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Adventures of Sleep… or lack thereof June 13, 2012

Posted by Marc Troeger in adventure.
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Life is something you do when you can’t sleep.  – Fran Lebowitz

I’ve heard people say that when you get older, you don’t sleep as much.  That certainly isn’t going to be a change for me.  I don’t sleep very well.  I never have and probably never will.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t hate sleep.  It just doesn’t come to me very easy.

Maybe I just don’t sleep right.  That reminds me of what the comedian, Steven Wright once said, “When I woke this morning, my wife asked me, “Did you sleep good?” I said, “No, I made a few mistakes.”

Believe me, there are many times when I’ve wanted to sleep.  And sometimes it comes and sometimes it doesn’t.  Over the years I’ve tried over-the-counter sleep aids, herbal teas and meditation.  I’ve tried self-help books and special lighting as well as white noise or new age music.  I have even tried Ambien, which resulted in a failed, and somewhat comedic experiment with prescribed sleep aids. (hint: future blog post).

I don’t advocate anyone not sleeping.  I know people who, if they don’t have their 8-10 hours of sleep a day, they can’t function.  I also know people, like me, who can operate quite normally on 3-4 hours of sleep a night, for extended periods of time.  Studies have shown that sleep is healthy and necessary.  We all have our different tolerance levels for how much sleep we need.

My problem could be that, unconsciously, I carry this theory that sleep interrupts all that you want to get done in a day.  There’s just too much to do!  And maybe that’s it.  When I lie down at night, recapping the day, planning tomorrow and thinking about the next adventure, my mind gets carried away.  The thoughts of what’s next and what’s just over the horizon and what could “be”… that sometimes just erases sleep.

I’m a strong believer in what Dale Carnegie once said “If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there…”.

So, here am, doing something.  Sleep will come soon enough.

Totally Committed June 5, 2012

Posted by Marc Troeger in adventure.
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“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.”
Ed Vestures, from his book No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World’s 14 Highest Peaks.  

When climbing a mountain, getting to the top is optional. You can turn back at any time. Once you’ve reached the summit and shouted at the top of your lungs “I made it!” you have just made a critical commitment in your adventure.  You have to climb down. Climbing down is not an option. Climbing down is mandatory.

Though many of you might not take on adventures like mountain climbing, any adventure you do undertake requires a level of commitment nonetheless.

A few weeks ago, I went backpacking into the Paria Canyon with a several friends, including my friend Matt Walker from InnerPassage, who led the trip.

The Paria Canyon is an amazing place. Pictures can barely do it justice.  It’s one of those places where you just have to “be”.

For perspective… notice the little,
tiny person in the lower left hand corner.

Paria is located in southeastern Utah, along the Arizona border, just north of the Grand Canyon. It’s a magnificent slot canyon that starts out as a wide, dry (at least when we were on it) sandy wash that leads into an ever-narrowing canyon with over 1800 foot walls of striking mars-colored sandstone.   As you progress, through the canyon, the Paria River begins seeping as springs, up through the sand and through the sandstone walls. Eventually, you start crossing the growing river many times until you give up and begin walking through the river itself, up to your thighs in some places. At several points, the towering walls close in on you to the point where you can almost reach out your arms and touch both sides. Eventually, as you begin to exit the canyon, it opens up wide as you enter the desert, walking on ridges high above the Paria River, flowing below. Beautiful, dry and hot; Stark scrub and cactus all around; lizards running here and there with the occasional evidence of snake tracks as they sought respite from the hot, scalding sun.

To experience the full breadth of the Paria Canyon requires a commitment. You have to hike the full 38 miles, from the trail-head at the White House Campground, all the way to Lee’s Ferry on the Colorado River. It will take you four days of continuous hiking (or, tack on a few more if you just want to take your time).

You see, the full beauty of Paria Canyon doesn’t really begin to make its appearance until the second day when you’re halfway into the canyon. To get out, you have to hike the other half, or return to where you started; same distance, two more days either way. Getting out is not an option. There are no other trails out, because the canyon walls are too high and too steep.  A Paria adventure requires a commitment, that, when done with care and caution, and the proper experience, can be a trip of a lifetime.

While you don’t have to scale a mountain or spend four days, backpacking through steep canyons for your own adventure, you do have to make a commitment, taking advantage of the opportunities presented you. An adventure is what you make of it, and the stories you can tell along the way.

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