Sunday, July 31, 2016

"Bowing And Respect..."

We were not sure what we were watching, but were certain it was important, when a fellow climber had stayed back some during our descent. 
Then when finally mostly alone, she quietly turned and slowly gave a simple bow in the direction of the mountain.
We needed no explanation at that point...
A mountain upon this Earth is an elemental entity like rivers, canyons, and oceans that as adventurers we learn to respect.
Adventures are experiences that may instill such reverence too for these elements, the challenges, and the wild places themselves out there.
Well known among our Eastern Family - the nature of the bow; when we incline our head or body; when we bend or kneel - is an acknowledgment and appreciation for something we find very important to us.
Something that is often perceived as greater than ourselves.
In bowing down before or to something in such salutation, we are saying much without words.
What seemed to be a simple action by our fellow climber has resonated with us now in a profound and powerful way.
Experiences are often ushered in or out with a bow; a moment of distinct pause; where we wish to express our respect and thanks together for what has been passed to us. Something I intend to practice more of each sunrise in my wanderings...  DSD 

"So Worth Knowing..."

"Who has not spread out a map on the table and felt its promise of places to go and things to do and see... Maps embody a perspective of that which is known, and a perception of that which may be worth knowing." J. Wilford

Saturday, July 30, 2016

"Seeing, Sensing, Being..."

What we see in a mountain, is not just rock.
What we feel within a river, are not only the moving waters present.
That which we embrace of a coastal island, is not simply an isolated wild place.
Those depths we begin to realize about canyons, are not only about darkness and the unknowns.
That which we come to understand during hikes and treks, isn't reflective of just distances and times.
The messages given by a forested valley, are not only about the terrain.
How we journey among northern lakes, is not really about the travelling.
What we perceive within our mountains, is clearly not only about stone.
The truth of it is - that attaining our elusive summit, will not be the end of our ascent...
Adventure at first maybe seems to just be a word. 
Yet, then, becomes an experience of so very much more than ever first realized..... DSD  

Dedicated to all those who Adventure For Another Reason .

"A Farther Musing..."

"Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance...".   K. Gibran

Thursday, July 28, 2016

"Just Below The Top..."

"On the summit, I had sprung a surprise while standing just below the top, refusing to make the last few steps.
I explained why to the cameraman.
Our trip was not about making the top, it's about something greater.
And by stopping below the summit, this is my gesture or respect for the mountain...".   J. Waterman

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"Adventurers Both Climb And Move Mountains..."

"Simple can be harder than complex, You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.
But it's worth it in the end, because once you get there, you can move mountains...".   S. Jobs

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

"Farther Importance..."

"What you do on your own scale for your own soul is all that matters... Walking skillfully along the top of the world we may receive a priceless vista of our lives and that which is truly important to us...".  J. Salz

"Far More Important..."

"That first flash of imagination, those first, simple ideas of the mountains - perfect snow pyramids, glistening with sunlight in rarified air. That is the true form of these mountains; not only their physical manifestations, but their metaphysical truths...
It is the thing not seen, known only by its effects.
Untraceable on maps, but far more important.
Like clouds, like love, like gravity...".   J. Auld

Monday, July 25, 2016

"Rick McCharles Of 'Best Hike'..."

Our very good friend Rick McCharles continues this year to 'Adventure the World Over'. 
He is followed by a great many on 'Best Hike', where he informs and invites us to follow along in each others boot steps, whether by foot, bike, or in spirit.
Rick is an inspiration. Recently he passed forward a little smile tucked into one of my favorite trees, the Arbutus, alongside a trail he was journeying upon.
That had me smiling as well! 
Thanks Rick! And those little cobblestones are making their own journey for you as well.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

"Of Journeys..."

"Our world is not only discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but also by a very personal spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our feet, and learn to be at home. It is a journey we can make only by the acceptance of mystery...".  W. Berry

"Your Little Stone's Journey..."

Often when painting these small rocks.
While listening to the birds or the wind in nearby trees, and sometimes to specifically selected music.
I will choose my next stone.Admire it closely, and turn it over as I decide upon its best surface.
They are such an enduring, unique medium for my simple form of Naive art...
As I gaze over the three dimensional surface I can sense its character. 
The tiny ridges, crystals, and cracks, that form a small world of their own, with all the elements of wild lands themselves.
I enjoy them much like the Ancients would a Scholar Rock.
I can, at times, lose myself, in running my fingers along and travelling over a stones' face.
Often can I recall too what adventure I was on when this particular rock was gathered up.
My friends chuckle about how my pack or kayak is usually very much heavier coming back than when going out.
Then, as I begin this special process the same unanswerable question develops as a thought in my mind. 
"Where will you end up little stone...?" "You have come such a long way", I muse, and are now undergoing a transformation of sorts.
Much as I have over these last decades of adventure in the wild places, in slowly gaining an awareness of the importance of giving back.
Although I know I have no control over who will find these, I do wonder about that moment in time, place, and activity.
Will they see this as an intrusion in their adventure day.
Or will they accept this small gift, and take it away, in the spirit in which it was gathered, painted, mused over, and later placed.
The locations these stones are returned to are usually not as wild as where they were originally found.
The vast majority are placed where a human presence has already been long established.
While I understand people will make what they will of them, I hope as I begin to slowly paint, that the 'Finders' just may reflect for a moment upon this little stones' journey. 
Why someone would do this.
And just maybe they might consider for a moment then, what they themselves may choose to give back & pass forward.
Then this little stones' journey really has no end.....  DSD  

Saturday, July 23, 2016

"Of Wonder And Wandering..."

"Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder...".    G.K. Chesterton

It's not that there wasn't an objective in mind for that mountain scramble day. 
It isn't that I hadn't chosen certain goals to attain up there, from gaining that height, traversing those ridges, and making my way through those very challenging rock bands. 
Yet I had also intentionally decided upon a more subtle focus, a quieter way of being, even in the midst of this fully committed climbing adventure. 
Thus, I also wanted it to be a day of wonder...
For such mindful journeys out there - of the body, mind, and spirit too, open us up to so many other levels of experiences, different epiphanies, surprising, remarkable, even strange and puzzling marvels.
It's not that the objectives weren't important, but it was a matter of putting the goals into perspective: Yes to perform but also to attend; certainly to push yet also to allow. 
Of course this all would require effort - but of another gentler kind as well...
I believe when we are aware of wandering in this way, we return to our beginnings, to the origins of why we do what we do out there, to those primal elemental sources that called to us in the very first place. 
It is not that we are ignoring our goals and expectations; rather we are adventuring a bit beyond them.
So, that day I must have gently reminded myself a hundred times (like with the simple returning to the mantra of a meditation): 'I wonder...', 'I wonder...', I said about what was coming next, over what I would really see, then feel, and eventually embrace and remember.
I long wondered what the next unfolding step would reveal. Then pondered what wonderous things would show themselves from within that beautiful alpenglow, and from above those engaging cliff bands. 
I long wondered, and longer wandered, very much beyond those initial objectives, and became further filled with so much more..... DSD 
My gratitude for sharing your wandering images my Friends.

Friday, July 22, 2016

"In The Company Of Others..."

“We make our journey in the company of others; the deer, the rabbit, the bison, and the quail walk before us, and the lion, the eagle, the wolf, the vulture, and the hyena walk behind us. All our paths lay together... None is wider than any other or favored above any other. The worm that creeps beneath your foot is making its journey as surely as you are.”  D. Quinn

"For Fur, Feathers, And Fins Friday's..."

“How monotonous our speaking becomes when we speak only to ourselves! And how insulting to the other beings – to foraging black bears and twisted old cypresses – that no longer sense us talking to them, but only about them, as though they were not present in our world…Small wonder that rivers and forests no longer compel our focus or our fierce devotion. For we walk about such entities only behind their backs, as though they were not participant in our lives. Yet if we no longer call out to the moon slipping between the clouds, or whisper to the spider setting the silken struts of her web, well, then the numerous powers of this world will no longer address us – and if they still try, we will not likely hear them.”                D. Abram

Thursday, July 21, 2016


Arete. A ridge-like feature or a sharp outward facing corner on very steep rock.

Arete.  The qualities of excellence and character.

Two words. Nouns and verbs. Many meanings, Especially for those who adventure...   DSD  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


There is a so quiet time of certain days, when if only for brief moments, if we stand very, very still out there and maybe even hold our breath - then maybe we just might share in the experience of the spirits walking...
These so still ephemeral moments happen when that silky fog drifts in over a quieted ocean, or across that beach you've just landed upon. They walk from the water towards the trees, so slowly, always from the water. 
These elementals walk too among the earliest morning mountain mists, both before and after storms, when the wind has yet to disturb them. 
They wander among alpine meadows, brushing the dew from the grass and then resting near the timeless rocks out there.
Such spirits rise up and drift too over those yet to be frozen waters of northern lakes, where the colder approaching winter air greets them and the dense fog that is then embraced.
Then they look for us as we slowly paddle and hike among them.
They sit quietly as well among the stones of many rivers when they need a longer rest, or when they want to connect and converse with us, telling stories and laughing much as the water does over the wet rocks and rapids.
Such swirls of movement and memory, so much evoking of spirit and emotion. 
They may be mostly hidden among the elements, yet they watch and wait patiently for our return.
So then they may encircle each of us, while we are wandering within our own journeys, in a waking of so many kinds of spirits out there.....  DSD

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"Seeking Spirits..."

"If we are seekers, then we shall find." Deng Ming-Dao

Adventuring, wandering, seekings...
Setting out towards serendipity.
Looking out there among our most inner terrain.
In the act, within the efforts, are the answers.
The wonderful, the personal, the natural, the subtle, the surreal, the elemental.
The spirit of seeking is the key to what is being sought...
Seekers, seer's, sorcerers, searchers...
What we pursue, we become.
We seek ourselves, yet find so much more.....  DSD  

"Mountain Spirits..."

"Shan: Mountain. The ancients believed that there was something called the mountain spirit...". Deng Ming-Dao  

Monday, July 18, 2016

"Li Po's Musings..."

"You ask me why I dwell on the green mountain
I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care
As the peach blossom flows down stream
And is gone into the unknown
I have a world apart that is not among men...".   

"Flocks of birds have flown high and away.
A solitary drift of cloud, too, has gone wandering on.
And I stand alone with this mountain peak, towering beyond.
We never grow tired of each other, the mountain and I...".      Li Po  

"Touchstone Art..."

"Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul...".  W. Maugham
"A work of art is above all an adventure of the mind...".  E. Lonesco

"A Wondering Why..."

"Why is it
Among the most glacial mountain peaks
I find
The greatest warmth..?"  I. Granger

Sunday, July 17, 2016

"Paddling Towards Those Rainbows..."

Far out upon the open ocean once more, out in my sea kayak with friends yet again, noticing the setting sun's light shining through the waves - discovering rainbows in the water then dripping from my paddle.
Long minutes become enduring memories, precious moments of time, then so very cherished, quiet reflections of these endless wonders, we are all so gifted to experience.
Quietly, gratefully also remembering, such rainbows too from forever flowing waterfalls, those colors as well amidst falling rain and rising mists, after powerful storms have quieted, and double rainbows that always carry such ancient meanings...
Then, when out upon the open ocean, once more drifting slowly with the currents, the blending of experiences and emotions all unfolding, simply pondering little rainbows off my paddle..... DSD 
Dedicated this adventure day to all our Friends who are starting their summer season of Adventuring For Another Reason . May the winds be at your back, the sun over your shoulder, the rainbows showing their smiles, and the whispers of those moments be forever heard...
My appreciation too for sharing your rainbow moments with us my Friends.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

"Meeting An Old Friend..."

"As I look for the route, a silhouette descends the skyline. A grey figure, quiet as memory, settles on a large block, pulls his ropes, then notices me... The climber wore an old style of clothing, I think, or was that the effect of dimming clouds...".  J. Auld

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"Like Fire..."

"When a summit is windblown and polished, forming a delicate ice layer over melting snow, and the sun is just right, you can see firn spiegel, or snow mirror. I came over a cornice once and the whole surface was dancing... Like it was on fire underneath...".  J. Auld

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"What Will Be Revealed..."

"I wait for the light and the mountain to show the way... I dig my way through pink dolomite, imagining in each a clear rock. Each stone that pulls free under my grasp shows more broken layers. What if I were to scrape them all away? Would I get to the heart of the mountain. Where there is no weathering and no cracks... Would I reveal the crystal core...".  J. Auld  

Monday, July 11, 2016

"My Sincere Gratitude For Sharing Your Wonderful Inspiring Images..."

Thank you once more my Friends for allowing your so wonderful inspiring images to be shared here!
My intention with including such images & pictures of beauty and awe, is in support of all the links on my blog under 'Giving Back & Passing Forward'. 
There will never be anything commercial about these musings. 
I have always acknowledged that the vast majority of the images shared here were not created by me, as I am not talented in that way. Many have been sent to me or have been suggestions provided by fellow adventurers, so I am unable many times to give specific acknowledgements unfortunately. In my enthusiasm about your artistry I can also be forgetful when saving them, to record their origin at that time.
If I can make amends for this it will always occur as best I can right when such images are posted. 
I promise that I will also certainly acknowledge others work if you let me know as well, and then I will immediately attribute creative efforts where they clearly belong. 
It is with deep appreciation that your sharing images in this way is felt in support of those who are Adventuring For Another Reason . My whole adventure blog speaks to these initiatives.
You have such amazing pictures, and resonating metaphors within them, reflecting these links who give back and pass forward with their ongoing enduring efforts. 
Please forgive my grey haired forgetfulness in not always following proper internet protocol when it comes to such things. I am a late bloomer in the blogging and social media worlds.
Please also accept my sincere gratitude for your sharing and understanding in allowing for such support of the links here.
Thank you all so very, very much!      DSD      

"Have A little Listen And Enjoy....."

Hope your adventure was the time of your life... 

"Not Later..."

Either you are for it or against it.
So be here now.
Not later...".   C.  Papritz

Sunday, July 10, 2016

"Our Deepest Moments..."

"Deeper 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  

For all of  you who are still underway 'Adventuring For Another Reason'. 
It is a privilege to share in your journeys .
It is an honour to know you all my Friends....... 

"Forever Moments..."

"Forever is composed of nows...".   E. Dickinson

Saturday, July 09, 2016

"Sharing Ridgelines..."

The elements placed this mountain and its' knife like ridgelines, and even sharper summit, just so out there...
Right above Lake O'Hara. It is in the center of everything, holding one of three amazing alpine routes across its face, surrounded and embraced by the majesty of some of the most amazing peaks among these ranges. 
Then there are the seemingly countless alpine lakes and hidden tarns that rest all around this summit and the many valleys too.
Mt. Yukness. Whose formal title actually means 'sharpened with a knife', is a cherished favourite among favourites in this backyard we call our Northern Rockies.
That mountain and I have shared many an adventure day, and its giving of these special experiences has inspired me to return the gesture when returning on my wanderings up there.
The one experience I enjoy the most, is to be the first one up on this summit, with as early an alpine start as I can make. This allows for time with my old rocky friend on my own, then to enjoy a much slower descent while waiting...
Waiting for the next scramblers on their own ascent. To meet with them on this path. To pass forward some smiles and greetings. Then just before continuing on, I so enjoy saying, "Oh, by the way, here is something for you on your adventure today. Open them at the summit".
Placing Summit Stones in summit cairns is a special experience.
Once in a while, placing them hands of fellow adventurers, on their way up, is a truly unique passing forward moment..... DSD 

Friday, July 08, 2016

"Real Wolves..."

"That night the wind was howling almost like a wolf, and there were some real wolves off to the west giving it lessons...".  G.R.R. Martin

"Like The Wolf..."

"Do not fear the force of the wind, nor the slash of the rain.
Go face them.
Be savage again.
Go hungry and cold like the wolf.
Go wade like the crane.
The palms of your hand will thicken.
The skin of your cheek will tan.
You will grow ragged, weary, and swarthy.
But you will smile and walk like a man...".  H. Garland

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

"And Yet Further Go..."

“You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!”   Dr. Seuss

"Oh, The Places You'll Go..."

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”.    Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

"Outward Bound And Clocks & Compasses..."

My current watch worn when out adventuring is a complex little thing.
Lots of options and information can it provide. It also has a small compass on the wrist band too. 
Interesting what sparks a memory, and then some musings as well at times, from so far out there...
After attaining a past summit, then tucking myself up in among the rocks, listening to the stories the wind was sharing, and watching the dancing of the clouds - then I ended up just gazing at this watch, and even more so at that compass.
A very long time ago, on one of my Outward Bound courses, while learning the fine arts and crafts of navigation, we gathered around a large boulder. 
Then one of our Leaders invited some intriguing discussion.
"Which do you think...", she quietly asked, as she placed both her watch and compass up on that rock, "Which do you think is more important...".
Now that prompted much energetic pondering about time of day & energy, estimates of distance & direction, time taken on routes, even about using the watch to set a course as well. 
Then the conversation began a shift to something else we often touch upon within our adventures.
That there is real value in both clock and compass, and very individual symbolism and meanings to be discovered for each.
Having enjoyed other Outward Bound exercises like Your Mountains... Your Life... , and What The Mountains See In You... , we were ready now for sharing about what is our most common ground, the terrain we all journey through - the passage of time over the course of our lives...
You know all those studies that Behavioural Scientists do. They conclude that past a certain amount of money and security, are the aspects of what individually represents fun, freedom, happiness, contentment, and joy for each. 
Then what time means and how we spend our time then, becomes the most pivotal factor.
The meaning this has for each of us is fundamentally important.
There are many kinds of time pieces and measures, within navigation and chronology, that adventurers have used historically, and that we seek and choose now.
We sense the meaningfulness of this out among those valleys and up on our summits.
We feel the truth of these ephemeral, seemingly invisible elements, as we do with wind and gravity.
We know the significance and value of time, like when we watch the endless tides, and for direction when we wander our ancient deep desert canyons.
We believe in the reality that our choices about both clock and compass, are what then determines what becomes the times of our lives.
On that Outward Bound course, we all then decided, so many years ago, that both clock and compass have real importance.
Yet in so many moments since, I still ponder how it sometimes still feels like the compass has the edge at times..... DSD 

"Keeping Our Compass At Hand..."

"The Ship's Captain will not throw the compass overboard because the wind blows fair and the day is funny. For he knows from experience of the ocean's instability, that the danger days of storms are always just ahead. So the compass must always be handy...
The compass must be ever at hand through life's journey. It will see us through trying times. And perhaps the most trying of all times comes when success is riding high and we may be tempted to throw the compass overboard. It is then we must remember that all good days in human life come from the mastery of the days of trouble that are forever recurrent...".  J.C. Penney

Monday, July 04, 2016

"The Points Of A Compass..."

The Compass Rose... is often described as an ancient navigational symbol; a figure of direction; and a mandala for Adventurers.
It can be seen in so many forms, like on my Outward Bound pins which I am gazing upon at this moment. Countless references can be found in readings and stories that reflect on the historical values of its use; and in the meanings and analogies for compasses.
The Compass Roses' age old perspectives re-minds me to see adventure experiences through 'long term eyes'.
There are powerful metaphors and depth of meaning in well applying concepts of navigation and direction within our outdoor lives, and not just in the most practical sense of finding our way.
This image of a Rose within the Compass holds mystery too in allowing us to set an unknown but intentional course over lands and waters previously only dreamed about, and do we not all simply love that.
We have owned many compasses over the years, and still have them all.
I enjoy discovering the Rose as the key placed upon antique maps, which displays the skill of the artist, and have often been put there for luck, especially when the world was uncharted as it is now.
I've often painted elements of the Compass Rose on these small Summit Stones under mountains and oceans, to capture a sense of their essence.
If only a hidden one...
Some of the very first Summit Stones were only the painted face of a Compass. Now many have North, South, East, and West woven into the lines of paint on mountains.
I remember... Finding a Compass Rose carved into a large piece of driftwood just off Quadra Island.
I recall... a passage from a book in my youth, whose Author wrote:
"Under the rock was the rose of a compass that was not supposed to be there, carved as clearly into the stone as if etched that very day. If done by the hand of a mason or the elements I could not tell".
We each truly love the sense of mystery that accompanies the Compass Rose.
I believe that while Maps carry promises...
Compasses show us one way to fulfill these... DSD  

Sunday, July 03, 2016

"Adventurous Relativity..."

F. Mitchell wrote: "I believe you don't stop hiking because you grow old. You grow old because you stop hiking."
I remember... the insightful attitude of a seventy plus year old climber who had more spirit than the twenty year old adventure athlete travelling with him.
I remember... a thirty something kayaker with more wisdom and insight than a retired wilderness guide we both know.
I recall too that age is such a relative thing. As in what Grey Wolf said: "You may be as old as they say, but you are really as young as you do...".
A few climbing seasons ago, I was scrambling with a close friend on Mt. Indefatigable in the Kananaskis region. I was leading and had assumed with our very early start that we were the first on the route that day.
Just below the summit, and on their way down, came two other climbers, much older than I but also clearly descending after being first up. We spoke briefly, and with smiles and that enthusiasm that comes from having just summited, they told me about their last few mountains, their years of retirement, and their plans & adventures to come.
Yet again, just when I needed it, came an experience that gave me pause to muse about my own concerns over the passing years and the impacts this was having on my outdoor endeavors.
They gave me a gift that day; so much more valuable than the little painted stone I put in one of their packs as we were just about to part company.
I am so grateful to have met and shared a few moments with such ageless adventurers...  DSD

"An Old Man Of The Mountains..."

Wonderful Wikipedia History of the story of one 'Old Man Of The Mountains'...

Saturday, July 02, 2016

"The Great Stone Face..."

"The Great Stone Face, then, was a work of Nature in her mood of majestic playfullness, formed on the perpendicular side of a mountain by some immense rocks; which had been thrown together in such a position as , when viewed at a proper distance, precisely to resemble the features of the human countenance. It seemed as if an enormous giant, or a Titan, had sculpted his own likeness on the precipice... If it had spoken, the voice would have rolled its thunder accents from one end of the valley to the other...".   N. Hawthorne

"Old Man Musings..."

"Gigantic sire, unfallen still they crest!
Primeval dweller where the wild winds rest!
Beyond the ken of mortal e'er to tell.
What sustains thee in they rockbound cell...".   M.B.Eddy  'The Old Man Of The Mountains'

Friday, July 01, 2016

"Canada Day Musings..."

"I grew up on the edge of a National Park in Canada - timberwolves, creeks, snow drifts. I really did have to walk home six miles through the snow, like your grandparents used to say...".  D. Aykroyd