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"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars."

-Jack Kerouac

I go to the mountains each time with an air of humility. A humbleness that is open to change and honest in its endeavors. For I know now, more than ever, that the wisdom held in far off places, in rock and in stone is no different than that within flesh and in bone. I recognize it in the eyes of those who venture into far off places. I see it in the cascading hues of the dawn's alpenglow. I find it within myself in times of solace and in hopeless abandon. I feel it in the touch of a woman and in the beautiful connection between strangers who may never meet again. I am awestruck by it in the presence of colossal obelisks. Those that are made of ice and of stone. It is in those places, those people, that I discover myself time and time again.

There are many words that I could use to reference what I mean, to attempt a translation of experience or to convey the stillness of a moment. But no matter how hard I try you will never know exactly what I mean. You will never know what I have felt nor what I feel. Why? Because I am not you, and you are not me and that will always be. Even as I sit here and these words flow forth out of me, I know that the process that is me, that is my mind, that emergence of thought out of flesh and bone will be different tomorrow than it is today. We are all castaways you see, endlessly searching the horizon of life for some stable ground to stand on as the entire world shifts beneath our feet. We move through life trying to see where we are by where we've been, a continuous effort by the self to illuminate the path ahead, in all that dark, by collecting shadows from the past.

This is where we are. An endless battle of symbol and analogy. A paradox of substitution. One thing for another, over and over again. It's like trying to know the ocean by its contents alone, by the water and the sand. You may understand each of them perfectly well, but you will not know the Pacific until you watch the sun fall off the edge of the world, until you hear the waves crashing endlessly against the shore, until you see the Gulls soaring overhead, until you feel each and every granule washing effortlessly between your toes. At that moment you will know, know how simple and how perfect it all really is. To just be. Right here, right now, in the places and with the people, where we find ourselves lost. Lost in those little moments that change our lives forever.

Ben captured this moment of Thomas and Courtney acting a fool atop Pigeon Spire in Bugaboo Provencal Park, Canada after we climbed the West Ridge, what could be the best 5.4 in the world.

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