Marolt: The sting of getting spurred by The Moment
I’m living at the spur of the moment. I’m not sure how that compares to living in the moment, which grabs the headlines these days, but I do know it ends up taking quite a bit more time and requires me to be impulsive rather than impatient of life without instant baseball score updates. I also end up a lot more tired at the end of the day.
Last week I told you about a girl who announced at Friday dinner that she’d never been to Maroon Bells and five minutes later a trip up there had been planned for early the next morning. To refresh your memory, the excursion ended up a great success. Proof is that it encouraged more shooting from the hip at this Friday night’s dinner.
When you live at the spur of the moment there is no such thing as small talk. I don’t know how the conversation came up or even if it was a conversation at all. Thinking back, it was most likely just an aside, definitely not a discussion. My wife mentioned that she hasn’t climbed a fourteener in quite a while.
“OK,” the spontaneous me replied. “Then we’re doing one tomorrow morning. Castle Peak.”
The kids quickly created excuses to beg out of the excursion. Another good thing about these snap decisions to do things is that people don’t have time to hem or haw to get out of it. My daughter simply said that she’d rather spend the morning hanging out with her friends while my son said he wanted to sleep late since it was Saturday. Living on the sharp point of a second’s spur is simple. It forces you to be straightforward. I admire that in people, even if I’d rather they begrudgingly go hiking with me.
As I was finishing up the dishes I asked my wife if she wanted to put some snacks together as we would be getting on the trail early. “Oh,” she sighed. “I’d rather do it in the morning when I’m not so tired.” I sensed a crack in her commitment to my hastily-made plan.
When the alarm sounded before the sun shone, I admit I too had a moment of doubt. I recalled how tired I ended up after the previous Saturday’s hike. It passed quickly, though, and then I thought of the day’s plan to climb a tall mountain as a little pebble from the rock that tripped me. As weird as that sounds, it helped me out of bed. My wife got up, too. “Game on,” she said.
My wife sometimes claims that I love my car more than I love her, and that is ridiculous. It’s only a Honda Pilot. She made the best argument yet that morning, though, when I pulled over to park at the end of the pavement on Castle Creek Road. She pointed out that driving the five miles to the parking lot at 12,500 feet in elevation at the end of the jeep road would save several hours and lots of our energy, to which I pointed out that the rough road would beat the crap out of the vehicle.
“But, you don’t mind that walking the same stretch of rough road will beat me up?” she replied.
Touche! And, off we went. It was a beautiful Saturday; I think the hottest day of the summer. Two hours later we got to the parking lot at the end of the road and caught up with all the four-wheel drive vehicles that passed us. We were feeling only slightly tender and decided to finish what we’d started. The endorphins will kick in, I promised.
We had clear skies all the way up. The top was calm and 65 degrees. All our layers stayed in the backpack. Over lunch, I pointed out that the last fourteener either of us had climbed was this one, together, 25 years ago when, on this very summit, we first talked of marriage. Her eyes glassed over and I got a little misty.
Then it was time to head down. Wow! How easy it is to forget that climbing a mountain is only half over, at best, when you reach the summit.
More than 14 miles of walking, half a day, blisters on every other toe, and two mild cases of dehydration later, we were back at the Honda. “When did you say the endorphins kick in?” Susan asked. “I would have thought by now,” I answered as straightforwardly as possible.
Roger Marolt is learning that living in the spur of the moment takes its toll. email@example.com
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