Thursday, January 23, 2014
"Dream On" Aerosmith
Last year, when I wrote about writing not going to winter waterfalls, it did more to make me want to go back to them than it did to reinforce the decision that I had made to sell my crampons and my ice ax, which ended up being an act of surrender during the winter of 2011.
Something about looking at the images of these sculptures in the frozen middle of winter, their ice fastening them tightly to the surrounding walls of the gorge, made me want to walk back into the corridor just to see if all of the skeleton-like icicles hanging from the walls were really real, and while I had pictures of them in quantity, the reality was that they were now an ancient part of my past, 5-10 years prior to the words that I was currently reminiscing about them.
As I wrote the words, I thought about what it would take to make a plan to get back there to Ricketts Glen in the winter, but alas, it wasn't to be in 2013. Instead, the plan would have to wait for training and gear acquisition.
Nevertheless, as I formulated this plan, there was a sensation of knowing what negative stuff could be (serious falls and or hypothermia) and equally, there was a knowledge that I had a very real importance in my day to day life, but with that, I really did need to challenge myself and to see and to be something more than what this sea level existence would be without them.
If that was to be winter waterfalls, so be it.
And so I kept looking on at the pictures as I chose to climb up in elevation while finding new and old destinations that would make me something real, something better than what I was allowing myself to be. I walked those 1,000 steps, and I journeyed along the Standing Stone Trail, Pole Steeple, and up to Spruce Knob, Flat Rock, the Pinnacle, the Cliff Trail, and along other trails that stood before me. I kicked back when they kicked ahead. It was a magnificent feeling.
I was alive again in the middle of Nature as I stood on top of the world.
And that image of what they are is something that I need to become reacquainted with now.
I need to see with my own 2 eyes as to what the deep freeze looks like in 2014.
I want to feel the extreme cold on my skin as I walk beyond the signs of warning and enter into the place where only the privileged few get to go.
I have to know the endurance that it takes to life my booted foot over and over in order to get in and out of the balloon loop trail.
I need to taste the wetness of the winter winds as they howl and the waters splash beside me.
I must once again confront the demons of the season as I walk with the crampon-ed step on those gray ice slabs toward the heart of the state park that is my Ricketts Glen.
I shall once again return to it when the maddening hordes and their trash heaps are nowhere to be seen as I claim it for my own and that of my companion that I will bring in with me.
This is journey that I simply must accomplish.
As I look out my window today, I see the snows that will color the forest floor. With that, I look at the winter forecast and see single digit nights and more snow on the horizon. The waterfalls are grinding to a halt as I type my words.
microspikes that have replaced my crampons and the axe that has replaced my old winter axe. They will serve me well as I descend along the trail. I know how far I can go reasonably. I know how to get back up the trail. I know my limitations, and I know my heart and my dreams.
As the winter winds howl in Ephrata, so too do they howl outside of Benton. They will continue to scream in ghostly fury as they turn Sullivan and Luzerne Counties into icy wonderlands. I await the opportunity to confront them again.
I look forward to a Friday warm-up at Pole Steeple, conquering the mountain for the view of the valley and the lakes that sits beneath me, if only to say that I was able to get back out to enjoy the winter wonderland before this weekend and next weekend afford me opportunities to do it for real. If I get my shot at Flat Rock in the time in between, all the better!
Will it be the Poconos and their big mountains that stand guard around the Delaware Water Gap be the ones to call me or will it be somewhere else?
And as the hot stove keeps burning through the winter and on to February 6th for the first spring training reports, we must do what we have to do to make it through the dead cold of winter. Right now, the grip looks pretty strong, but with it, the views that I envision seem inspiring.
Oh, to be out there instead of in here, dreaming about them!