I have mentioned quite a few times in my blog that I have been an avid reader since my dad handed me my first Louis L’Amour book back in the 4th grade. To be honest, I also remember reading “Billy and Blaze” books at even a younger age. (and yes, I am old enough to have really learned to read with Dick, Jane, AND Spot…
My normal go to genre is Science Fiction/Fantasy, which I know with shock those that know me in real life. But, I will change with whatever strikes my fancy. I recently read a book about Thomas Jefferson and early America’s war against the Barbary pirates. I learned a lot, and thank my buddy Stu for the loan.
So it should come as no surprise that I am currently reading “The Big Burn” by Timothy Egan. All about the history of the Forestry Service and the biggest forest fire ever, an excellent book so far!
What did surprise me today, though, was sitting up straight after reading a quote from Teddy Roosevelt, one of the key characters of this book…
The book only gave part of the quote, but I was compelled to look up the entire thing. It goes like this:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Want to see the face of failure?
Yep, lets recap shall we. 4 Attempts on Mt. Rainier, 1 on Mt Shasta, and one on Mt Adams.
Ladies and gents, I invested MONTHS of hard and long training for each of these endeavors. I carried 40 lb backpacks up and down different mountains in the cascades. I pushed myself as far as I could climbing to Camp Muir
In short, there was a time I looked at the training and the climbs themselves as a complete waste of time, and money. I’da been better off sitting on a couch getting fat.
However, sometime during the 4th and final attempt at Rainier I had an epiphany. In all honesty it mighta been because of this
How many of you have had a chance to see something like this? Sunrise on a giant crevasse at 11,500 feet on Mt Rainier. I will never forget this. Nor will I forget this
I was hanging out above Mt Tahoma looking over the rest of the world. Or how about this
Giant ice blocks above the campsite. I know a number of people who have summitted Rainier and who have seen things I never will. BUT there are many MANY more who wouldn’t even think of trying to climb it. Wanna know what else they will probably never see?
These are ALL places I have gone during or getting reading for a climb. I have seen Mountain goats walk through my camp, shooting starts at 2 AM, and (forgive) lighting flashing as I had to pee on Mr Baker.
I would have seen none of this had I not tried. I threw myself out there, pushed it with everything I had, and, even though I never made the top, I came back with more memories and experiences than I ever could have imagined.
So why am I sharing this? To encourage every one of you to take the shot. Go for the new job, climb that damn mountain, write a book, run the marathon, ride 100 miles in a day or hell, jump out of a perfectly good plane
Whatever the hell it is you have always wanted to do, but just weren’t sure you should, go for it! Just remember, you are guaranteed to fail if you flat don’t give it a shot, but if you try, you just might succeed, and even if you don’t, you will have great stories to tell your more timid friends.
Somehow, 50 years before I was born, Teddy was talking directly to me! I am just lucky I figured out the message on my own before I hit 50 myself.
Tell me about your adventures people. what have you done and what will you do next! Teddy wants you to go for it!