mont blanc

Progress

doug — August 18th, 2008

About three weeks ago, I announced (with tremendous fan fare and a rousing opening second only to Beijing’s Open Ceremonies) that I was starting my own business.  So, my dear and trusted readers are probably wondering, how are things going?

Well, so far so good, but some days I wake up and wonder if I would have been better off staying in Tibet as a yak herder.  Getting out of the gate is truly difficult: the work that you put in is all expense, with very little tangible results (everything is on paper) and half the wild ideas that I’ve come up with end up going in, not the recycling bin, but the trash.  Some of my original ideas were so bad, they were put on a train in contamination barrels headed for the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository in Nevada.

Sarcasm aside, when I stand back and look back over the last month and look at the process that has gotten me to where I am right now, I’m rather amazed at it all.  Somehow, a little flicker of an idea sparked in my head, and through a rigourous process of throwing everything I could against a wall to see what stuck, has now turned a strategic and tactical plan that, if all goes well, is ready to be implemented and, barring any funding hiccups, should be live by the time we all sit down to eat Turkey.

Did you see that slight of hand?  I gave you a nice gloss over in my perfect plan above.  Funding!  While I’ve spent almost all of my professional career in Finance, asking people for moola hasn’t been the easiest experience.  On the fun scale it is somewhere between having your face duct taped to Michael Moore’s thigh on a 98-degree day in the middle of the jungle and being kicked in head by a Clydesdale.  Getting funded has almost nothing to do with Finance and everything to do selling yourself–just as much as your idea, if not more so–to people who are smarter and more experienced that you (that’s why they have money) and think you might be able to make them rich.

My description above is apt, but I’ve now embraced a core piece of my personality: I really do need to embrace my inner masochist.  Last year, when I was freezing in a tent at 19,000 feet ?  It sucked and I might have lost half my brain cells, but I loved it and would do it again and again.  As much as I whine about the funding process, and as much as it hurts starting from absolute zero, there is something really enlightening and actually <gulp> enjoyable about it.  It is amazing waking up in the morning with your unrestrained creative process as your best friend and, not being able to rely on anyone else, you have to figure out a way to take all of these ideas on paper and give them life.  In the Corporate world, my creative process has often gotten me into trouble, but here it is really the only asset I have.

This endeavor has also greatly challenged my views on optimism.  There are so many factors flying in your face every day that tell you that this is the most highly improbable thing you could be doing for yourself.  Much of my life, I’ve internally programmed my conscience to warn me of danger and to look for signs of safety.  Now, I am dangling myself out on a limb with my whole net worth, which isn’t exactly Gettyian, on the line with failure a strong possibility.  If I used the oh so illustrative and relevent Homeland Security Threat Level Metrics to measure the early stages of my constitution under likelihood of upcoming danger as Severe, High, Elevated, Guarded and Low, I’d be somewhere around F–ked.

Initially, the bumps in the road set me to panic as I had somehow convinced myself that mistakes along the way were going to be costly to my meager sums and that my margin of error was way too small.  Now, I realize that a day without a setback is a day where I am probably not pushing myself hard enough.  It is difficult, day after day, deliberately throwing oneself into the fire without support, but after you do it a few times, it becomes kind of cool.  Not to say that I dance through this mine field as Fred Astair either, but somehow, my brain is starting to look beyond the clutter into the potential future.  Being wound up so tightly, it took a few blows to force me to loosen my grip and understand that I can actually stear a lot better when I’m laid back in the seat, with a cold, um, Pespi in my hand (I would never condone drinking and driving under any circumstances) and Panama cranking on the radio.

Who knows how this will all turn out, but so far, the most important thing I’ve learned is I’ve found where I belong.

Heart warmning, isn’t it?

Just like Jerry’s kids, I’m just buttering you up to take your wallet.  So, if you want to give me some MONEY, you know where to find me.

If not, enjoy the free Doritos, which I’ve grown addicted to in the last month.

The Ulimate Adventure

doug — July 23rd, 2008

Regardless of your proclivities towards the Bible, in other words whether you read it as myth or literal, it is safe to say that from a philosophical point of view, a truism is conveyed in the story of when Eve ate from the tree of knowledge, namely that mankind kind of screwed itself.  Enlightenment does bring us certain benefits, no doubt about it, but knowledge isn’t always a pure and unvarnished good, even when the information is cloaked in the best of intentions.

Just what am I getting at here?  Well, a few months ago I spilled my smart ass, enlightened beans when I wrote the following post about Freedom:

Before I could do what I set out to do, I’ve had to begin the process of reestablishing the foundations which will eventually allow me to do what I set out to do. My initial thoughts were that this site would go silent until these things were in place, but, I’ve learned something indirectly from my good friend Ian Wood, that the process of reestablishing and regaining your foothold IS the interesting story. Fulfillment is all good and wonderful, but how one gets there is what people relate to versus the eventual results of the story. Accomplishments don’t happen without going through a lot of shit along the way.

So, where am I right now? Here is what I wrote in my journal at the Rombuk Monastery after fending off some gastro-intestinal issues, one year ago today…

…I think that this vulnerability is required to gain a way of living that I consciously choose, apart from mindless routine designed to construct certainty and the illusion of safety. This is what Bruce Lee meant when he said, “When one is not expressing himself, he is not free. Thus he begins to struggle and the struggle breeds methodical routine. Soon, he is doing his methodical routine as a response rather than responding to what is.”

I also made the infinitely foolish mistake of opening my mind to this drivel, when I quoted a passage I wrote at the Rombuk Monestary:

…It still leaves me with an extremely uncomfortable uncertainty around what lies ahead. I keep relying on the trust that I’ve placed in my preparations, plan and, most importantly, my team. We’ve done an excellent job in staying strong and healthy to this point, our acclimatization plan is excellent and we have a great Sherpa with some very solid experience here.

This is the crux for me. Full, 100%, pure commitment. Putting one foot in front of the other, not looking back and, as our Sherpa says, “bhurti, bhurti” or “slowly, slowly” doing what we set out to do…

A few months ago I was blindsided by a major life event.  At almost exactly 5:30 on a Wednesday afternoon, every metaphorical rope I had tied into for career and personal safety was maliciously cut when my then boss informed me that my services were no longer needed.  The financial and career safety I had built for the past 8 years shattered in a split, “sorry, this isn’t your fault, but we have to go in another direction,” and I was left holding a pink slip and an incredibly uncertain future.

The problem for me was just beginning.  Without the knowledge of everything I wrote above, I could have easily gotten back on the bandwagon with a job that provided a great living.  Unfortunately, I cannot escape the knowledge I’ve gained in the past and I didn’t feel settled with that option.  I’ve had this creepy business idea in my head for a while and instead of normally providing my thoughts a mild irritation during low activity periods (which, in my brain, is pretty frequent), it became a screaming banshee alerting each part of my body that if I want to live the life I say I’m determined to live, I have NO CHOICE, but to risk everything and build this silly business.

Dammit.  You have no idea how much this frees me, but at the same time, pisses me off to no end!  Just what do I think I’m doing?  Right now, I don’t have the money to do this, nor the resources to pull it off, nor the focus to hone my business plan versus blogging about nothing.

Actually, I now have a business plan, naturally of which I can’t divulge the full details, but it will be a business intelligence/web 2.0 solution for the adventure travel community.  I have a major problem with it, too: it is REALLY good.  I wish it was crap enough to scare me back into the corporate world, but instead it is actually compelling me to move forward.  So, right now I’m just a kid with a dream, but that’s it.  I hope to share with you here my process for moving forward and, somehow, getting this business built.

I’m haunted–HAUNTED–by this statement that I wrote a year ago:

This is the crux for me. Full, 100%, pure commitment. Putting one foot in front of the other, not looking back and, as our Sherpa says, “bhurti, bhurti” or “slowly, slowly” doing what we set out to do…

Acting on this firmly held belief, this week I liquidated all my “holdings” for cash, so that I can live modestly and do what it takes to get this business funded to hire or partner with people that can get this technology developed and launched.  If this doesn’t work, I am literally worth nothing; placed on the same economic plain as an entry-level McDonald’s employee (unless they have a piggy bank with some spare change in it, then they’ll have a leg up on me).  I’m headed off to Brazil in September to meet people within my industry to figure out how to break into the market.

Why am I so pissed off about this?  Why?  Because, I am honestly doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do.  This is beyond my dream–this is who I am…and it is scaring he bejesus out of me.

Tumbleweeds Rolling Through CW

doug — July 11th, 2008

Why have things been so quiet since my last post where I was looking to do a little more writing?

In “My Name is Nobody,” the protagonist, Nobody (brilliantly played by Terrance Hill), tells a Fable:

There was this little baby bird that fell from it’s tree in the cold of snow.    It starts peeping, “Pa peep! Pa peep!” as it was damn near freezing.

Along comes this cow.  She looks down at the little bird and feels sorry for it.   She raises her tail and… “splah!”

…She drops a steaming hot cow pie right on top of it.

The little bird starts again… “Pa peep! Pa peep!”  Because it’s hungry.

Along comes a mean ole Coyote…  It reachs down easy into the cow pie and picks the little bird up.   He raises the little bird higher and brushes the dirt off him real nice.

And then… “Gulp!” Swallows the little bird down all in one bite!

My grandfather says there is a moral to the story, but you have to figure it out for yourself…

At the movie’s end, the aging gunfighter, legend Jack Beauregard (played by Henry Fonda) figures out the moral to the story:

Folks that throw dirt on you aren’t always trying to hurt you, and folks that pull you out of a jam aren’t always trying to help you. But the main point is: when you’re up to your nose in shit, keep your mouth shut.

More later.  For now, I am going to keep my mouth shut.

Freedom

doug — May 18th, 2008

Things have been running rather quiet here since the launch of Continuous Wonder, leaving the continuously loyal masses of our site to continuously wonder when we are going to consistently publish here. It is a fair question, as we’ve asked people to hold tight during this time of war and want while we get our crap together and commit to executing our vision. The purpose of this post is to give you an idea of what has been happening behind the scenes that will eventually provide the foundation and basis for what will be published in this space going forward.

The purpose behind this site is really something that, I believe, captures one of the central values I have, which is the conscious and deliberate engagement with the world around oneself and how we, as an individuals, interact with it. What you, the reader, will see is ultimately the contributors’ highest form of self-expression. However, although I’ve been speaking in terms of “us” and “we” here in that Continuous Wonder is a collective, the purpose of this post is just to give you a personal look into what “Doug” is doing and thinking and I speak for no one else who contributes to this site.

One year ago, today, I was freezing my butt off in a tent, halfway around the world at 20,000 feet, generally wondering just why the heck any sane individual would deliberately choose to do such a crazy thing. This trip was the most dangerous trip I’ve ever taken, not due to any physical harm that could come to me, but that I would gain the knowledge and awareness that I would be required to live my life in a way that will forever bring intense challenges and uncertainty. Some of the decisions I had to make were the beginning and ending of a fantastic relationship, changing jobs and, finally, the re-commitment to some larger physical challenges, which slipped away as many of the disordered and unbalanced parts of my life were causing static and mental roadblocks towards their fulfillment. Baring major injuries, I know now that any drop offs in physical activity are usually an outward manifestation of internal strife.

Before I could do what I set out to do, I’ve had to begin the process of reestablishing the foundations which will eventually allow me to do what I set out to do. My initial thoughts were that this site would go silent until these things were in place, but, I’ve learned something indirectly from my good friend Ian Wood, that the process of reestablishing and regaining your foothold IS the interesting story. Fulfillment is all good and wonderful, but how one gets there is what people relate to versus the eventual results of the story. Accomplishments don’t happen without going through a lot of shit along the way.

So, where am I right now? Here is what I wrote in my journal at the Rombuk Monastery after fending off some gastro-intestinal issues, one year ago today. In a moment of weakness, I wrote about that which provides the foundational and philosophical basis for the way I choose to live my life:

An event like this (getting sick) will seriously test your will. Stories of the early adventurers in Tibet are filled with many contracting dysentery and even malaria, but those who didn’t die, found away to keep pushing on.

I’m thinking, more so than anything, that this trip is something that I need to do in order to learn that pain, suffering and discomfort are not things to be avoided at all costs. Pushing oneself and dealing with all the unseen and “unfair” adversity along the way are ultimately what makes us real human beings.

I feel so decadent in that my motivations are many times driven by the path of least resistance. My decision making is strongly influenced by this and I think this is why I’ve been ultimately restless for quite a while. I’m not taking care of my duties in the way that I know I need to only because I am trying to avoid any real pain…

This is the bottom of my depression. Once there, I see how lazy and fearful I’ve been and I start feeling very sorry for myself and many times I revert back to the anesthetizing behaviors that are ultimately harmful to me in the long-run.

Sitting here, on these rest days, although they are essential for your physical body, they are murderous on you mentally. The downtime gives you plenty of time to sit in your head and blow a lot of things out of proportion. It really leads me to question why I’m here when I could be at home in an easier life. Now, I recognize these thoughts for what they are and make the conscious choice to push on. In this case, I really have no choice and that is why I’m here. No excuses, no blame, no sore feelings, just a commitment to keep pushing to the goal regardless of how much it hurts to get there.

It still leaves me with an extremely uncomfortable uncertainty around what lies ahead. I keep relying on the trust that I’ve placed in my preparations, plan and, most importantly, my team. We’ve done an excellent job in staying strong and healthy to this point, our acclimatization plan is excellent and we have a great Sherpa with some very solid experience here.

This is the crux for me. Full, 100%, pure commitment. Putting one foot in front of the other, not looking back and, as our Sherpa says, “bhurti, bhurti” or “slowly, slowly” doing what we set out to do.

I hesitated to put this post up, because it is pretty revealing and a little embarrassing to admit and formally document your personal failings and weaknesses. But, I think that this vulnerability is required to gain a way of living that I consciously choose, apart from mindless routine designed to construct certainty and the illusion of safety. This is what Bruce Lee meant when he said, “When one is not expressing himself, he is not free. Thus he begins to struggle and the struggle breeds methodical routine. Soon, he is doing his methodical routine as a response rather than responding to what is.”

The other hesitation towards publishing this post, has to do with a fear of having this post interpreted as preaching to anyone who reads this as a check on how you should live your life. This is not my intention whatsoever. I don’t know who you are (Lord knows, I am having a hard enough time figuring my own thing) and it is up to you to do what you think is right in living your own life. I’m only writing about what I need to do, and if that inspires you, great, if it doesn’t, well, go jump in a lake. Only kidding, of course, I just hope that whoever you are, you can enjoy what we are about here and realize that this site is focused on being inclusive and that, at the very least, you can enjoy a couple of good jokes and some excellent pictures. Know that the “Comments” at the bottom are designed for all of you to bring a dialog to our monologues and that, without hearing from you, we feel like worthless dirt-bags who are doing all of this for nothing. Actually, we just like hearing from you as part of our interaction with the world is done through this site just as much as it is in the various adventures we engage in.

——-

As an epilogue to this post, for the good of the order, there are some practical restraints keeping me from writing here EVERYDAY. While the above post was designed to explain that excuses are bad, I do indeed have some very real, practical time restraints due to my current job that will prevent me from fully experiencing the “free” life that I’m determined to share with you. While I will be applying what I wrote about to work, I can’t write about it here. First of all, there is absolutely no way anyone would want to read it and, second, I can’t talk about it anyway. So, I’ll be committed towards delivering somewhat regular updates as I continue ridding myself of some further unnecessary time restraints outside of work, but the near long-term is going to continue to be sporadic when the required time spent in the office increases. When the time requirements ebb, you’ll see mighty flourishes from me that will leave you in strange bewilderment and confusion–but at least, you’ll have new content to read while you’re bored at work.

Saving the Cougar Ace

doug — May 4th, 2008

Let me set the stage: a cargo ship called the “Cougar Ace,” which was loaded with 4,000 Mazdas from Japan, has a major system failure at sea when the water tanks they use for ballast only fill up on the port side of the ship. Before the crew is aware of what happened, they unintentionally test Newton’s Third Law where “every action has an equal an opposite reaction”–the ship tips over and “rests,” listing at 60-degrees in the cold Alaskan waters.  Remarkably, the US Coast Guard manages to rescue the entire crew.

With the crew safe and sound, end of story, right? The Coast Guard has done their work and this 56,000 ton empty ship should limp along until it eventually takes in enough water to sink, thus providing the lucky inhabitants at the bottom of the sea with 4,000 brand new cars, which I’m sure they’ll immediately pimp out to their own specifications.

Unfortunately, for the crustaceans at the bottom of the sea, the insurance companies who cover such accidents are not quite as willing to throw up their hands and watch $300 million dollars sink to the bottom of the ocean. Kind of like the A-Team “if no one else can help–and you can find them, maybe you should hire” Titan Salvage. Titan Salvage is small group of some of the toughest, ballsiest, brilliant and enterprising people this side of the 21st Century. They are hired to come in and rescue these ships, literally putting their necks on the line betting the whole time that not only will they refuse to to go down with a sinking ship, they’ll save as much of it as they possibly can.  In the Wired story that I link to, you’ll see how Director Richard Habib and a handful of other men risk their lives to save the Cougar Ace, in hopes of gaining a payout at the end that ranges anywhere from 10-20% of the value of the ship and its cargo.

This is just a mind-blowing story. These innovative and gutsy men use everything from exotic, state-of-the art computer modeling on the fly, massive hydraulic pumps, and even their own fingers to plug leaks in order to bring the ship back upright. Just like the post Cold War Army, the ship salvage industry had come to rely too much on sophisticated equipment and machinery. Titan Salvage on the other hand, provides a glimpse into the new Army, where they based their strategy on “the idea that ships could be saved by human ingenuity, not horsepower…the company’s unconventional approach worked.” If these men fail at their task, they not only do not get paid, they also risk killing themselves. Failure is not an option.

Read the whole thing and check the video:

doug — March 7th, 2008

See, I’m no liar!  A post!

Here is a great resource for those of you who are into doing some broadly defined “adventure.”  Outside Magazine’s Adventure Finder.

It is a step-by-step process that asks you various questions about what generally want to do and where you generally want to go and then it searches and generates results for various packaged adventures taylored to your answers.

For example, let’s see how is works for me:

Step 1: Who’s Going? Me: “Singles”

Step 2: What do you want to do–activity type? Me: “Hiking/Walk/Climb” –> then “Hiking/Trekking”

Step 3: Where do you want to go? Me: “Asia” –> then “All Asia”

Results:

Price Trip Name Tour Operator
$1499
14 days
Borneo Revealed
Hiking/Trekking, in Malaysia

Borneo is a nature lover‘s delight with an abundance of exotic flora and fauna. We climb majestic Mt…

Adventure Center
$2800
12 days
Tibet Trekking Adveture
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in Tibet

Tibet is an enigma to most Westerners. While it sounds exotic to some, it is intimidating to others. We hear…

Zephyr Adventures
$3298
12 days
Bhutan “Shangri La” Multi-Sport
Hiking/Trekking, in Bhutan

Bhutan, nestled in the heart of the great Himalaya, has for centuries remained aloof from the rest of the world….

The World Outdoors
$870
15 days
Everest Base Camp
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in Nepal

An unforgettable expedition into the most mountainous corner of the world, the Nepalese Himalayas. Everest has…

Intrepid Travel Inc.
$2060
10 days
Mongolia Gobi Family Adventure
Hiking/Trekking, in Mongolia

One of the most remote countries and last frontiers on earth, Mongolia is a land of dramatic contrasts from…

Adventure Center
$3799
12 days
Central Tibet Multisport Expedition
Hiking/Trekking, in Tibet

Paddle hike and bike across the high Tibetan plateau, experiencing Tibet as few tourists ever will. After…

Adventure Trippin
$3500
16 days
Women’s Adventures - Trekking In Bhutan
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in Bhutan

Bhutan, a Himalayan country situated between India and Tibet, is one of the most isolated nations in the world….

Adventures in Good Company
$2798
13 days
India Himalayan Hiker
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in India

The Markha Valley Trek is one of the most varied and beautiful treks in the world, venturing high into the…

The World Outdoors
$1400
19 days
Borneo Unearthed
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in Malaysia, Malaysia

Sultry, spiritual and seductive, Sabah and Sarawak are the embodiment of a tropical paradise. We combine the…

Intrepid Travel Inc.
$1620
12 days
Across the Roof of the World
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in Nepal, Tibet

The incredible scenery of Mt Everest and rich religious history of the region make this trip a true adventure….

GAP Adventures
$1540
10 days
China - Walk The Great Wall
Hiking/Trekking, in China

Stretching from the Yellow Sea westwards to the edge of the Gobi Desert, some 2700 miles, the magnificent…

Adventure Center
$3898
11 days
China Multi-sport
Hiking/Trekking, in China

More than just an exotic travel destination, China is a phenomenon. Home to one of the world’s longest…

The World Outdoors
$1325
9 - 14 days
Vietnam Hiking Adventure
Hiking/Trekking in Vietnam

Enjoy a hiking adventure in Vietnam - from quiet mountain villages to the hustle and bustle of heaving…

Global Adventure Guide
$3298
15 days
Thailand Multisport
Canoeing, in Thailand

Welcome to Thailand, “the land of a thousand smiles”. This is a country with a rich cultural heritage and…

The World Outdoors
$2375
11 days
Jordan Explorer
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in Jordan

This comprehensive tour of one of the Middle East’s most hospitable and exotic countries offers a full range of…

Wildland Adventures
$3850
21 days
Hidden Valleys of Ladakh
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in India

Led by Garry Weare this is an outstanding trek and an ideal introduction to the visually stunning and culturally…

World Expeditions
$4050
22 days
Sikkim Bhutan Trek
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in Bhutan, India

This is an exhilarating itinerary combining a spectacular trek in Sikkim with a short trek in the Buddhist…

World Expeditions
$2890
25 days
Everest Circuit
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in Nepal

An unsurpassed three week trek that takes in all the highlights of our ‘Gokyo Lakes’ trek and our ‘Everest Base…

World Expeditions
$2590
20 days
Everest Base Camp
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in Nepal

This trek is designed to fulfill the dream of many trekkers to experience the historic route to the base of the…

World Expeditions
$2350
15 days
Sherpa Everest
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in Nepal

This is our most popular introduction to trekking in the Everest region. A trek that leads through the famous…

World Expeditions
$2150
14 days
Annapurna Machapuchare
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in Nepal

This trek offers the opportunity to escape Nepal’s tourist trails, to venture into the deep forests and roam the…

World Expeditions
$3450
16 days
Kingdom of Mustang
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in Nepal

The Kingdom of Mustang preserves some of the last vestiges of traditional Tibetan Buddhist culture. Situated on…

World Expeditions
$4590
18 days
Bhutan High Trails
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in Bhutan

A superb trek into the heartland of Bhutan timed when rhododendrons are in full bloom. We follow forest trails -…

World Expeditions
$3790
15 days
Backroads of Japan
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in Japan

This is World Expeditions’ most popular trip in Japan. We ascend mountain trails and take valley hikes to get a…

World Expeditions
$1650
10 days
Jordan Explorer
Hiking/Trekking, Cultural Immersion in Jordan

For such a compact country, Jordan has an overwhelming array of historical sites and geographical features ripe…

World Expeditions

Now you give it a try!

Hello? Helllllooooo….hellloooo…

doug — March 7th, 2008

Sadly, my good friend Kyle builds this utterly amazing site and it sits just waiting for someone to fill it with tales of adventure and excitement.  Yet, it remains dormant due mainly to my neglect, except for a couple of posts about not posting.  It is true, I have a new job and it is very demanding of my time at this point, however, where there is a will there is a way.  

I will be posting towards the end of this weekend.  Bet your ass on it.

Or my ass–which is kinda skinny and small, so I guess I’m not losing much in terms of quantity if I don’t post, but since I only have one ass, I should probably keep to this promise. 

Update

doug — January 24th, 2008

Sorry for the long hiatus here.  I’ve been in the middle of transitioning to a new job.  My last day is at my current gig is on Friday, then I go to Cabo for 6 days, and then I start the day after my return at my new gig. 

Lots of fun stuff in store for Cabo–I’ll be posting about my upcoming adventures shortly afterwards. 

Suffering = Fun?

rich — January 11th, 2008

Tonight I’m heading back up to the mountains to ski into the middle of nowhere with a large pack on my back.  The trip will involve approximitely 18 hours of driving, 2 red bulls, 4 Van Halen albums, 48 hours of exhausting ski touring and climbing, 7 GU packs, one long trailless and manzanilla-choked canyon, a beautiful snow-laden couloir and a 14,000′+ summit.  Early season conditions will surely be challenging, and some serious suffering is on the agenda.  Why do I drive such long distances only to hurt?  Maybe it is best said by the bumper sticker I once saw — “My Best Vacation is Your Worst Nightmare”.  Another perspective is seen here, in an article I wrote for Couloir Magazine a few years ago.

Enjoy the suffering!

Baddest Animal Ever

doug — January 6th, 2008

If there were a cage match to determine the baddest animal of all time, which would you pick?

Barry Bonds
Cape buffalo
Alaskan brown bear (grizzly bear)
Lion
Hippopotamus
Tiger
Porcupine
Elephant
Giant mutant badger
Bigfoot

Check out outdoor writer, Tom Stienstra from SF Chronicle, for his breakdown of this hypothetical match-up for survival.