Wednesday, December 30, 2009

With Hope Unwavering


Way back in January when I started this endeavor I went and hiked up the hill behind Saint Francis of Assisi Church here in La Quinta. There's a cross at the top of the hill and I thought that would be fun to hike up to. I was wrong. The hillside was mostly loose rocks and not fun at all. The view was good but that was about all. On top of that, I lost my keys. I went back a few times to try and find them but no luck. I figured I'd try one more time.

Find the original story here.

I'm looking up the chute that I have to climb and I feel like I've returned to a bad dream. These rocks are not made for climbing. They are loose and unstable, not fun.

The climbing goes quickly and I get to where I have to traverse to the cross. I won't be going down this way and I'm glad.

I traverse over to the cross and climb the final slope to the top. This is terrible climbing with loose rocks on top of loose dirt. I have to commend whoever it was that hauled a cross up here.

The view, however, is wonderful.

I hear a screech from the north and see a couple of Red Tail Hawks dancing on the breeze.

I watch them for several minutes until they disappear into the heavens.

I know my keys are somewhere on this face but I am not looking forward to the climb down.

I did come better prepared this time, though. I brought a collapsible ski pole to help my balance on the way down. I also say a prayer as well, just in case.

I hike down the face and get to the cross just above the church parking lot and while I saw old cans and tatters of mylar balloons there are no keys. I leave to hike down to the parking lot and wonder if it's really worth another trip up here. I get to where I'm about fifteen feet above the parking lot and realize I'm off route. I start to move over to get back on course and...

Oh My God! It's a miracle! I cannot believe what I am seeing but it is my keys. They are here in plain view and I cannot believe that I nor anyone else ever spotted them. They have been sitting here, exposed to the elements, for almost a full year. Even more unbelievable is when I get home the keyless remote still opens The Wife's minivan.

I have just one day left and I will have succeeded in hiking every day for this entire year. It's been an incredible experience and one I don't plan on doing this hike. When you've done what you've set out to do, why do it again?

That doesn't mean I don't have plans for next year and beyond. Stay tuned for what's next. Hiking every day for a year is only the beginning.


Libby said...

Seek and ye shall find! Amazing story and wonderful blog. Enjoy your last hike of 2009 today.

Ed said...

Congratulations on finding the keys.

As for the completion of a year of hikes, when the things we do for love turn into the things we do as a chore, you risk losing an important part of who you are. Better to do it for the love and forget the ticking of an achievement.

Libby said...

I disagree with Ed. When we set ourselves a goal, and complete that, there is a sense of satisfaction that comes with it. Otherwise, why set goals? And who said this task was a chore? Why are you raining on Hal's parade? Sour grapes?

Hal Summers said...

The reason I chose this task is because I love hiking. When people choose something for a New Year's Resolution they usually want to quit a bad habit but I wanted to be positive and do something I love.

There were times that it felt like a chore to quit what I was doing and go but once I got out on the trail that feeling went away rather quickly.

Going every day really made me look for new places to go and look for new things in places I thought I knew already.

Would I do it again? No.

Am I glad I did it? Absolutely.

Ed said...

Libby, please don't misunderstand. Goals are an important motivator. Hal said, "It's been an incredible experience and one I don't plan on doing this hike."

I had the experience of being a Park Ranger for four years. I found that not having a separation between my vocation and my avocation was a burden. I needed two sides to my life for balance.

Hal should celebrate. He has reason too. I'm suggesting that perhaps it is the journey that should be celebrated, not the destination. Take care... Ed