By Paul Koch –
Early Monday morning we loaded up the car and began our trek to Yosemite National Park. My wife and I along with our good friends Scott and Joy decided to make a break for it and get to the mountains. Within 6 hours we found ourselves standing at the trail-head that lead Upper Yosemite falls (pictured above). Now while I would love to try and explain the grandeur and awe-inspiring vistas of such a journey that is not really my point, nor do I think I could capture such beauty in a simple blog post. Rather, what I want to share is how crucial such tasks are in our life.
The trail to top of the falls is 3.5 miles long and covers roughly a 2,700 ft elevation gain. I’m not going to lie, it was a difficult climb with more switchbacks than I care to remember. And that was the blessing. It wasn’t a shifting scene were good enough was going to cut it or you could BS your way through it. It was a trail cut into a granite mountain that you were either going to conquer or loose to, there was no gray area.
(Scott and I at the lookout above the falls)
Too often in our lives we spend our time without ever having to deal with an objective and immovable measure of our strength and resolve. We wander around from one situation to another always ready with our excuses and rhetoric to shape the stories in order to make us look good or to stroke our egos or explain away our failure.
Henry Rollins (yes that Henry Rollins) expressed a similar sentiment when discussing the realities of lifting weight in a now famous essay title “The Iron.” Rollins says this:
“The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.”
The thing is; if we only spend our time as victors in the electronic world of video games, or consume our days in eloquent discussions with disembodied “friends” on Facebook, or execute only academic arguments that don’t actually come crashing into the lives of people around us then we will never know who we really are. Without the objective measure outside of ourselves how can we ever know if our ideas really matter, if we can actually be of service to others or if we can actually overcome?
Get outside; get the gym, get on a bike or lace up your running shoes. Do something that wont allow you to lie to yourself. It is okay to fail, at least then you know where you really stand!