Trees, short sleeves, and the song of birds

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The perimeters of a comfort zone can be uncomfortable.

This isn’t rocket science, but is often something we drift through life unaware of. Often because we never venture farther than the borders of our daily routine.

As I sit in an Anchorage city park and watch the wind go through the leaves on a tree I realize just how much I appreciate everything.
Upon an expedition return, everything seems better.  An expedition is fun, amazing, and the views incredible, but participants often forget about what happens after the finish line.

After journeying to the edge of our planet’s wild places we realize just how amazing everything is that we live with everyday.  This morning I woke up and said, “I love wearing a t-shirt” and really noticed the song of birds on my walk.  This is what we can take away from a journey. Denali is an amazing place, but so is everywhere… however it is only by living through contrasts that we have anything to compare it to.

This expedition was one of contrasts.  Long stretches of high camp boredom mixed with intense excitement on fixed lines.  A picture perfect summit day without a breath of air compared to walking in a windy ping-pong ball on the lower glacier for four days. With all the contrasts it only makes us realize just how rich and experienced our lives are.  Things are amazing! This is the enlightenment, beatification, and transcendence that we learn from a 17 hour summit day, 8 days at high camp, and CMC issues at 14k. This is the contrast that makes all of our lives richer.

Through all the contrasts the people on this expedition were beacons to guide the way.

Jimmy… pushing the age ceiling higher than anyone can believe

Trudi… being the most solid metaphorical rock to anchor to

Jen… making sure to always have her spirits up (even when over-boots won’t fit)

Loyd… whose “two-tent-carrying-strength” and persevering attitude is sure to get him to the bottom of the planet

Mark… proof that calm, quiet, and direct communication on the front of the rope will help anyone calmly push through even the most stressful situations.

Paul… whose dryer-sheet smell, wafts through the breeze as proof that his personal hygiene is way above par.

David… showing that a polite attitude can make tea time at 17K feel like High Tea with a king

Dan… exhibiting determination facing the fixed lines for a second time, and overcoming any obstacle to prove just how far one can go.

and Grant… who exhibits amazing qualities of friendliness and leadership even when operating beyond 100%

To all of you that came on this “limit-pushing” amazing exemplification of our planet’s ability to prove that life is an awesome thing to be involved in… thank you.  Thank you for all of your greatness, and I hope that the birds sound sweeter, the t-shirt feels great, and the wind in the trees never ceases to amaze you until the next adventure.

From Alaska… Gunalchéesh áyá x’axwdataaní

Bill Dwyer

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