Sunday, May 31, 2015

"The First Time This Was Heard..."

"A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are for...". John Shedd

The first time this was heard on Outward Bound, it struck a few as funny because while this old quote reflected on ships and the ocean, we were deep within the mountains.
Yet metaphors and Outward Bound blend together like summits and the sky, so the next few times we heard this we listened with different ears...
Now, looking far back to those origins and beginnings, many of us can see as well how Outward Bound had firstly sent us forth - launched our very selves and lives upon so many amazing undertakings.
We have since propelled ourselves towards mountain summits, then launched further when rappelling on our return. We've initiated treks so far, taken first steps out in wild places previously only envisioned, gone forth on the open ocean and among canyons so much farther and deeper than ever expected.
Such launchings...
So many wonderful journeys, all from those first fledgling beginnings.
We adventurers are born for this kind of experience. It is elemental, primal, an inherent part of us and what we do when we wander the wild places.
Soon, many of you are about to 'commence once more', for long days and as many nights. You will adventure out towards your farthest, most elusive wild place yet, with new expansive intentions, towards those dreams only known upon a map until those moments become real. 
Your goal is the creation of memories, that would not have been a possibility, without being sent off in those truly encouraging ways, much like many of us were long ago on Outward Bound..... DSD 


"Attitude is one of those words that gets thrown around like it means something. It does, but not what most people think. It's not about how you look, dress, move, talk, or anything else you can work out with your bedroom mirror. Attitude is if you see somebody struggling, do you help... It's walking a moonlit forest like you belong there. It's going up against real obstacles and getting knocked around. Once. Twice. A zillion times. Then getting up. That's it. Just getting up over and over until one day, you're up all the way. And it can be anything. Sailing. Sea kayaking. Canoeing. Rock climbing. Whatever...". Outward Bound
Oh, how I've mused over the years, about these very words...
As a teenager I discovered Outward Bound but was not able to attend until later. I dreamt longingly of what I would experience there and was not disappointed. My first experience set the course for many adventures to follow.
This was also not to be my only Outward Bound course either.
I was mentored about attitude and adventure.
I learned that what we often believe is only 'out there' we actually can create 'within' as well. And there was indeed 'more within me' than I had ever thought.
My first solo was with them and these too have continued to be enduring, powerful experiences.
Outward Bound is an experiential adventure metaphor in motion... and has been the first such exposure that many great adventurers found for themselves in their youth. Kurt Hahn and the Outward Bound Schools have such an attitude of service and have given so much to both individuals and their communities.
I am proud of my OB memories and pins, and grateful for the instructors and their guidance.
It was during these experiences that I first started thinking that if I can do these things, so many others can too, and if so many of us can then....... DSD

Saturday, May 30, 2015

"Our Shared Competition..."

"There is more adventure in climbing than other sports, yet the competition with oneself in climbing is more exciting than the competition you have with other athletes...".  R. Cassin

"The Path Of The Mountain..."

"I've written about 'The Path of the Mountain...'. That means a way of living and a way of looking for your own truth which in the case of mountaineers is climbing mountains. Through mountaineering you expect to find out something about yourself and the world around you. Climbing is the activity through which I find out the best truth about myself and the surroundings of nature...".  V. Kurtyka 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

"Perhaps Even Transcendence..."

"In the desert, I hoped to find pure nature, in its canyons the keys to mysteries, on its peaks perhaps even transcendence...".  L. Hogue

"It Was Indeed Magic..."

"I know now that it was nothing short of magic revealed in the fifty-below zero cloud undercast that occluded everything but ourselves on an island of ivory beauty and allowed us to finish our climb. It was indeed magic to find that the initial commitment and inner strength can bring you back down alive in the midst of such an undertaking...".  J. Waterman

Sunday, May 24, 2015

"Softly Singing....."

I'm not sure when I noticed, but on a solo scramble, at some point amidst that long climb, I found myself softly singing...
There didn't seem to be a lot of words to this tune, only a bit of melody there as well. But isn't it amazing my Friends, when we discover ourselves doing this kind of thing out within the trials of our adventures.
We are surely happy within our efforts.
It was indeed a different mountain scramble, with challenging route finding and exposure, and a much longer day than I had expected.
Yet the harder it got, the more rhythm I seemed to find within me - just singing & humming softly in those special ways we all know and share in from out there.
I believe this was likely more about contentment and spirit, than any attempt at distraction from the efforts. Although that in itself can be a useful technique for keeping going.
I think it was later on the summit, when I began to realize what those sounds, this elusive music and words meant.
I was just so happy back then to be there, just so appreciative that I still could adventure so after these long years, and with my health challenges.
Then I started that even more daunting descent, simply, quietly, singing softly to myself..... DSD
Thank you for your images my Friends.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

"Deciphering The Stone..."

"I close my eyes. The rock takes on a deep texture. Grooves and lips I haven't noticed before emerge under my fingers. I sweep slowly and begin to construct a mental map of the rock. There is so much here than I ever realized... I'm consumed by deciphering the stone, as if its story is here in Braille...".  J. Auld

Friday, May 22, 2015

"Many Paths..."

"Many paths lead to the summit. But it takes a whole body to get there. We are all trying to get to the summit, and there are many valid paths leading to the top. Of course, the view and terrain on one side of the mountain will differ from the other, but the summit is identical no matter what your approach. Whatever your path, all that matters is that you commit yourself totally to following it. As long as we all climb, each from our own direction, we will reach the summit...". D. Ming-Dao

Thursday, May 21, 2015

"I Found..."

"I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in...".  J. Muir

"A Pebble Thrown..."

"I feel as though I found meaning while walking in the woods... A pebble thrown into a pond creates ripples of water which sends ripples into the air and so on and so forth... This rippling effect followed me back into society and strengthened my beliefs in the interconnectedness of all things. It boosted my beliefs that people must be good to each other, as the ripples aren't just in the water, but in the conversations and actions we have with each other...".  S. Haraldson

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


"It is the Way of the mountain... The Japanese affix the suffix 'do' to the names of arts. 'Do' usually translates as the 'Way'. 'San' can be used to mean mountain. I decided to create a new word, 'Sando', as meaning the Way of the Mountain. I bow towards the mountain, and whisper Sando to the wind, hoping it will carry all the way to the summit...".  N. Shulman

Sunday, May 17, 2015

"Mountains Never Likely To Climb..."

Quite some time ago I rediscovered an old passage that told the story of an Elder who planted countless trees during her life. In later years she was still doing so even though most of these trees, she would never see mature, nor would likely ever sit under and enjoy their shade after such efforts...
I was reminded of an adventure experience of our own from ages ago that happened during those impressionable, open eyed, early years we all pass through and often try and hang on to.
We met an Elder, back then, who was labouring upon a newer trail bearing towards a valley and mountain range seldom seen. Clearly, the trail would be needed as the possibilities therein for hiking, scrambling, and climbing were many and so intriguing. Ours was likely one of the earliest groups to wander in that remote area, and we were all surprised by our encounter with this trail steward. His age seemed very advanced to ones so young as us, and I smile today when I think I am likely older now than he was back then - but his efforts and strength were drawn from a unique passion, a sense of dedication, a powerful commitment, and were not diminished by any typical chronological measure.
Still, that Old Man of the Mountains was working that day upon the beginnings of a potentially very long trail, one that he may never have seen completed, might never have really trekked upon himself, towards a mountain range he would never likely climb among...
I have pondered in that timeless way we all do, over those moments we shared with him during our break that day. Our focus was on the distance, our efforts were to get further out there, and we were not wondering much about what we were standing upon then nor who we were sharing the ground with.
Yet I carried that image of him with me throughout our adventures out there the following weeks. There was just something about him. There was a substance to what he was achieving that I had not touched yet, a reflection of commitments and adventures of another kind...
He is surely hiking other paths and climbing higher places of spirit now.
That trail he was creating back then is used today by many each season, as they journey towards mountains he never likely climbed.
I wonder if they can feel his presence out there as they pass over the ground he prepared and passed forward to us. I sincerely hope so.....

"Simply Because..."


'To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required, not because others may be doing it, not because we seek any votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich...'.  J.F. Kennedy

Saturday, May 16, 2015

"Remember, Again And Again..."

"Remember, again and again, that the true journey is into the undiscovered land of your own imagination, which you could not have explored any other way than through these adventures, with gratitude in your satchel, and compassion for all you see as your touchstone...".  P. Cousineau

Friday, May 15, 2015

"Jake Norton & All Of Our Support For Nepal..."

"A Life List is, in the end, nothing more than a tool to look back on our lives and consider how we spent our brief moments on Earth. And what if, in those final breaths, you realize - I never gave anything back...". J.B. MacKinnon

A musing that forever echoes...
Please look over the articles and many options for support that Jake Norton has gathered up for everyone to share in. He is a trusted friend, worldly mountaineer, and a true advocate.
Thank you my friends... DSD

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

"Deep Within Our Moments..."

Back in those initial moments.
During all of that intensive preparation.
We each dreamed of eventually being on our way.
Towards a longed for journey of adventure - and then we began...
Up there in those unfolding moments.
Upon that long winding ridgeline.
Over rock we were not sure of.
We felt there would be so much energy and excitement - and there clearly was...
Amidst those very challenging moments.
Throughout the route, and then the crux of this chosen mountain.
We thought there would be those engaging sensations of such focus and concentration - and there certainly were...
Then deep within those forever moments.
Finally upon our so elusive summit.
Within that calmness of winds, clouds, and perceptions.
We hoped for those gentle emotions of contentment and connection - and now there always will be..... DSD 

"A Great Moment..."

"This is a great moment, when you see, however distant, the goal of your wandering. The thing which has been living in your imagination suddenly becomes a part of the tangible world...".  F. Stark

Monday, May 11, 2015

"The Very Essence Of Mountaineering..."

"That, when all is said and done, is the very essence of mountaineering. That it is, by materialistic standards, useless... that it is one of those rare and precious human activities that man performs for their own sake, and for that alone...".  J.R. Ullman

Sunday, May 10, 2015

"Our Deepest Bonds..."

"It is within nature that we form our deepest bonds. Young, old. Mother, child. Father, sister, brother. All...".  J. Muir

Saturday, May 09, 2015

"As A Way....."

"Walter Bonatti came to see climbing not so much as a conquest of peaks, as a conquest of oneself. For him, extreme alpinism served as a path to self-knowledge, a means of growth and renewal through contact with nature, and as a way of maintaining balance and sanity in a society growing excessively complex and complacent...".  N. O'Connell

"The Most Fundamental Axiom..."

"The most fundamental axiom in the mountains: live in the moment...".  J. Turk

Friday, May 08, 2015

"Grand Companions..."

“Give me a map to look at, and I am content. Give me a map of country I know, and I am comforted: I live my travels over again, step by step, I recall the journeys I have made; half-forgotten incidents spring vividly to mind, and again I can suffer and rejoice at experiences which are once more made very real. Old maps are old friends, understood only by the man with whom they have travelled the miles. Nobody could read my maps as I do. Lend a book to a friend and he can enjoy it and miss nothing of its story: lend him a map, and he cannot even begin to read the tale it has to tell. For maps are personal things which books are not. The appeal of an old map is to the memory; an old map spread across my knees closes my eyes. The older, the more tattered it is, the greater my affection for it. I recall our adventures together in storm and sunshine; an occasion, perhaps, when it slipped from my pocket and I searched my tracks anxiously, as for a lost companion, until it was found; an occasion, perhaps, when the mist was thick and instinct and the map urged different ways, and I followed the map and came to a safe ground again. Ah yes, maps are grand companions.”
AW Wainwright

"Never Forgotten..."

"We organize information on maps in order to see our knowledge in a new way. As a result, maps suggest explanations; and while explanations reassure us, they also inspire us to ask more questions, consider other possibilities."  P. Turchi

That was a very long trail. 
A trail winding far through distant valleys, then even further over a number of mountain passes. It would eventually loop through those mountain ranges, back once more upon itself, as it meandered around those many mountain peaks.
It was my trail to wander for those late season adventure days, as I wanted to simply solo hike, ponder, and wonder.
No other objectives in mind other than those of motion and musing...
From my gray haired experiences, I know that there is something always waiting out there for me.
Something beyond my expectations, usually way above my initial perceptions. Something wonderfully surprising, essentially elusive, always inviting.
After those long hours, when finally meeting that junction, where one trail branched to become three, I paused and breathed the crisp mountain air in, as I am sure most of do at that point.
I simply sat, munched some gorp, and eyed my water intake, as my mind cleared a bit more, getting the dust from back here out of its corners. Then snoozing for a few moments, and awakening as one who has sleep problems does after a short time, but usually more refreshed - I looked across and noticed it resting under some branches against a tree.
A map forgotten it was...
A map of this area of course, yet quite worn from folding, handling, with much character evident from long use.
Now came the questions about who had left it there, how long had it rested here. Should I simply leave it in case they return, or carry it further to the next campsite.
But on which trail would that be I wondered. Lot's of options; many plus's and minus's to each.
I decided to bring it home, my intention to later take it back. 
Then as I wrote these words out there, I also carried this little worn map on my return. Another later season journey.
Hoping that maybe on that trek I may meet its rightful owner, and we can then tell one another stories of the journeys this map has been on, and also of its wonderful company too.
For as we know my Dear Friends, maps always become close companions, and are truly never forgotten..... DSD 

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

"We All Are Elementally About Maps..."

R. Schultheis said, "There are many potential maps of course; physiological, psychological, biochemical, theological, and anthropological."
H. Lodge also wrote of us that, "How can your brain make sense of the staggering, impossible ocean of information that comes our way? The solution is brilliantly simple. Your brain makes maps. And not just a few maps, but maps of everything - thousands of them every second. Physical, social, and intellectual maps streaming in, emotional maps streaming out. To a large extent, you navigate your life from emotional maps". 

Sunday, May 03, 2015

"Of Efforts And Foresight..."

I've got to say. when I stand still up there, upon a very high point, while not simply composing these words - but gazing too out upon a sea of summits, pristine valleys, a distant river, way out far below...
I've got to tell you, someone had some real foresight.
Such distant vision.
Many have then made very distinct efforts.
To think that from way back then, they were aware of the probability that such wild places were so vulnerable. That they predicted those many potential pressures, and saw what could foreshadow and happen out there.
I've got to say how amazed and impressed I am at that kind of foresight.
When I ponder over our National Parks, and as we consider what efforts are being made for Nepal, I am so reminded of what others have been able to foresee.
The way they protected these wilds places, for the wild ones too, and rebuilt like now when it was most needed, for the generations to come. The care they had for the future was indicative of so much. What gifts they set aside for us to enjoy, what stewardship they established, which was to predestine taking care of so many and so much in this way.
Those who saw this.
Those who still do this now.
Those who pass this forward for us all. 
I've got to say what foresight they all show.
So let's take a moment and honour them this day..... DSD

"The True Result..."

"The true result of any endeavour, whether on a mountain or in any context... The real measure of success... The true value of the enterprise - lies in the example to others of human motivation and human contact...". J. Hunt

Saturday, May 02, 2015

"These People Will Give..."

"A people who climb the ridges and sleep under the stars in high mountain meadows, who enter the forest and scale peaks, who explore glaciers and walk ridges buried deep in snow - these people will give their country some of the indomitable spirit of the mountains...".  W. Douglas

"Adventure Is An Attitude..."

"Adventure isn't just hanging on a rope on the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day-to-day obstacles of life. Facing new challenges, seizing new opportunities, testing our resources against the unknown and, in the process, discovering our own unique potential...". J. Amatt 

Friday, May 01, 2015

"Do What We Can..."

"Do what we can, with what we have, where we are...". Anon
Trails can be trials, altitude inherently holds adversity, paddling comes with winds and waves, climbing always has its challenges.
We train, we prepare, and we carry all we think that we need in our backpacks: The essentials, the rough weather clothes, that extra piece of gear that just may be required.
Then a much bigger storm hits, then our internal resources are tested further too, and just when we often least may expect to see and feel it within ourselves, out of our pack then comes - character...
You with the adventure personality know what I mean.
You wanderers have felt that collective quality of latent tenacity. That distinctive something that is both seemingly insubstantial, and yet very truly substantial at the same time.
Like those extra layers of fleece, or that additional piece of gear, your character, your nature, is always there waiting to be utilized, practiced with, and applied.
When those real storms hit, then out of your pack it comes forth.
More than only a tendency to carry on.
Rather it is your own intrinsic unique style of going even that much further.
Because we each individually choose to go farther.
Then we will enjoy it even more as we embrace our adventure challenges in this distinctive way.
Character is a deeper element of endurance and commitment. Not often recognized, but do we ever know it when we see and feel it.
Like a polished piece of old worn reliable gear, it is always, always, there waiting for us, and the more use it has, the better it becomes..... DSD