I need to begin this blog post by letting you know that the simple words that I am about to use have absolutely NO reflection on what I experienced yesterday. Words can’t describe the beauty and majesty and awesomeness of the journey that I went on. I will try to capture a few experiences for you… but just know that I will only tap into about 10% of what it really was.
“So, yesterday I went on a hike.”
Those words sound simple… easy…. relaxing… fun. They don’t reflect the reality on what really happened. Let me try it again.
“So, yesterday I tasted death, breathed in life and explored an area that most will never see with their own eyes.”
The second sentence sounds a little truer to reality.
I hiked a mountain from sea level to over 3,000 feet. I went from sunny green to pure white snow. I breathed thin air and explored a hidden waterfall. I saw mines and wildlife and purity. Here are a couple photos of the journey.
There were many different things that took place during this hike. From the wonderful guys that I was able to hike it with to the sheer beauty and massiveness of God’s creation around me, I was speechless. Here are a couple cool stories from the mountain.
As we stood on the trail taking in the sheer awesomeness of our surroundings, we heard a sound that pierced through the silence. It was loud and sounded just like this… “CHEEP!” It was startling and I immediately turned to the sound. I looked over… then down… and saw this little creature staring up at me…
This little animal is called a “marmot“. It looks a lot like a praire dog and is super cute. It would pop his head up and look at us. We were only a few feet away. After a few minutes it would throw it’s butt up into the air and dive into its hole. A few seconds later, he would pop up in a new hole. We spent some time taking photos and we were super still… enjoying the moment.
Then comes the story that my wife doesn’t want to read. So, if you are married to me… skip to the next story. But, if not, read on!
There are different ways to climb over a mountain. There is the well trodden path and then there is the “other path”. Robert Frost made this path so tempting in my favorite poem, “The Road Not Taken“, however when you are on that road… you may discover why no one takes it.
We chose the “waterfall route”. This would be the “road not taken” by most. I, at the beginning, was incredibly excited about this route. I love waterfalls. I love adventure. And… how hard could it be?
This waterfall was MASSIVE! Let me give you a better perspective on this “waterfall”. See if you can find the person in this photo…
Now, this waterfall plummets double what you see. It is huge! We hiked around the corner that you see at the base of that waterfall. The waterfall continues up through that crevasse. This is the point where the story gets a little crazy.
Once we go around this corner we have to climb up a steep incline to get over this mountain. Now, I say “steep incline” and you may not understand. This is steep and loose rock. You are holding on to loose rock and climbing up a mountain. Oh… and did I mention that if you slip, you fall down that waterfall. Yes… hundreds of feet to a cold, Alaskan death.
We get halfway up and we have to move sideways on the edge of cliff on loose rocks for a space of about 25 feet. Needless to say, I was praying extra hard in that moment. I could feel the small gravel that sat on a steep incline that held me up from death moving under my feet and hands. I talked with God. I made deals with God. I searched my soul and confessed my sins and balanced two thoughts in my mind… “What on earth are you doing Greg!?!?!” and “This is stinking awesome!!!!”
This is the epitome of my life. I am continually wavering between those two thoughts in my mind. I look at what I have done, am doing and want to do and there is a balance between terror and elation in my heart. It is an incredible rush and I love it.
Well, since you are reading this you know that I didn’t die. I made it to the other side with limbs shaking and breathing deep breaths. I thought my story was over… but really it was just beginning.
ONCE IN A LIFETIME
After I made it through “devil’s crossing” (this is what I have affectionately named that spot), I still had to climb up a steep mountain which could lead to my death, but I was reassured by my guide Chase that I was to hold on to the moss. Yes… my friends… MOSS! That stuff which people slip on all the time. This is my life line. This is what I am white knuckled holding on to as I picture my plummet… and the heart attack that is sure to follow… in my mind.
I make it nearly to the top and am about 5 feet away when I see my two friends being incredibly quiet and pointing to something. It was at this moment that I see the mountain goat which is only three feet away from them. This NEVER happens! People climb mountains for weeks and never see a mountain goat and here we are only three feet away. With flowing hair and two sharp horns it looks at them and then looks at me.
Now, let me tell you what went through my mind… “Here I am cheating death and climbing up a cliff hanging on to moss and I have made it to the top. At this pinnacle moment of my life, God has brought a mountain goat to charge at me and buck me off the top of this mountain.” I don’t know if this was a mixture of fear and adrenaline pouring into my frontal lobe or what… but it is truly what I thought.
So, here I am in the midst of this magical moment, clinging to the moss under shaking legs and the goat heads to me. I knew that I needed to capture this moment. I couldn’t let it pass before my eyes. So, with one hand clinging to the moss, I slowly reach into my pocket, grab my Iphone and take this video…
Needless to say, that was AWESOME!
At the top of this hike we were over 3,000 feet. It was covered in snow with a glacier lake. There was a small structure where you can stay if a storm sneaks up on you. I won’t waste your time with words… check out some photos from the top.
So, we hiked past the top in order to see a glacier. This is my second glacier in two days and I feel incredibly blessed to have had this opportunity. The glacier was beautiful! Here are a couple pics from the glacier. The glacier is circled in first photo and the second one is one of my hiking partners named Caspar.
Well, that’s enough for now. I hope you enjoyed! Have a great day and remember… “Live Life to the Fullest!”