Sunday, July 14, 2013

"The Story Within His Pictures..."

At first glance, he seemed rather out of breath and not in the best shape too, which translated into also being much slower of pace. Our first encounter on that mountain was brief in some ways but lasting for both our memories.
It was later mid-day.
I was descending that challenging scramble route, now having climbed this favourite peak for a third time. I could see him on his ascent, likely long before he noticed me, as his head was mostly down and his pace quite laboured.
We were both on a solo adventure day out, so each of us smiled when we met, glad for a chance meeting on a distant ridgeline. While out of breath, he was very enthusiastic, asking about the route, and then telling me how this mountain had become a distinct goal for him...
He asked me to take a picture with his camera too, and broke into a huge smile as I did so. We chatted longer than I had expected and shared a few snacks. It greatly intrigued me how he was able to put his objectives, wants, and adventure desires into words of such detail, even though being a person of novice experience.
Just as we were about to depart on our own ways, I passed a Summit Stone forward to him. I thought it might serve as a bit of encouragement, which may go a long ways for all of us at times, and also as we both knew, he wouldn't be gaining the summit that day out...
But it was my sense that he just might return to that mountain - it is hard to keep an inspired, enthusiastic adventurer from their dreams.
Our second meeting was on the trail to his chosen mountain, with me returning from another nearby peak. He was coming back also after not attaining his summit, but having made it somewhat farther up the mountain and further along in his journey.
We shared some laughs once again and our tales of what adventures we each had enjoyed since our last time together. I took another picture of him with his camera and could see as I framed it, that he was looking very different at this point... There was still that grand engaging smile, yet there was also now there a person of more confidence, and in better shape too. When he showed me the Summit Stone I had given him some seasons back, I was quite surprised and humbled that he was actually carrying it.
It seems that little cobblestone in his hand had become something of a touchstone of encouragement for him, towards his goal of finally being up on that elusive chosen summit.
On our third get together, it was not by chance this time, as we had been corresponding some now. We knew each would both be in that area around a certain time. I was only going up to the pass there, which is the beginning of the scramble route upon his mountain. It was a day for gazing & musing, and pondering while writing. I wasn't sure we would meet, but later in the day recognized a familiar form on the descent.
He had made it!
The smile was even wider, the enthusiasms even more expansive. We shared a hug and some tears of joy, on his face reflecting the completion of his journey, and on mine as I so get caught up in another's emotions on such adventures. After a bit of rest and some water, even more excited conversation and snacks, he said he wanted to show me something. Out came those pictures I had taken during our last encounters. Then out came that little Summit Stone too. The pictures told the story of the seasons of himself on that journey. They also showed images of the adventurer he was clearly becoming within his quest...
He is in much better shape by far than me now, his pace assured, steadfast, and sustained. The mountains he is choosing now too have challenges second to none.
I was told back then that a small stone and a bit of encouragement had gone a long ways.
Thank you, my Friend, for allowing me to be a stepping stone within your journey, and I am so very grateful to have met you..... DSD

My appreciation for sharing your own images here my Friends, which tell their stories too of elusive mountains and our dreams for climbing them.

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