Saturday, February 21, 2009


I reached a milestone of sorts this past Sunday morning, a personal best time hiking to the top of Camelback Mountain from the Echo Canyon trailhead: 24:27. (As a point of comparison, the best I could muster last year, just before the Chinese pulled the plug on all Everest expeditions planning to climb the mountain from the Tibet side, was 24:59.) Now I'm wondering just how much faster I can go. As it is, I have to run all of the traverses. I use my Sunday morning jaunt up Camelback as an unerringly honest gauge of how effective my training is. The mountain simply doesn't lie. A lower time means that my cardio-vascular workouts in combination with sleeping in my altitude tent are paying off. Yes, there are world-class athletes who could probably still kick my butt climbing Camelback, but I've said many times that you're in great shape if you can climb Camelback in as many minutes as your age. What does it mean that I can climb Camelback in less than half as many minutes as my age? I suppose I should feel ecstatic, but the reality is that I wonder if it's even close to being enough for a challenge as big as Everest. Yesterday, I climbed Camelback with my pack filled with over six gallons of water. The total pack weight was around 70-75 pounds. It took me an agonizing 55 minutes to reach the top. To save my knees on the way down, my plan was to dump the water out at the top, but not wanting it to go to waste I first offered it to anyone at the summit who wanted to top off their water bottles. A line of about two dozen people quickly formed, all thankful for the water, and all probably quite convinced that I was crazy. I look forward to Sunday morning, when I will once again see if I can lower my (unladed) personal best time.


  1. Michael, I wrote this for you - just because...

    Sweet Dreams (title)

    Drawn -
    to the climb
    his wares
    are the perils
    of his path
    flat footed
    by the scope
    of his dreams
    the high of his hopes
    he listens
    to the steps
    of his pace
    and knows an Old Friend
    by Heaven's skies
    he is in step with God
    by philanthropic persuasion
    he donates
    the callus
    of his calling
    and perseveres
    thru his reunion
    and wakes yesterday
    with the love
    he found - back,
    with the child
    that dreams in his sleep
    borrowing his hand
    on his trip
    to powdered pillows
    of Heaven
    where he notes
    to God -
    his love
    for the children
    of the world
    and finding his peace
    his porch swing
    to Heaven;

    Written by: Melinda

    I have been writing Anthology poetry for many years and your story touched my heart, so I wrote this for you. I hope it helps to carry you through your journey.
    Take care,
    Melinda - Scottsdale, AZ

  2. Congratulatins on your Camelback time. I look forward to watching your progress. Thank you for sharing your experience with us...Lori

  3. how did you know my friend berk?

  4. I knew Berk as an aviator at Burning Man. Even though my twin Cessna 310 seats six, allowing me to give rides to people five at a time, it was all I could do to keep up with Berk, who was the most generous soul at Burning Man in terms of giving rides to people. I only associated with him at Burning Man, but he left a deep impression on me, one that makes me want to honor his legacy by emulating his generous behavior.

  5. I noticed you were answering your blog, did you like the poem I sent?

  6. Yes, I did, very much, so thank you for sharing your gift. Poetry is perhaps the only way to use words in a way that reveals rather than conceals.

  7. I am so glad you liked the Anthology poem I wrote for you. Yes I agree, poetry is the other side of the mountain before we get there. Safe journeys and again thank you for acknowledging the poem I wrote.