Monday, July 30, 2007

On Mountain Climbing

So, last week, I climbed Debar Mountain with my wife. This was my 3rd trek up. The last time I climbed it I was in high school, and the first time I went up, I was 10 years old.

Toni had never climbed a mountain before. And maybe Debar wasn't the best choice for a first (9 miles round trip and the last bit of it is a real doozy), but I wanted it to be her first because it was my first. I wanted to experience it for the first time all over again. There are easier and more difficult peaks to climb in the Adirondacks. But honestly, despite growing up there I've never climbed any others (at least not in the Adirondacks-- I've climbed a few in Maine though).

Anyway, as it had been so long since my last climb-- I'd forgotten how long a hike it was, how buggy it was, and how long it took to climb the last chunk of it (about 0.8 mile/1.2 km). I'm sure I drove Toni nuts saying "not much farther" repeatedly (to the point where she asked me to stop saying it "or else"-- I stopped saying it before finding out what "or else" was).

So when we finally crested the summit and ate our lunch overlooking the Adirondack Mountains, the lake below where my family was camping, and the pond nearby where I'd gone to Scout Camp several years ago it was like seeing it for the first time all over again. This time though I was as much in awe of Toni's reaction to the view as I was in the view itself. I also relished the absolute silence and knowing I couldn't be reached by phone, cell-phone, laptop, walkie-talkie or any other device.

And the thing is, due to lack of nearby cell phone towers, the heights of the peaks, the 40 ft. limit on any towers, and the high content of iron-ore in the Adirondack Mountains, it's near impossible to get a cell phone signal not only on that mountain but also anywhere at the campsite where my family was staying. My parents mentioned they'd found a spot near a road sign about 4 miles away from the campground but I purposely opted not to test that theory.

It was just so refreshing and so relaxing to know I couldn't be reached. I was on vacation not just from my job but from the problems of everyday life and the world around me. I didn't want or need a TV. I didn't want or need technology of any sort. In fact I avoided it as much as possible and relished every minute of having that "cord" cut.

Toni went into this vacation not expecting to enjoy it but keeping an open-mind nonetheless. She came out of the vacation looking forward to next year and wishing it wasn't already over. The things she was dreading the most (the showers in particular) she ended up not minding quite so much. We even picked out a couple of waterfront sites we want to put our names in for for next year.


Susan as herself said...

I have only hiked AROUND Debar Mtn---never climbed it... it is lovely though, and yes, I recall the deer flies and mosquitos well... UGH.

But yeah, it's great to be completely cut off from society and technology like that. It really does clear your mind and purge your soul. You feel five years younger and much healthier afterwards!

Dantallion said...

What you describe is EXACTLY why I go camping in the adirondacks every year. (well, except the part about Toni - I've never met your wife.) For some reason, I didn't go this year. And I seriously regret that decision. It's such a beautiful and peaceful place to completely disconnect from the outside world.

Snooze said...

I need a week-end like that.