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WRITING

Words I put in order. Check out this page for links to more of my writing

Filtering by Tag: bemorestoked

Burritos and Rock Piles

Cy Whitling

Random people on a random pile of rocks

Random people on a random pile of rocks

Once I thought I was having a mountaintop moment, but then I realized the burrito I had for breakfast may have just been a little too authentic. That’s sort of been a common theme in my life, both the burritos, and the lack of mountaintop moments.

I used to imagine that just the fact that you were standing on top of a really big pile of rocks meant that you would find some sort of inner peace, some kind of enlightenment, some affirmation of the motivation for your life. I thought if you walked up a mountain and took a picture at the top, you probably had it all figured out.

When I first climbed up a mountain, I was sort of expecting that feeling, hoping for an initiation to some sort of spiritual club.

Instead I got to the top of the (very small) mountain, and realized I’d left my extra candy bar in the car, and that it was probably melted. I walked down, ate my soggy Snickers, and then remembered I was supposed to be enlightened.

I wasn’t though. I didn’t have some grand moment of triumph. Instead I just wondered if that gas station with the $3 hot dog and slurpee special was still open.

Since that first mountaintop I’ve had a lot of good moments. A lot of moments that have shaped my life, my story as a person. A few moments that have felt like a taste of heaven, a taste of completion, a taste of perfection. But so far none of them have happened on top of mountains. Part way up mountains? At the base of mountains? Looking at mountains? Nowhere near mountains? All of the above, and more!

In noisy restaurants. On freezing chairlifts. In Walmart bathrooms. Around smoky campfires. In a crowded airplane. In my parents’ front yard. In the kidney-shaped swimming pool of a Las Vegas hotel that looked like a castle. On a long car ride that smelled like ski boots. Really everywhere, everywhere but mountaintops.

As I’ve started to notice this severe lack of enlightenment when standing on relatively higher bits of the earth, I’ve realized that it’s just another brand of shortsighted discontentment.

Everybody knows the kid that just wants to be a celebrity. They don’t want to do interesting things, they just want everyone to be interested in them. It’s that subtle distinction between “be” and “do.”

Much smarter people than I have pointed this out before, do you want to be a photographer, or do you actually want to take pictures? Do you want to be Michael Jordan, or do you want to play basketball? Do you want to be in heaven, or do you want to glorify and enjoy God? Do you want to be on top of mountains, or do you want to climb them?

A wise man once told me that everyone wants to save the world, but nobody wants to do the dishes.

 

I’d tweak that a bit, I think everyone wants to have saved the world, but nobody wants to actually do it. Because sometimes saving the world involves doing the dishes. And it’s easier to just let them soak while you admire how good that cape looks in the mirror.

So stop telling everyone what you’re going to be, and instead figure out what you’re supposed to be doing. And then go do it. Because yes, standing on top of things is fun, but putting in the time, doing the dishes is what actually changes you.

 

 

 

Going to the Tippity Top: Scotchman's Peak

Cy Whitling

In the world of outdoor adventures it’s easy to get caught up in the gear. It’s much easier to sit in your living room ordering equipment that will help you do rad things than it is to actually go out and do those things. I was aggressively reminded of this fact this weekend when we went out and did something stupid with the minimum of fancy technical gear.

When I told Luke that our destination was going to be snowy I’m not sure he really believed me, and when we got to the overcast base of Scotchman’s Peak I wasn’t so sure either. It seemed to be full on spring at the trailhead. A few miles of shirtless hiking in though, and seasons drastically changed. We hit patches of snow and then popped out on the summit ridge to a full on winter wonderland.

Since this was the first snow camping experience for either of us we decided to play it safe and come prepared. Here is a brief not comprehensive gear list:

-Two Backpacks: one purchased at Good Will, one borrowed from a father who probably purchased it in the mid ’80’s

-One Tent: $30 special from Walmart, but ours came for free with the mobile home we lived in last year

-Two Sleeping bags: One borrowed, one given to me about ten years ago, it has my initials on it which is cool but it’s not really warm at all

-Three Sweatpants: Luke only brought sweatpants and a swimming suit. I’m still not sure why he did this

-One Avocado, it froze

-One loaf of french bread and a bag of those Baybell cheeses

-Three Bananas

-One bag of gummy worms

-One shovel that broke

-One hatchet to make us feel more manly

Yeah, you could say we were prepared for our first snow camping trip.

Action shot, thanks to BlackStrap for keeping us warm and helping us look like terrorists.

Action shot, thanks to BlackStrap for keeping us warm and helping us look like terrorists.

Does this hatchet make me look more outdoorsy?

Does this hatchet make me look more outdoorsy?

At the peak Luke dug out a nice pit (and broke the shovel) for the tent while I gathered firewood. Our fire actually ended up being way radder than we expected, I’m gonna credit that to the sketchy fire-starting goop I bought at Walmart.

Smoke in the eyes shot

Smoke in the eyes shot

Luke is going to take over my photography job if I'm not careful...

Luke is going to take over my photography job if I'm not careful...

Not a bad view to wake up to

Not a bad view to wake up to

This was a good idea?

This was a good idea?

The morning broke cold and early and with no real sunrise to be seen through thick cloud cover we headed back to the bottom. Going back down mountains is the worst when you don’t have skis. Through a creative combination of Veggie Belaying and Grass Glissading (also know as sliding on your butt over grass, rocks and small trees) we finally made it back down and headed back to the land of central heating and normal food.

That's the face of a man that just slid over one too many small trees

That's the face of a man that just slid over one too many small trees

This trip was a great reminder not to overthink, overshop and overpack. It really doesn't take much gear to go out there and do something fun, just bring a warmer sleeping bag.