Idiot Hiking

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Idiot Hike: /ˈidēət hīk/ noun; climbing and bouldering up a large mountain in a deep canyon by yourself without telling anyone where you are going, without sticking to any man-made trail, and without bringing any food or water, just a backpack loaded with books and scriptures and a camera. 

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Yesterday I went on an idiot hike. I didn’t plan on going on a specifically idiotic hike, but as I sat in the Institute, remembering how my committee adviser had urged me to take the day off to re-energize myself, I decided I was going to drive up to Logan Canyon, find a mountain, and start climbing it. Just like that. Without any real preparation. Did I mention that it was a really cloudy day yesterday in the canyon? Thought I might mention that.

I think it’s safe to say that I wasn’t quite thinking smartly when I decided to embark on this adventure. Whatever the case, pulling out of Aggie Bullevard and toward the canyon filled me with the greatest exhilaration I’ve felt in a few weeks.

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I drove until mile marker 168, I think, and then pulled off the road to park near some of my favorite climbing walls in the canyon. Then the adventure began. I make it sound incredibly stupid, and it maybe was, but the truth is that it was the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long time. It was, in an odd way, a sort of spiritual journey. In my favorite, latest Pow Wow find, I packed Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Allie Bosh’s Hyperbole and a Half book, a mystery novel I’m reading for my class, a notebook, pens, my scriptures, and my journal, as well as my trusty camera. I guess you could say that if I was stuck on a desert island and had to pick my most valuable objects to stay with me, these would be they — excepting the mentioned books. I’d probably pick different books.
I followed a trail at first, then that trail disappeared and I started offroading it up the mountain. This particular mountain is composed of sheer limestone walls that you kind of have to climb over to get higher. So that’s what I did. I hiked then I bouldered then I hiked then I bouldered.
I’ve talked about this a lot before, but guys, there is nothing so incredible as climbing rock. Rock is solid and firm and yet it has personality. It moves like water, sometimes it just takes it hundreds of years to do so. That’s why I love it so much.

Mountains have scars and histories just like people do. Sometimes, like yesterday, I need solitude, and the only place I can find that is in the temple or in the canyon. It knows secrets, but does not tell them. It makes girls and boys men and women. I’m waxing a little over-sentimental here, but you get the picture.

Someone please tell me what the freak this is.

I climbed 3/4ths of the way up the mountain before finding a rocky embankment to settle down in. It was beautiful up there. So beautiful, I had to walk out to the edge and shout something. The first thing to come to mind and a phrase I’ll probably carry with me for the rest of my life is I am uninhibited. 

I have no pretenses, no masks, no tiresome charades. I don’t suppress who I am, but instead, burst with who I am. In the mountains, I am myself, and I am beautiful. The mountains make me human. I find myself there.

In case you’re ever curious about the life, this is the life:

Of course, climbing up is always easier than climbing back down. I know this, and yet, I continually ignore this. On my way down, I nearly ripped my shoe apart. I didn’t wear great ones in the first place.
Then, when I was trying to climb over the edge of a steep rock and land gently on the slope, I heard things crash around and watched my pens drop to the rocks beneath me. I was sighing with relief before I heard a large thunk and watched as my scriptures fell out of my backpack and began rolling 90 miles per hour down the mountainside. I watched for them, muttering, “Oh, no. Oh, no.” They just kept rolling and rolling and then rounded a corner and I lost sight of them.
I pictured them making it all the way to the road and getting torn to shreds beneath a semi’s tires. I imagined them crashing through trees and ripping to shreds. I was okay, I really was, until I walked a little too quickly down the slope, slipped on loose rocks, and landed right on my rear end with enough power to birth a bruise. I started crying hysterically.
It was really embarrassing, actually. I started yelling for my scriptures as if they were a lost pet. I was never going to see them again, I told myself. They’d roll and keep rolling and then land somewhere I couldn’t see and then winter would set in and a wild wolf would build a nest for his cubs…and…and…logic just flew out the window.
It wasn’t until I stood up and kept going that I happened to glance at a tree near the rocks. Miraculously, there my scriptures sat, bruised, but okay.

I don’t know why, but it was then that I realized how great this trip had been. Yeah, it was idiotic, but man. I went to bed knowing more of myself and that is invaluable. Plus, my scriptures are ten times more amazing than they were when I started.

More importantly, I re-realized how I want to live my life: without inhibition and repression, with faith and exuberance and energy.

I want to be who I am in the mountains, where I have no one to impress and nothing to worry about. Because that girl is incredible.

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3 comments

  1. Quoting you: “I want to be who I am in the mountains, where I have no one to impress and nothing to worry about. Because that girl is incredible.’

    You are incredible OFF the mountain as well.

    (Off the mountain…you are just sensitive to the mind and heart pollution around you.)

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