It's kind of interesting:
I asked my parents for a goPro for Christmas, it was my only real gift. I don't know why I wanted one. I'm not really one of those people always posting videos of their exploits to see if they can't get a tiny round of thumbs-up applause.
I guess I had some sort of weird idea: I thought about the things I'd so much like to do when I grow up. I have so many weird and remote isolated mountains on my bucket list.
Off the coast of northern Canada is Baffin Island, an island that's frozen 10 months of the year, and doesn't have any spectacularly high mountains but nonetheless has some of the freakiest and highest faces in the world. The face of Mount Thor, on the island, is widely considered to be the highest vertical-or-better face in the world, though in fairness that's because, for example, there's faces a thousand feet higher but slightly less than vertical, though not enough to be much consequential.
And deep in the jungles of South America are the tepuis, giant mesas of Pre-Cambrian rock that rise out of the jungle, so high and so old that they've evolved their own biospheres on their huge, flat tops, independent of what grows in the jungle below.
Angel Falls, highest in the world, flows off the edge of one of these.
And that's only scratching the surface. I have spent almost all my free time fantasizing about completing climbs of such inhospitable pieces of rock and ice. Perhaps for most of them I'd have a partner, for some of them if I couldn't get one, I'd go it alone, like Jon Krakauer's ascent of the Devil's Thumb in Into the Wild.
And there's a chance that this constant motion would leave me in such good health I'd live to a ripe old age. Perhaps the most accomplished climber in history, Fred Beckey, a Washington native, is 91 and counting, and still continues to climb and give lectures of his exploits posting more first ascents than anyone else in history.
Or also, perhaps, there's the considerable chance of dying relatively young, whether by my mistake or the inherent perils of rock climbing. An experienced member of the western Washington climbing community, also named Chad, died in his 30's a few days ago climbing Cerro Fitz Roy, one of the hardest peaks in the world, in South America. He was hit by a rockfall. Nothing much to do about that.
His wife had died several years earlier on a climb in Alaska.
But so what, of course, if that happened? What, should I get a job and work till 65, at which point I buy a piece of land with a useless crop on it called grass and assiduously maintain it and mow it for nobody's eyes until it, and I, die?
The risk of the mountains is always there. It could just as easily have been Fred Beckey fifty years ago hit by a rockfall, and Chad who lived into his 90's. Neither really had anything to do with it.
But whether you come out on the right side of risk, like Fred Beckey, or not, like many others, the risk of doing nothing is much greater. If you do nothing, you know you'll never enjoy life as much. If you do it, you might not enjoy it as long, and you can minimize that might through safety measures.
And in the end, the risk is part of the fatal attraction of the mountains.
But, I thought, I'd bring my camera along. Sometimes it would be part of a cheerful group of 3, my partner, me, and the camera. Sometimes I and the camera would be a dynamic duo.
But eventually I would die, and since few people would know me, someone would find my camera, like Jon Krakauer found Chris McCandless's story and researched it, and this person would watch my videos and perhaps become interested. And then they'd make a movie, sort of a documentary, out of my videos, editing them together, with me as the sole, sympathetic character, and the audience would follow my adventures and then, perhaps, at the end of it all, hopefully at the end of some suitably prolonged and dramatic tragedy in the quartz caves perched in the middle of the sheer walls of the tepuis, I and my climbing partner would meet our ends, but the camera would live on lifelessly.
And then perhaps the audience would be inspired to do something interesting with their own lives, the same way Chris McCandless doubtless has inspired many through the story he never knew would be told.
After I got the camera, of course, I realized none of that was going to happen. And I filmed videos of climbing, biking, and prusiking up trees, and yet somehow when the time has gotten around to posting them on Facebook I've just run out of motivation and purpose for why I would want to do such a thing.
That doesn't mean I regret buying the camera. In many ways, it is a friend, although it brings me the least sympathetic friend I could ever have: my future self. But though I enjoy solitude and, sometimes, adventures with one or two friends, the camera is a constant companion through whom I can converse with my favorite person: my present self.
Basically, what I was getting at, is that this website sorta seems to be like that camera now. I thought the site was limping along, but it appears to have been totally, completely dead for over a week. So while probably no one would read this journal if the site was still active because its so long and rambly and everyone hates those, I know no one will read it now. But that doesn't mean the journal is useless. I didn't really write it for you, the reader, unless you, the reader, is myself. It is a communion and discussion with myself, and in the end, I must say in my enduring narcissism: it was an intellectually stimulating conversation.