“Sleeping on the Summits”: 2 Wilder Men

Two guys: Jon Kedrowski and Christ Tomer discovered an unprecedented desire to climb to the summits of 58 fourteeners throughout Colorado.  Take that one step further: the goal was to”bivy” at the top: otherwise known as pitching a tent overnight.  “Bivy” is the abbreviated term for the word “bivouac”; a French term that gained exposure from French mountain climbers.  And this French word “bivouac”, according to the authors of Sleeping on the Summits: Colorado Fourteener High Bivys, refers to “a long night of suffering”.

http://ruinyourknees.com/reviews/sleeping-summits-colorado-bivys-book-review/

 

http://www.jonkeverest.org/

These mountaineers would start their climbs in the afternoon, and catch the sun setting in the west, then watch the same sun come up in the east.  The goal of Jon Kedrowski was to climb all 58 of the mountains that are fourteen thousand feet or higher.  Tomer was not able to make all of these ascents, but he came along whenever it worked out.  

 

Check out this 1:39 video featuring these two wilder men.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy5H2TvHCo0

 This is an amazing book, with incredible images of the mountains in Colorado.

Here is a link to find out more about the book: 

http://www.amazon.com/Sleeping-Summits-Jon-Kedrowski/dp/1565796527

http://inclined.americanalpineclub.org/2012/01/climbing-high-setting-goals-and-getting-involved-with-the-aac/

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Wilder Man in the Fangorn: Off My (Winter) Game

Off My Game …

Writers don’t always have the words.

Sojourners metaphorically entering the Forest of Fangorn, unsure of what is ahead; unsure of what to do with what is ahead; unsure of what words to use; what weapons to wield in the battles to come, the battles to fight.

Winter.  I’m off my game.  Firewood has always been cut, chopped, stored, by now … albeit in different quantities / levels of sufficiency.  ‘Snow blower has been “on-line”, ready to start, and go, and blow.  Wool socks?  Off course.  My ski-bib overalls? Definitely.  Boot-traction pads?  Yes, they come in handy.  This winter, no.  All pieces scattered, not in place.

So, what happened?

Questions.  Sometimes, the questions are (far) more important than the answers. I believe these dropped-balls are indicators of a deeper pain.  I sit, and walk, in the tension between … immeasurable thankfulness, and undeniable longings for the fullness that I know could be there, or rather … here.  I am reading excerpts of a book entitled Finding Our Fathers by Samuel Osherson.  So much I could quote, but instead I will acknowledge a thematic, a global substance.  Some of us, men, did not find … or receive … what we longed / long for, and we continue to live out our longings for our fathers, still hoping for what we needed / need (or wanted / want?).  With that being said, I am in a place, my family provided for (not in abundance).  I am also in a place … more weathered than ever before.  As a dad for my kids, I cringe because of not being emotionally present, a provider of all that I want to provide (greed, or honorable longing?); as a husband, sad that I do not live as a swashbuckling Wilder Man bringing adventure to my awesome wife?

I am in the Fangorn Forest, a place where many men refuse to go. I feel compelled to share these parts of my story with other Wilder Men, hoping to encourage them as I need to be encouraged.

  • Do not give in to the night;
  • Do not forsake your vision;
  • Keep your sword, your sharpened sword, close and ready;
  • Live for those who you love, those who love you, in an other-centered movement;
  • And, love well …Not only fight well, but love well.

In the Fangorn Forest, I hope to walk with you, pushing through.

“Fangorn Forest was known for being the last habitation of the Ents. It was named after the oldest Ent, Fangorn (Treebeard). “

Entering Fangorn Forest; imgarcade.com

 

Aragorn: “The tracks lead away from the battle! Into… Fangorn Forest.”

[The three look up into a very dense forest.]

Gimli: “Fangorn! What madness drove them in there?”

On my end, I’ll get back on my game.

 

 

Fiction Fragment Series: Wilder Man & Cold

This post is part of the Fiction Fragment Series; this edition, “Wilder Man & Cold”

Colorado Backcountry Berthoud Pass / weknowsnow.com
Wood Stove
My wood burning stove

Around 5am he stumbled out of the sleep … somewhat like a man emerging from a heavily wooded forest … looked out the hut-window, saw night and snow.  His relative-friend, Melancholy, spoke to him from inside, triggered by darkness and cold outside.  He closed the old faded heavy wool curtain, shutting out the out, guarding the in.  The man was cold.  And the coldness he felt in his soul was … weighty.  His coldness was piercingly emphasized by the winter darkness, by the snow-cold.  The cast iron wood burning stove, immovable, was also cold, showing indifference with the man in this hut.    If a fire was laid, and started, then the stove would heat up, and give heat … to the man in this hut.  If there was no fire, then the stove would stay cold.  The man acknowledged the stove, in its indifference, and grabbed kindling, sticks, small log, and placed it all, intentionally, inside the stove.    Match, lit, its flame brought to a six-inch stick, and the man in the hut edged the burning stick was into the stove, to light the kindling, to bring about some fire.  His anxietous sense of urgency began to diminish.  He stoked the fire.  The warmth permeated his isolated, Siberian-like being.  A new urgency materialized, a passionate need for coffee.  With a similar focus, a sacred and fine tuned focus, the eccentric man in the hut began the detailed requirements for bringing an excellent cup of Mud to the appointed cup.  The cup was eventually filled with the nectar from coffee beans.  The man returned to the wood burning stove and tended to the fire; and then tended to his heart and soul.  The cold had lost some of its power.  But the battles would continue, until the other side of heaven.  And, he knew that.  He knew that all too well.

 

Garage of a Wilder Man: LOST

Unconfirmed Rumor

(I just started the rumor about 15 minutes ago)

 

Scientists have researched Black Holes, in outer space, for many years – – – obviously.  Now, there is reason to believe that there are Black Holes on our planet; not only on our planet but right here in the Rocky Mountains.  That explains my (outer) garage.  I had wondered many times about my (outer) garage, whether or not it was an actual Black Hole.  It might be, but there are some characteristics about my (outer) garage-Black-Hole that don’t really fit the conventional Black Holes in space.

  1. One difference:  I actually conquered the daunting chaos in my (outer) garage about three months ago.
  2. Another difference: with Black Holes in space, once you go in, you never come out (I think that is right).

Regardless of my victory over the (outer) garage, I have a sobering update.  My garage is now lost, swallowed up by the Black Hole.  Why?  I am appreciative that you asked, my friends.  My garage is lost, submerged in chaos, because we have projects (approximately 550), and whenever we are finished with a project we take our tools, materials, boxes, and place them … where? … in our (outer) garage.  I was quite pleased with my progress when I conquered my (outer) garage.  I made shelves of different sizes, storage areas for hardware, a place to store our tarps (hanging from the ceiling).   I almost called Better Home and Gardens to have them come and do a story on my (outer) garage.  But I came to my senses, and considered that irrational thought is not all that it is cracked up to be.

I gazed into my garage with a mixture of shock, grief, and confusion, and asked myself:

“Where

did all the space go,

from my outer garage?”

And then I realized, after looking at two words I chose in my question: 1) “outer”, and 2) “space”.  Outer Space.  That is where my garage space went.  Outer Space.  Chances are, it is in some Black Hole.

Artist’s portrait of what a black hole might look lie.

Artist’s impression of the surroundings of the supermassive black hole in NGC 3783[21]

 

 

You GOT TO MOVE, Man!

Rolling Creek Trail, late afternoon.  The trail curved a bit to my right, which was south-west.  I started to hear the water.  After about 10 to 15 yards, the trail headed downward, and I could see Rolling Creek flowing from the west, moving at a good rate of speed.  I stopped when I reached the creek, took a knee, dipped my left hand down into the icy cold water, and splashed my face a few times.  I know that some fellas have their system conditioned in such a way that they can actually drink the water from the fast-moving creeks.  I don’t understand that; and I do not foresee that happening with me anytime in the near future.  But dousing my face with water from the Rolling Creek has never been a problem.

I remember a professor who said this, my paraphrase:

“I would much rather my students drink from a rushing creek, than from a pool of stagnant water.”

What he was talking about, when I first heard those words, was his integrity as a teacher.  “Prepare for the teaching you will be doing for your students.  They deserve nothing less.  If you do not come prepared, they will know it, even if you don’t know … that you are ill prepared.”

The moving creek, versus the stagnant pool.

We have to keep moving.  No way around it.

Indiana Wilder Man, The Septic Of Doom !!!

A map and a mysterious letter arrived in the mail from Egypt, a professor asking me to consult with him on a dig.  He warned me that a band of zealots were attempting to stop him from continuing with the dig.  The professor described them as notorious and obnoxious; known as “Asmemeken Aguibeha”: English translation, “Bring it”. 

*Note: it is important to keep in mind my “WMS”.  “WMS” stands for “Walter Mitty Syndrome”, also known as “IOE”, “Issues of Exaggeration”.   

I could not find my fedora, my bull whip, my khakis, my leather jacket, and that strange-looking bag with a shoulder strap that I put archaeological finds in.  Without my profoundly important gear, I almost scrapped the adventure …

 But

. . . that was not an option.  Guys who heroically go in (usually at night, not really), an extraction team, TAP (Tube And Pump) with a state-of-the-art tank on the back of the truck, were to arrive on Thursday @ 3pm.  No fedora?  No bull whip? No khakis?  No leather jacket?  No strange-looking bag with a shoulder strap that I put archaeological finds in?  No map?  “Too bad,” I told myself.     I had shovel, pick-axe, water …

And, I had one clue: two (2) black ropes sticking out of the ground, approximately 18″.  Legend has it that King Tut had placed those ropes deep in the ground to guard the precious secrets of the underground. 

When I first heard about this sobering story, I said to myself:

“Seriously?  What a bunch of NONSENSE!  What … I was born yesterday?”

So, the dirt was stacked against me; or, maybe they were cards … I did not know.  But, I am Indiana Wild Man, and this is what I do, when I am not eating chocolate chip cookies and drinking black coffee … very, very, black coffee.  And, I also look like Indiana Jones.  Then again, maybe not.

https://i0.wp.com/bucketreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/2008_indiana_jones_4_004.jpg

I had to dig down two feet of dirt to uncover the concrete caps of the septic tank.  I knew a man in Kabul, who would provide me with more information about this archaelogical dig, and get me the supplies I needed: ropes, sherpas, food, water balloons, chocolate-chip cookies, and … most importantly … black coffee; very, black coffee.  Unfortunately, he was a Kabul-in-a-china-closet, and he had just experienced an episode.  The secret police were watching my friend.  So, I never made it to Kabul.  I’m not sure why I even mentioned it.

Once the tomb of insufferable stink was uncovered, I knew … as Indiana Wilder Man… that the septic of doom must stay sealed until the guys from the service showed up, otherwise the earth might rip off of it’s axis and hurl into the sun.  Fire-breathing humming birds could possibly storm the Rocky Mountain Mountain Region.  And I would have to live with such an agonizing guilt.

This was truly a hair-raising adventure, which was good, because my hair is quite thin, up on top.  And, this dig … at the Septic of Doom … required super-human strength.  But, I am Indiana Wilder Man, and  a chartered member of a group called “Asmemeken Aguibeha”. 

“Bring It.”

Bear Conflict … Resolution???

I was not looking for any trouble.  ‘Serious.  But, I did try to sneak one in … through the wildlife neighborhood.  Tuesday nights I get the trash ready for the pickup on Wednesday morning.  Throughout the winter I brought out the heavy-lidded containers Tuesday night, with a great appreciation for this “hibernation” thing that bears do.

Summer has crept in, as I crept out with my trash containers each Tuesday night.  As of last week, “so far, so good”.  But tonight, my daughter came to me with some sparkle in her eyes, a mischievous smile, “Dad … I think there is a bear out there.  Stash (dog) is going nuts out there on the big deck.  I think I heard something down by the road, beating up on your garbage cans.”

I drove down in the jeep.  As soon as I saw the can laying on its side, its contents spilling out, I saw a black shape move behind, looking at me with his glowing eyes and his bear-smirk, and then he tore off through the trees. The plan was to get out, get the trash container back together again.  The bungee chords didn’t seem to be effective.  As I sat in the driver’s seat, looking around through the trees, my courage had an apparent deficit.
*I did not get a picture of the bear, but I went on line to find one that I thought might be similar … So, the picture below is NOT the bear that came to bother me last night; only a picture of a bear.

I had a tall metal red stick with me.  I have no doubt, whatsoever, that the stick was worthless, for this situation.  Finally, I stepped out, gazed into the trees.   I thought I would see Bear, peering at me through the trees.  Its  probably best that I didn’t see him.  Bear would be laughing, or posturing.  I knew this was ridiculous to drag my feet getting the can upright.  Once the garbage can was all set, I got back in the jeep, drove up the road looking for Bear.

A remote-control camera captured this image of a black bear at Tonto National Monument in 2009.

A remote-control camera captured this image of a black bear at Tonto National Monument in 2009.

http://cronkitenews.asu.edu/assets/images/11/08/24-bears-tonto-full.jpg

 The home up the road, two houses down, had the evidence of Bear’s visit: two garbage cans, with much more of a mess than what was the case with my two garbage cans.  I turned around, drove back … homeward.  When I came over the hill, heading down, I saw the same trash can down, Bear walking away, not running … No, not running … just walking away toward the woods on the other side of the road, looking right at me.

This time, I jumped out of the jeep with my tall red stick, sprinted toward the bear, jumped on him, grabbed the hair of his head, and bit his ear.

HA!  Can you imagine?  No, I didn’t do that.  But I wanted to.  I was really ticked that the jerk came right back, less than 10 minutes later.  No, that’s not right.  This time my wife came up with a good idea that I had forgotten about: ammonia.  Yessss!  I went up to the house, procured the ammonia, came back, served a good helping, and I won’t know if it worked until tomorrow morning.  I’m not going out there again tonight.  As for “conflict resolution”?  No, I’m not interested.  But, I may have to re-think the whole garbage-can situation.