Sunday, April 12, 2015

One of the nice things about testing your limits is the inner strength it gives you. When I was younger I spent 28 days on an Outward Bound moutaineering course. The first day we were taught how to rappel. This involved clipping a carabiner into a rope, hooking into a safety belay line, standing on a 100 foot cliff and dropping off backwards.

We were supplied with minimal food and I lost 26 pounds that month. At one point we were set out in the wilderness for three days with no food. It was called soloing. You were given 10 matches, a notebook, pencil, and they gave us a poncho since it looked like rain. It took seven matches to get a fire started and I didn’t let it go out for three days. I was put next to a glacial lake just below snowline on Mt. Jefferson. I slept during the day and shivered all night huddling around the fire. The warmth of sunrise was a blissful time. After 3 days of no food I was a bit weak when the patrol leader came back to pick me up. But ever since then I have never worried about being stuck out in the middle of nowhere with a broken down motorcycle.

When you are travelling through life and the chips are down it is the remembrance of past difficult experiences that can hold you up and give you perspective. Like the time my bike conked out one night in a driving rainstorm in the Colombian mountains. I remember thinking to myself, this isn't too bad as I pushed my bike back a few miles in the dark up a hill and coasted down to a village. Not as bad as Outward Bound that's for sure.

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