Saturday, May 25, 2013

humbled, part one

       Friends, I just want to say that I'm okay, and will be assessing just what happened as the weekend moves on. Suffice to say, I fell far short of my expectations. I made the decision that it would have been unwise for me to continue on last night and turned around just before the first summit. While this turning point represents a third of the elevation profile and more than a third of the distance, the fact that I did not "bag" the first peak, smarts. The temps were in the 30s, and for reasons I'll have to consider I was slowing down to a such an extent that it was going to be progressively more difficult keeping warm; heading ever further "out there" felt unsafe at that point.

       I am honored by the fact that you all believe—as much as I do—in completing the 24n24, and hope that you see this as just a setback. I may have to put it off until next month, and will likely decide to tackle it in a counterclockwise direction, starting in the morning. There are several advantages to this other direction that I thought were not significant enough to warrant it, but I may indeed have been mistaken. I've no doubt that someone else could tackle the course as I'd laid out, but there are very real challenges in taking the initial 6000 climb while the body is wanting to shut down for the night. (This was one of the contributing factors last night, and made my footsteps less sure than typical, and unsafe for me over the rocks.)

       I am humbled by the limitations I met out there; surprised by them, and frustrated by them since I'd climbed these trails so often before with starkly different results. The temptation is call this a failed attempt and leave it at that. It is all too easy to say this is about one single event—but it is much more than that. In a way, I've been climbing the mountains of this epic for several months, learning how to inspire and be inspired. That I've fallen short, is what it is. I am sorry for this. Especially all the efforts that were poured into the news coverage, were they for naught? I can only hope not.

     I'm feeling a bit lost right now (got back at close to 4 this morning), but should have more to offer later.


  1. Dear "I'm feeling a bit lost",

    I'm pretty used to feeling lost myself, so I can relate to your description of your present state of being quite well.

    Your attempt to complete this trek is worthy, regardless of its outcome. I know this to be true because it has called greater attention to an organization that is wonderfully worthwhile, and holds a very special place in my heart: The Wildlands Conservancy.

    Not only does TWC care for our land, but they care for the people who dearly love this land as much as they do. I am one of those folks who sing their praises because of my time spent volunteering for them and feeling the warm embrace of their loving compassion towards both nature and all those who cherish what the great outdoors does for the human heart.

    My son Scotty would have loved knowing you Paul. I know that for sure because the very first time at Wildlands Ranger Station that I looked into those amazing blue eyes of yours I saw the same indomitable spirit as I saw in those beautiful brown eyes of my dear son.

    Scotty never climbed any mountains, but he wandered the Oak Glen Preserve trail many a time, and the most difficult and "lost" time of all was at age 18, after just finding out he had terminal cancer.

    That area became a place of respite for he and I during his journey from youthful health, to final deathbed. Many times along the way he would express to me his desire to somehow "leave a legacy of love." His heart was filled to over-flowing with a passionate love for people and nature. Today, at the Oak Glen Preserve stands a boulder that marks the very ground he held so dear. The words carved into it reflect his true self, just as the truths that his short life taught me will forever be etched into my heart.

    Paul, you are not lost in anyway, neither at the moment you wrote those words, nor at anytime now, or in the future. You, just like my precious son Scotty, hold within you a compass that always faces the true direction of life's purpose: To live with a heart full of love and a passion to go the distance.

    Paul, you may have not been able to go the distance you would have hoped to have, and neither did my Scotty, but you both represent by your efforts, all that is worthy and wonderful about living a life of striving for the things that matter most. Be proud in that fact, for no one can ever take that away from you.

    I love the serendipity of how our paths came to cross, and I hope to one day be as mighty as you in your mountain climbing ways, although, most likey, I will remain...

    Your fellow TWC advocate and friend,

    Little Mighty Mouse (AKA Susan Hinrichs, Forever Scotty's Mommy)


  2. Paul,

    You are nothing less than inspirational! Your energy is contagious and the passion is forever.
    Your epci4epic is an incredible idea. It does and continues to drive the people you meet,

    Be well my friend. You inspire me!


  3. Persistence, tenacity, drive. You exemplify it regardless.

  4. Paul –
    Glad to hear you are safe. Regardless of this set-back, you will be back and armed with a greater understanding of the endeavor and yourself. Much respect for acknowledging your limits - many people cannot do that and the wilderness is not the place to let pride get you hurt.
    If your intent was to inspire others you have still succeeded. My wife and I have since hit three of the peaks on the Yucaipa ridge and she played her bagpipes atop Galena last week (everyone has their own way to celebrate a summit). What a hidden wonderland of raw wilderness right in our backyard. I’ve stared at the ridge for 30 years not knowing its splendors but thanks to you have been planning multiple hikes through the summer.
    Thank you again for being an inspiration and best of luck in your future epic endeavors.
    Respectfully –
    Nick & Tress Maksimuk