couple of these sections took only a pep talk. “Calculated steps”, we’d say. But two had higher consequences. One missed step, meant our lives. You can pack all the gear. Review all the maps. Train your body. But nothing prepares you for that feeling. In the raw, exposed nature of these sleeping giants, all you have is courage, grit, awareness and your crew. Sometimes, even that seems to be stripped away. So go ahead, ask the question; I did too. “Why do we do it”? We do it to be reminded of what it is to be human. Incredible, capable beings. With the potential to do amazing things. We do it to find our EDGE. At that edge, you wrestle with resistance, self-doubt, fear and panic. At that edge you are reminded of all you have. You catch a glimpse of your people and the comforts, and you want to hang on to it. You almost wish you were there. Anywhere but here. But you chose this pursuit. And you know, you’ve been here before. Another time, place, in another way. Here. At this edge. Then, with trust in yourself. You act, stepping beyond that edge. In triumph over fear, you're overcome with fullness. A part of you seems left behind. In it's place, a greater sense of being, courage and capability. Your edge has been pushed. And in that, your reality of what is possible. The story you write for yourself. Of courage and bravery. The knowing, of how raw this world can be. That you choose to welcome it's greatest challenges. That is yours. No one can take that away from you.
If you have interest in traversing the Valhalla's, where you can find the most beautiful spots like Gwillim Lake, Mulvey Range, Gimli, Asgard and Wolfs Ears, send me a direct message. This is not recommended for anyone with less than several years of mountaineering experience.