Forum
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...

Nightmare come true...

Have an interesting or epic climbing story? Post it here.
User avatar
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 5:30 pm
Location: Denver

Nightmare come true...

Postby sharkyjoe » Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:30 am

This is a story I've written in many forms for many different uses. This particular version accompanies my law school applications...

Years ago I lived as a ski-bum type person up in Aspen, Colorado. Ski-bum “type” because I had moved there in May, and the ski-season had just ended. I was out for a night of too many drinks with one of my roommates on the eve of a rare day free from work and took the opportunity to ask him what a new-guy like me should do with my day-off. I never dreamed it would result in a nightmare come true: exposed in public wearing nothing but my underwear.
The next morning, I had no idea why I’d set my alarm so early, much less why I’d laid out a raincoat, a sandwich, and a bottle of water. Even more mystifying was the scrawl on the back of my hand: Cathy Peaks – need pack. Funny last name, I thought, and is that her pack of cigarettes on the kitchen table? A dopey realization slowly crawled into mind that there was no cigarette-smoking girl named Cathy, but there were the Cathedral Peaks, and in accordance with my roommate’s recommendation I was supposed to be on my way to them by now. I swept the supplies from the table into a backpack, dressed in what I thought was the standard mountain fashion of jeans and a flannel shirt and hopped into my truck, headed for the outskirts of town.
Squinting through a whiskey-induced bleariness, I drove through a grayness of daybreak clouds that slowly gave way to the gorgeous kind of brilliant sky-blue most people will never know. The damp fragrance of pine and juniper stained the air with a scent I will forever associate with mountain mornings. After several wrong turns I found the trailhead and parked, never doubting I’d be back to town well before happy hour at the Red Onion.
Up into the pine trees I followed the trail, stopping to enjoy the view whenever it neared the stream coming down from above. I’d seen plenty of alpine rivers crashing among the rocks back in the Northeast, but this water somehow managed to sparkle a little brighter, somehow seemed a lot crisper. The hoary waters of the Adirondack Mountains had relentlessly carved through ancient stone, but this sprightly impulse of a mountain stream simply danced upon the rocks.
I found myself at Cathedral Lake, goggle-eyed at the extremes to which nature sometimes goes to impress me. Across from the rocky shore where I stood rose the nearly sheer cliffs of the Cathedral Peaks. Their blackened rock was banded with fields of blue and white snow. The peaks swept upward into towering pinnacles that looked exactly as mountaintops are supposed to: perfectly-shaped acute triangles mixed with a few a bit more obtuse. The far side of the lake lay frozen in shadow, but sun had cleared the nearer half of the water. Never had I seen water of such clarity, no color tinted its depths and the rocks at the bottom were as clear to me as the ones under my feet. The sapphire sky darkened with its closeness to the cosmos beyond.
I sat down for lunch on the shoreline absolutely captivated by the beauty of my surroundings. I looked down into the crystalline lake, across at the weather beaten mountains, up at the golden sun. Deeper I gazed into the shimmering depths, more intensely I surveyed the towering heights, solemnly I blinked at the warmth of the blazing sky. I admired the purity of the water before me. I revered the magnificence of the stone and rock opposite me. I marveled at the sun above me. Cathedral Lake called to me. Before I could stop myself I stood up, removed my boots and threw myself into the lake, never once considering the temperature of what a few hours ago was mostly snow and ice.
All beauty around me froze into a single bolt of ardent white brilliance. Shearing cold instantly numbed my brain, but not before a final message to just keep beating was sent to my heart. Fingers and toes were paralyzed as my arms and legs were simply forgotten. Sparks flew across my field of vision and before the frigid water had closed about my head, my feet touched bottom, and in an act of nearly superhuman self-preservation, I managed to launch myself up into the air and backwards to the shore. My heart hammered faster than seemed possible and my ears rang with a piercing shrill. I couldn’t help but laugh: my hangover was cured.
Laying out my clothes to dry on the rocks, I returned to my discarded lunch. As quickly as it was devoured, true hunger roared into my stomach. Impatiently I decided I could begin my hike down while my jeans, shirt and boxer shorts dried. I tied them to the back of my pack and headed back to the trailhead wearing nothing but the bare essentials, namely my left boot and my right boot. The sun warmed me from my chilly little swim but after a while the breeze picked up and I felt that perhaps my essentials were a little too bare. I took off my pack and untied my clothes to check their status. Only my boxer shorts had dried appreciably and pulling them on I shivered as I discovered they were still a bit wet.
I glanced at my watch and saw that happy hour was coming up soon and my gripping hunger was joined by a lusting thirst for cold beer. Picking up my pace, the trailhead soon came into view below. I noticed a group of hikers making their way up towards me and realized I was dressed in nothing more than a dingy pair of boxer shorts. I set down my pack to untie my clothes and… had lost them somewhere on the trail above. I’d have to pass these people in nothing more than my skivvies! I shouldered my load and decided if I couldn’t greet them wearing all my clothes, I could at least greet them wearing a smile.
"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…"
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

User avatar
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 5:33 pm

Trip

Postby DropZone » Tue Mar 08, 2005 4:42 pm

Sounds like an acid trip.
Oi, where's the f**king bar John?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests