True beginnings.

Time. The importance of it, and the negation of it. I am lost in a sea of time. One where the current is ever flowing and I relax enough and let it flow, I can tell exactly where the current will bring me. Currently I am sitting indoors, hiding from the smoke here in BC, and I am reflecting on the past month, or years, and how it has brought me here.

I suppose if I am to start writing about my beginnings in the alpine, it requires an alpine start, preparation, and of course – a ton of beta. So I am sitting here, at 3am, many weeks after I completed the Alpine Skills Solstice Long Weekend with Jeff Bullock (Alpine Air Adventures), and I am reflecting and ready to write.

I am going to take this back. I am going to write in my half-hazard, hard-to-follow, and deranged style of writing that typically only makes sense to the dedicated reader who sticks it out. I am writing here for my spirituality. The mountains are my church, and unlike Will Gadd has said, ‘Freedom of the Hills’ is not my bible. Don’t get me wrong, the book is the working word on the facts about what we do, I am just a man who has spent enough time alone in the woods to find his inner light. A light that I often have to strive to listen to, for my window of life tends to get dusty and I can get preoccupied with desires to clean it and continue to see clearly.

Why do I climb mountains? I get asked this question more often than I thought I ever would of late. The funny thing is, is that I do not really consider myself a climber, or at least have not until recently. Yet, that is what I truly am. While I do climb to attain summits, or at least attempt to, the reason I venture off into the woods, and eventually the alpine, is for a chance to listen to myself. Climbing is an activity where one can follows one’s desires, and keep the internal window clean. Finding ‘The Zone’ and the oneness within happens when you are low on food, have tired the body, and have been in your head constantly making decisions with your intuition or instincts, that ‘gut’ feeling. Climbing 5th class terrain only increases the strain on the food intake, bodily wear, and the need to be ‘flowy’. For this reason alone I consider any outdoor ascension, of any hiking/scrambling class, to be climbing.

The avid Alberta Rockies scrambler is a mountain climber. They climb, albeit they may be on Class III or lower, but it is technically a ‘freesolo’ ascent. Just one where the risks are not quite the same as Alex Honnold on El Cap. This should not stoke the ego of all the scramblers out there, but instead instill a sense of reality that what they are doing is truly climbing, and there seriousness of their activities are far more serious than they may think.

As a trekker, one who mostly hangs out in the valleys and camps below the alpine, I knew the wildness of the mountains. I grew up going to the mountains with my family to camp. I returned there as an adult in search of powder. And I kept returning to continue to find myself. The mountains hold a special power for me. The are truly where I call home. They are the only place where I can breath easily and relax. They are the place where I am myself, and my window does not acquire the same amount of dust.

I took the mountains seriously, but my actions and words with the community did not reflect my internal seriousness. Maybe I had relaxed? I suppose I must have become too comfortable. Too much ego. I thought that I could do anything I wanted, and that was because I thought I knew my limits and only wanted to stay within them. The mountains always win. Whether it be in the fact that they will not leave your mind, or they will take your life, there is no activity you can do without leaving some of your safety to the Apus.

As I ran into a series of unfortunate events in my life, I turned to the mountains. The things that derail our plans in life are often the blessings that we don’t want to see. I returned from Peru in 2016 with my marriage already over. My wife and I had stopped talking while on our trip, and I was sleeping on the couch back in Canada. I wanted nothing more than for my marriage to work out, and for us to get into counselling, and spent too much time worrying about a wife (and life) that I could not control. I returned from Peru with a renewed vigor for the mountains. Before I treated them as a escape, now they were truly life itself. I had always been active, but also a drinker. I would often be hungover on day hikes, or backcountry shreds, despite being up and ready to go. Always pushing to go further and faster. Things were changing at that time for me. No longer was I the landlord. No longer was I even a husband. I was just a man, sick in the stomach – from Peru more than likely, and alone in his head for the first time in a long time.

I returned from Peru with a few changes to my psyche. My wife was very keen on doing ayahuasca while we were there, and as much as I was in constant fear of opening my mind to the experience, I had zero idea what that even meant. I wanted to quit drinking, and that was my motivation for wanting to go through the experience. I had no clue of what was to come and just how much my internal frame of thought would change. The doctors that administered the treatment told me that the drink was just the beginning, and that the changes it started would continue. I have found this to be true. 2016 was a hard and trying year for me. I was getting married, and I suffered a concussion at work. I spent the summer in a brain injury clinic, where they geared my recovery back to hiking (At the time I was hiking well over 52 days a year, filmed the trips as my band character ‘persona’ for YouTube, and was starting to put together my trail guiding resume for TRU). The head injury made it easy to drop the one beer a day that I had got myself down to, and I was well on my way to becoming what I thought was ‘fit and healthy’. The time I spent sick and truly alone on the couch when I returned cleared my whole mind.

The two changes that are most evident with my returning from Peru was my drinking, and my fear of heights. As in they were both no longer an issue. The path to reawakening my spirit begun on that trip, and I quickly discovered that I had zero mental addiction to alcohol anymore. My active life and healthy eating had just got a serious boost. The time I had spent at the pub with my wife, was now being spent on the trails. I begun to take training seriously. I begun to care about being the best that I could possibly be, and that meant you could have a beer in front off me, or I could crack one open, and I did not even want the whole thing.

My body is a temple, a machine, and vehicle, and I intended to use it. Once I would drive down Highway 40 and list all the mountains with trails, now with my fear of heights – and all unjustifiable fears – behind me, I planned to climb all the peaks without them. Ever had I dreamed of actually climbing mountains – for I did not consider scrambling climbing at the time. Now I knew I had the ability to actual climb them, just as anyone who has the desire to do so can.

As my relationship with my wife turned into a living hell, and my wife was turning to using her fists to get me out of the house, I gave up. It was the start of a long process, a process I will ever be going though. I packed up my gear, spent Yule outside at my parents, and spent the next stretch of months looking for myself. Not truly lost, but no longer the person I was before. I do not feel that the time was wasted, as the outcome from that time spent alone in the mountains is beyond any experience that I have thought possible. Yet, I did not do much. I climbed a bit. I shredded some powder. At night I mostly sat around fires, far from any other human, disconnected.

I never really solved the GI issue. I went back to work. I got sick again. I wanted more mountains and a career there, so I focused on getting ready to apply at TRU for the 2018 year. I wanted to trail guide, and no longer as a part time thing to work towards. I was trying to move to Calgary or Canmore. I wanted to be closer to doctors. I needed to find work that would help me pay for the schooling I wanted, not to mention the amount of debt that I had racked up since my concussion in early 2016. I eventually landed a job at the Canmore McDonald’s. I have a BSc, but worked and ran kitchens throughout university, and the promise of managing a fast paced fast food joint in Canmore with a scholarship program was enough for me to give up on the last shred of stability I had left in life to go all in on my dream. Life of course had different plans for me.

I moved into the staff accommodations in Canmore after climbing Mount Edith before my work orientation meeting on Oct 31st 2017. Life was amazing. I lived in Canmore, winter was fast approaching, and I was on a mountain before or after work pretty much every day. I trained daily. I studied Freedom of the Hills and knots. And I worked my butt off. I was finally making money again and wanting to start paying back all the debt I had built up… and then my roommate was drugged. The police and EMT’s in the ambulance said it appeared to be something called ‘Flakka’. I had to look it up, and sadly the video I watched was exactly the behavior that my roommate had been showing. As scary as the situation was, my life was only going to get worse.

After hours of waiting for the ambulance we called, and attempting to restrain a flakka enraged human with my ice axe, the police finally showed up. Then we gave statements. Then the police came back to wake us up for more statements and the news about our roommate being rushed to a Calgary hospital. He was dying. I had to work early in the morning, and did not get to sleep. I picked up overtime, as the roommate was on life support, and the police came again for more verbal statements in the middle of the night. 3 nights in a row the police came after midnight for statements. I picked up the roommates shifts, asked to be sent to a grief therapist daily for the first few days, and ended up crushing 21 days in a row with pneumonia and a smile – because Canmore.

Just a little over a week after the incident I finally had my general manager come say hello to me. He did not ask me what had happened, no one ever did from McDonald’s, but he did hand me a card with a therapists number on it. I was already so sick at that point in time and working so many of my half-dead buddies hours, that I was beginning to loose sight of why I came to Canmore in the first place. The flexible closing and opening shifts I was promised on hire, had turned into a sunup to sundown slog with daily overtime, and zero days off.

I eventually was sent home from work due to my cough, because the managers could not hide how sick I was anymore. My best friend had mono, and the doctor thought I did too. A doctors note saying I had developed pneumonia from having EBV, and going through a round of antibiotics as well, was not enough to not have my job threatened on a regular basis though. I was definitely cooking burgers in Canmore McDonald’s, talking at a whisper at best, coughing non-stop, and being told if I did not put in overtime I would be fired. I was so amped on making money and staying in Canmore, I honestly was glad my supervisor tossed out my doctors note and told me to work instead of sending me home. Such a foolish thing to not look after one’s body. I ended up sick, and unable to move much out of my bed for a few weeks. After I was cleared for work by the doctors and showed up to work, I was sent home and work made me wait 3 more days and had me get another doctors note. I walked Lady MacDonald’s West Ridge at night during that time, my first outing in far too long, and returned to work so stoked to be back. I thought my life was back on track. I was so wrong.

My first day back at work was all smiles, I was so stoked to be back to life in the mountains. It was December 19th, and a good layer of snow had fallen while I was in bed. Ski season was in full swing. There was a note on one of the glass cooler doors saying, “Please do not use”. I saw every other person at work using the door and asked what was with the note, but no one in the kitchen knew why it was put up. I was using the cooler door next to it when a coworker ran up and used the door with the note on it. The door came off it’s hinges, and the next thing I remember clearly is living in Kamloops.


Turn’s out I took a nice bump to the head, was put on the cold and wet tile floor in the backroom for several hours, every winter jacket in the place piled on me, in the hopes that I was going to get up and return to finish my shift. Off-shift coworkers were called to bring me to the hospital, and by the time I was being released from the hospital in Calgary, it was December 28th and I had missed Christmas. I do not actually recall Christmas, and that is probably a good thing as I was in a city with no family around, and my friends I knew that lived there were not even contacted. My family came and picked me up and brought me to Red Deer to enjoy some Christmas family time and I started trying to get a hold of work. My boss finally returned one of my calls, in the morning of January 1st, and right off that bat asked me if I had moved out of the staff accommodations in Canmore yet. Thankfully, since this was not my first major head injury, I had the foresight to get a call recorder and let everyone know I needed to tape my calls to remember what was said in them. Unfortunately, with not much to do while in recovery, I listened to them on repeat.

So that ended my time living in Canmore. Half of it was spent covering my roommates shifts while he chilled on life support, and the other half of it I was in bed with pneumonia. I used the last of my money, and borrowed more, to have my car and my stuff moved out of Canmore. I was unable to drive and waiting to get into a brain injury clinic at the time. And WCB, the Worker’s Compensation Board, delayed the start of my payments by almost 30 days. I ended up homeless, as I had nowhere to move to and no money for rent. McDonald’s was claiming I owed them rent money for while I was off work as well. Before Canmore I at least was able to drive and look after myself if this situation had occurred. Now concussed, confused, and everything I owned back in my car – yet being unable to drive or walk much, I was kinda fucked. I don’t think I had ever been so fucked before in my life, and did not think it could possibly get any worse, but it did.

According to my recorded phone calls, my WCB worker was perfectly fine with McDonald’s kicking me out of my house while concussed from a workplace injury. I tried to stick around Calgary for a bit, but was not getting any money from WCB and could not afford to put down a deposit on a place. Also not thinking clearly, nor having any working memory, really did not help. Thankfully a friend of mine was moving to Kamloops from Canmore, and WCB said that if I went with her, that they would fly me back to Calgary for the brain injury clinic. WCB never set up a single flight for me despite many other phone calls where they clearly say that they will. Fast forward to the last few days of March, and I find myself on the mend, out of the brain injury clinic, and packing up my stuff in Kamloops to move back to Canmore. McDonald’s had been dodging my phone calls and emails for a few weeks, I had been cleared for a back to return plan on March 12th, but WCB moved me out of the program anyways and I was ready to get back home. It was the day before the Easter weekend, and my big move home. New renters would be moving into my place, and I had to be out. I had lost almost everything I owned, including my car, at this point. I was so ready to be back to work and in Alberta.

And then McDonald’s finally returned my phone calls. I was being laid off. WCB was still thousands of dollars behind on their payments with me, I was in collections with zero money in my Albertan bank that I couldn’t even access in BC. I had no car. I had no job. And I had no house. The nearest friend or family member I could try to visit was 800km away. McDonald’s gave me a pretty sweet Christmas present, but I think their Easter gift was even better. Now I was homeless, with everything I owned on my back. I had to leave the little amount of stuff I still had behind, and set out on foot. In a city I did not know. Knowing not a single soul I could call on in the whole province. Going from a suit wearing, new car driving, landlord in Calgary – owning a fully furnished 6 bedroom house, to walking down the streets of Kamloops alone, with everything I owned on my back and not a single memory of how I go there was a blow to my brain worse than either of the concussions.

I did it for the mountains was all I could think. All that mattered was the mountains. I was happy and could relax in the mountains. Apparently my time between January and March was spend training, studying ‘Freedom of the Hills’, and climbing after the doctors cleared me. I honestly do not recall much of it, but what I do recall is mountains, knots, and beta. All I could focus on now was getting back to the rockies. I had a mountaineering course lined up for around the Solstice in June. The doctors at the brain injury clinic had told me that I would not be insurable as a hiking guide anymore, so I had zero direction with a career. It did not matter much anyways, as I was homeless, yet the things I had in my pack on my back were chosen well. I had my mountaineering gear and nothing else.

I ended up in Williams Lake somehow, I really don’t know. I was taken in by an amazing family that did not know me. They fed me. I trail ran. And I prayed daily. I found the Salvation Army and did the paperwork so I could help make soup for the soup kitchen. I found friends with no money or home. I met people who’s hearts were so big that I was sure that their chests would burst one day. I met a quality of people that I never knew existed, and I continued to grow.

The desire to make it to my course in June was the only thing that ever kept me going during this time. No one would hire me. I was at the point where I was going to walk to the Columbia Icefield for the course if needed. I was wearing the same 3 pairs of clothes that I had with me when I left Kamloops, and that was enough. I trained. I climbed. I mediated. The 3 days with a guide in the Icefields was coming.

I made it to the course with the help of my new friends and my mountaineering partner. Without these people in my life, I would be nothing. That is the point of today’s blog. It is not the pity party – because we all live a story like this. It is not about spreading hate. It is not about the journey this time either. Today I write this for hope. I write this in a nice house with AC, on a laptop, with clean socks on my feet, tea in my mug, and a smile on my face. I am writing this with love in my bed, a Taurus Wagon in the driveway, and a closet full of gear. I have been up and down since running a fundraiser from the backcountry, and getting an EP on iTunes and Spotify last year. I made it to my course. I climbed Mount Athabasca. I climbed Skyladder on Andromeda, and had to climb back down it in an ice storm. I have gone off to climb Mount Cline, Mount Willingdon, and others in the few weeks that have past since the solstice. My road has not gotten any easier. If anything it is getting harder. But I am not backing down. I am not stopping. I am going to continue to train. I am going to continue to climb. I never lost sight of who I am. I never lost sight of what I want in life. If anything, my time alone in the woods, in the cities, and meeting some of the kindest souls while finding my own spirtuality, has let me grow the light inside. And if what has happened to me in the last few years was not able to stop me, but only made me stronger, you better believe I will be working even harder to attain my goals. If I learnt anything over the past few months, it is that Hope is stronger than Fear.

One month.

I have been writing, and it has been corrupted. The blogs I write never get posted and I feel like it is not completely my fault but something screaming at me from my subconcious to wait. It is one month until I am in the Columbia Icefields, and that means it is crunch time for training.

I finally made it to the local crag, the Esler Bluffs. I was told the entire day how the place was special to the long-term locals. How it holds a spiritual meaning almost, as their centre of community. The crew there is small and they are a tight family of support and strength. I was honoured to be invited and thankful for the belays.

The life here is simple. The people work, mostly for natural resources and government/park relations, and they climb. They care about the community and the well being of the land. And I stick out as a newcomer.

I am a newcomer to climbing, and a newcomer to the town. I currently am not working, just volunteering while training for my passion and my fun. I am treating this training for alpinism as a job, and take my time at the crag as a blessing. I have not settled in a place since moving into my car in 2016, and am more than ready to be back to reality.

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I have not been discussing my physical training much here, as I am not an expert in Kinesiology. I do discuss my training for the mind. As the spiritual journey of self and perseverance associated with climbing is half of the game.

The balance I am finding daily in my life is found as I follow my intuition and instinct. I am looking forward to visiting the crag again tomorrow and working on my skills in a practical way. The cycle that brings new experiences and challenges also brings healing, and my time of solo meditation is done. It is my time to move forward with respect and an open mind. I have one month until I begin my climbs in the alpine.

Community, and extension of self, from within.

Waking up to the new light is hard. Comfort is cherished in this life and nothing can change that fact. Type II fun, is still fun in my book. I know it is the Left side in us that feeds off this. As a Cancer, I get off from being wronged naturally. Shedding that ego layer was more than just a tad bit of work.

Community from within? What do I mean by this statement. If you havr ever had the chance to share a trail with me, you will immediately come to realize that my speach is full of contradictions. This is done intentionally. I am not confused. Opposites are really just extremes of the same thing. Hot and cold are both describing temperature. Up and down are both descriptors of your vertical position. Sometimes to describe a feeling, you need both of these opposites.

The same goes with the solo (or small group) aspect of alpinism. This pretty much sits well with any sort of isolated venture. The more of a isolated venture, the more support is needed. Even the off-grid mountain liver, they rely on the community of non-human life around them. A community of human life with only offer more support for trade of goods and labour.

This may be a round about way of getting to my point here. I want you to think today. I want you to relate. Relate what I just said to your experiences. Your experiences are due to the concious energy withing you, giving you life, that you call your soul. All concious life is connected to the grid. I call this energy N. We are all N. We are all sharing the same concious energy here. All concious life. We are all the same. We are one.

The implications of this is that everyone is experiencing the same thoughts, it may not be the same train of thought as we are all individuals with our own ‘soul’ and set of experiences. The issue with thinking individually is that we are all of one energy. The more we work on ourselves individually, the more we share. Inspiration for the uninspired is not what I am talking about. I am talking about shared experiences.

Alpinism is about finding yourself. Some call it masochism. Some call it dangerous. I will not say it is not. The internal struggle that comes when making choices, life balancing ones, is the same in us all. The more we can be open, and in the ‘zone’, the easier we can flow and make these descisions correctly. The unseen result is the concious energy we all use to animated these bodies of dust gets enlightened, and we all benefit.

Go forth in your training. Community or solo. Go forth in your ventures, more than likely in groups, and know we are all at stages of the same growth. I will be doing the same.

Community

This post was a long time coming. Thought about it on Thursday. Started it and lost it twice now. Community and alpinism.

Alpinism, from what I understand as a newbie, is the next level to mountaineering. Less gear, less time, and often solo or with the smallest team possible. Alpinism is a spiritual journey of self then? The true aspect of any solo venture of this nature is not just the, “I am leaving my car here and will be back on…”. It is about a community of like minded individuals, that you trust and know. Actually know. These people need to count on your judgement as much as you trust theirs.

Beta sharing is the start of it, then outings with others. You begin to learn who you can trust and who can learn to care enough to be safe in the backcountry. Route finding is not necessarily a key factor in someone’s ability to survive. Mountaineering is about survival first, technical climbing second. The majority of the objectives you would want in our Canadian Rockies are obtainable with a 5.6 rating ascent. That being said, climbing a 5.6 in the gym or crag is far different than doing a 12km approach, then scrambling and that 5th class wall with all your gear, possibly including a bivy. Weather condition not mentioned.

Community is necessary to have the support needed to stay safe. Information on conditions and routes is essential in order to be successful. Being sucsessful is also important due to that fact that being unsuccessful can mean death. Ultrathon runners need support more than any other, yet are on their own the most. There is a balance to be found in any venture of this nature.

The balance to what I am saying here is that, I, Happy Alfano, am a person who shares. And that sharing is necessary. When someone in a community gains experience, the resulting understanding of the world around us is not added to our conciousness, it is multiplied. Conditions, routes, safety tips, training, ect., is only the start of it. The inspiration that can spark the life in others is immeasurable.

I hope that my new understanding of community while venturing on backcountry ventures allows me to be safer and help others in a sustainable manner. I know that your support in your mind for solo athletes will be in a new light as well.

Find routine, then test it.

Worship is a horrid word. I give thanks. I give thanks for the sun, and the moon. I give thanks for the flora, and the other fauna that are sharing life with me within the grid.

Life is routine. You have zero choice in this matter. The sun rises. It sets. There are seasons, and they, along with the climates created by the alpine, create the weather windows needed. Alpinsim is throwing off the routine.

I keep daily training in mind. I want a healthy body, and a healthy soul, so that when I do get the supported opportunity to venture off into the alpine, I get to do it in a sustainably and safe manner.

Saturday I set aside for rest, or summits. Or fun. I try to keep my mind in the concious, and stimulated with fun. Sunday is for worship.

What do I worship? I worship the Sun. Sol. I worship the energy provided to me. It is a thanks to NK. It is a thanks for his son. It is thanks. for paganism. And it is that thanks for food and shelter. I worship NK, NL, and N. All that is N. N IS the concious energy such as life. N is God. N is us.

Today I have a lot to give thanks for. I suppose I rested of sorts. Training is about mixing up the routine and giving rests to me. As rest day is Saturday, I did not exercise. Today I ran and focused my internal energy. Meditated. Made music. I did not work. The rest of my week is all of the above. As much as I can squeeze in. There is a reason we have a work weeks set up the way we do.

Todays post is not the norm I know. I have read a few strange posts today. A few odd blogs. I am doing the same. Moving forward we are now as one. I wish us the best.

I feel the harmonies in the universes today. I want to share that with you. If you are reading this and want my private Sunday meditation blurbs, drop me a line in a contact form on My Brother Enki. Much love.

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Meditation to centre

Finding the centre. Finding the Balance. It all begins with self. For most of us it is about dropping the ego. For few of us, it is about learning the worth of preservation.

The aspects of alpinism that involve the psyche are hard to train. The more you try, the further you will be from achieving the zone that is required to move with elegance. The ‘zone’ is the same as opening your third eye.

The ability to open yourself to the life around us is within. It can be trained, and it lay within the subconscious. When in the zone, movement becomes fluid. Anticipation becomes second nature. And the intuition to solve problems and move on is provided.

After I had wrapped up my duties for the day, I went to the local park. It was dead. The date dawned on me and it being the last 4:20 where cannabis would be illegal in Canada, I knew that the majority of the people I would want to reach today, would have their head’s full of crazy ideas about sticking it to the man.

I grabbed Black Beauty and headed up Fox Mountain. It has been a few days since my runs have taken me up there, as I am holding off for more snow to melt on those trails, and was not even in search of a view. I was seeking solitude.

The chilly Spring breeze that provided me with the spark to dig into myself was there. The smells of flora breaching the litter was around me. The sounds of the town below were muted. I found my peace.

Looking within leads one to let go of the experiences holding us back. Letting go is a huge part of the cycle. Life moves on. Move with it, or you will be left behind. Relax, for whatever you left will be revisited. You will not be the same, and that is always a great thing, as it provides us with the ability to grow.

Challenging yourself in the gym, on the trail, or at the crag, is only part of alpinsim. I am training my mind. I am also training my fingers. It has been 3 hours outside, and I am writing. Barely moving and meditating, but now it is time to write. It is time to share.

I don’t know about having a gift of anything in this life, but I do believe that training and determination goes a long way. I am training myself to stand high, and write about my journey. I hope it reaches you, as it reaches within me.

Humble beginings

Step 1 in learning alpinism; The mountains are always going to be bigger than you.

Jokes aside, I have nothing that I can be proud about. I have ran my life into the ground. Literally. I have exhausted every lifeline that I didn’t even know I had. I lost my car, I got layed off, and I had nothing to fall back on. I was thinking too many steps ahead, without any firm ground at my feet. I turned my life into canadian choss.

That being said, I have awoken my mind to the reality that surrounds us all. Starting off fresh is the only choice I left myself with, and I can only go up from here.

My body may be ready for taking the next step in my venture towards the heavens, yet the mountain game is two-fold. I learnt that spending most of my 2017 winter outside, meditating alone in the mountains. The mind has a lot to deal with in those situations, and the consequences are severe if one fails. I have been out enough to see someone crack, and not downplaying ropeless adventures, but I have not been in a situatuon that is pushing the limits to the extent I plan too in the near future.

Humility is not a strong aspect of my previous life. I know it, and if you knew me, you know it. On the plus side, I changed more than I thought possible, on the down side, I am no longer the same person at all. I am happy now, and not just in name. It is time to move forward in this life. I thought I was on a bonus round, I am just at the starting gates.

I ended up meeting a rad dude in William’s Lake. I am currently hired to help an old band put out a new album, and have chosen here to set my roots. There is a crag nearby, tons of trail running, and I am surrounded by the best mix of quiet beauty. The people in this place are awake, smiling, and it is a community.

Volunteering in this community lead me to meet this man named Eric. Eric works at the Salvation Army in William’s Lake. During the fires in BC last year, he was evacuated, and his home burnt to the ground. He has been unable to make it back to his plot until today. His fear that it remained standing was zero. He knew it would more than likely be gone. His hope to rebuild. His hope to move on. And his hope to grow a new community on this land was only strengthened.

The conversation we had as we walked the perimeter of the place he once called home humbled me. I have been trying to learn to be humble, but it is not something to learn. It comes with the awakening of our mind. It comes when you can breath in your own skin.

A few hours out in the woods, with another human, was the best medicine for me as well. Being mostly solo for the longest while had got to me. I enjoyed the trek, the sun, and the memories I created today. I enjoyed the fellowship I have begun in this place I now call my home. As much as alpinism can be a solo game, a community of like-minded support, is what I have been missing.

Trying to fit into any game is not ideal. Trying to be the best out of a lot is silly. I am trying to be the best me. I am training for it daily. I dedicate my life to bettering myself, because the better I am, the better we are. And we are team.