LooseCrew-JeffO: Primeval Mountain Man


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Friday, September 15, 2006

Primeval Mountain Man

When I was 8, my parents loaded the old station wagon with all 5 of their kids and took us on an old-fashioned road vacation driving through the west. We drove from Kerrville, Texas through the butte and canyonlands of Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and the mountain states of Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado.
I grew up in the oppressive heat and humidity of Texas and Oklahoma. I hated it. Growing up in it didn’t make me “used to it” at all.

When I saw snow on the mountains in Colorado, I KNEW I would live here some day. There was never any other plan. There was never any other vacation other than to go to the mountains. Friends frequently suggested vacationing in cites! Can you believe that?! A city?! Are you crazy?!!!!! I live in a city! Why would I want to vacation in one?!
Okay, so many people have explained it to me thoroughly, so I understand where other people are coming from, but “understanding” doesn’t mean I relate.
I love altitude.

I love snow.

I love wind.

I love cold.

When I’m above treeline, in a blizzard, and the wind is slamming me with snow, there’s this primeval thing from inside that engulfs me. No matter how violent the weather around me, something deep in my soul feels – finally – totally at peace. Like I’m HOME!
My intellect chimes in, “Hey, you – uh – Goretex, nylon, like, if you really belonged here, you wouldn’t need to be cocooned in space-age materials and need hi-tech gear to travel!” But my soul is oblivious to my intellect.
Several years ago, I was alone in a valley above treeline and the weather was producing more tornados of snow than I’ve ever seen before. They’re like dust-devils, but bigger. Each was about 2,000-3,000 feet high with bases only 20 feet wide. One of them nailed me dead-center. I shoved my ice ax in and spread my feet to take the impact in a three-prong stance. Right afterwards, I shook my ax at it and yelled, “YEAH! KICK MY ASS, MOTHERFUCKER!” Hog heaven.
I love winter.

I don't just want to see the mountains, I want to feel the mountains. When the wind slams me, it's like the mountains hugging me and playing with me.

Each year when the first snows come, I feel the “URGE”. I gotta go climbing. The mountains beckon. Running season is ending; climbing season is beginning. But this year, I still have my October races to deal with.
Tomorrow morning, I need to race. I’m not registered and still not sure which one or where I’ll race. I don’t even have a distance to psych for. This is so haphazard. This is a klutzy weekend. Only thing I’m sure of is I’m gonna have tons of fun with people I – mostly – don’t know.
I'm livin' the dream.


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