Saturday, May 03, 2008

Frustrations and mountain climbing....

If you have enough mole hills, you have a mountain. Ever played whack a mole? I'm pretty good. I win prizes at Bush Gardens for it. My day to day life is all about whack a mole. I even have moles in my yard, for real. Mole hills every where, whack a mole, whack a mole. At work the moles currently whack us, there are so many.

I've been to the top of the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, The Blue Ridge Mountains, the Smoky Mountains, the White Mountains, and some mountain range near Bergen, Norway. There are still more mountains I would love to see and climb, but there are about 3 million mole hills in the way, and the largest mountain ever I'm still in the process of scaling. I meet a lot of other mountain climbers on the way. Each has a route picked out, and appear to be doing well. I'm struggling. Some say they have the big picture and offer advice, and like the tale of the man, the boy, and the donkey try to take it in only to realize they don't have the big picture, are climbing a different mountain, and are trying for a whole different objective. Mostly I could use a push now and then. I get easily distracted and start sliding backwards or get way off track. It is who I am. I don't need arm chair quarterbacks telling me what I need to do. I don't need criticism. In most cases I really don't need advice as I know where I want to go and how to get there. I need those arm chair people to throw a few blocks, stop a blitz, etc. I need some help whacking a few moles now and then.

One thing I've learned about hiking and climbing is that when you get to the top of one mountain, you look around and realize, rather dishearteningly, that there are a lot of other mountains on the other side. It's a good thing I like to climb mountains.

In 2002 I had to do some installs in Utah. I was going out for a week. My first trip to the Rocky Mountains and I was salivating. I packed up my snowboard and computer gear and flew out with child like anticipation. It was 70 degrees Sunday evening when I landed in Salt Lake City and every ski resort south of Vancouver BC was closed with one possible exception, Snow Bird, who said they may be open the following weekend. While I worked during the week the conditions had changed drastically. Basically a storm system rolled in Monday and kept rolling. It snowed non-stop at Snow Bird and when I got there Friday it was the best snowboarding ever. Deep, fresh powder everywhere. Saturday brought more of the same, only fierce. It was snowing a blizzard at the top of the mountain. Some people came down from the top of the mountain and said it was like a hurricane up there. I've been through hurricanes I thought...It surely can't be like that. So I went up. Traversing the lifts on the way up was very eerie. Each jaunt was less and less populated. When I go the lift to go to the top it was utterly deserted in every sense of the word. I think even the attendants left. It was windy, and visibility was almost about the length of my arm. The sign said experts only, conditions extremely hazardous. I didn't really know what that meant so I kept going. My gloves nearly froze to the bar on the way up. They were crackling so bad I thought they might break, but I was having trouble moving them so no chance of that happening. I was cold. The wind was furious. I couldn't see anything. I didn't know which way to go. I went up, then back down, then back up. I realized I was going to freeze if I didn't do something, so I pointed the board down to where the trees (I think they were trees) seemed most sparse. At points on the way down I found myself in waist to chest high drifts of powder. I didn't just want to go straight down because there are cliffs around...and I couldn't see anything. At one point I saw another person, a person shaped darkened outline sliding past. I shouted "Do you know where you are going? Do you know how to get down?" They answered "NO." And then I started laughing.

Why all of this for this post? I'm in that blizzard right now and can't see a damn thing. I can feel the slope, but can't see the pitfalls so I'm moving slow and cautious. Most of you reading this probably are too. I may not be able to give direction, and if most people are honest then they know they really have no idea how to get me where I want to go too, but I can offer a cup of coffee, a beer, a nice Cabernet Sauvignon or Chianti (Purple teeth are funny and the wine is really good), a fleece or a jacket, some conversation, a shovel and some muscle behind it help dig you out of a drift. I have a lot of tools that I have accumulated and can fix most any toy, electrical, or mechanical problem, but I'm horrible with people and relationships. I'm great with improvisation and impulsivity, but terrible at planning. I'm so easily distracted and overwhelmed that I'm a true hazard to myself. :-)

Off to hike....the blog has distracted me enough this morning!!!!


  1. You need to go snowboarding this summer, dude. Whatever country or hemisphere, with whoever or by yourself... just go create some more memories like that one.

  2. Delightful,
    Well, I'm trying to go scuba diving. :-) But Whistler, BC, Canada beckons...and I heard that Ft Lauderdale has very cheap flights to South America. If not snowboarding, maybe hiking in Peru to see some Incan ruins.

  3. Ah... adventure and exploration. Sometimes the best thing to do is keep going while others... it is to stop and listen; to be still. Trick is figuring out which is to be done at any given moment!

  4. Exception,
    I like the adventures and exploration that lead me to the quiet places where I can stop, listen, hear, and experience the still small voice (or voices) ;). I was out in the desert in Nevada once. I went outside of town to watch the sunset in the desert. It was a windless night. Once I stopped I was awed with how quite it was. My ears were ringing while they searched unsuccessfully for any sound at all. In a way I wish I could have stayed out there for days until the ringing went away and my ears totally "reset".


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