Encouraged by some friends I've connected with online, I have begun to put together the workings of what some might call a bucket list. Part of my journey back to being healthy and happy is figuring out those things I want to do with my life. Who I want to be. Where I want to go. In looking forward, I have also had to look back.
How far back? To the place where I grew up. To where I first truly found myself. The mountains.
It started with Pilchuck. Me, standing on top of the peak that rose above my hometown, seeing where suburbia of the south met the rural lands to the north and where the Puget Sound stretched around islands out toward the Pacific. The sudden perspective of how small my problems were when compared the larger world around me. That sensation of accomplishment and the realization that there were many more places to go.
Through out my teen years, I went back into the hills. Summer after summer. From Sauk Moutain to Mt Si. Along Ptarmigan Ridge Mt Baker and Ptarmigan Ridge on Mt Rainier. Snow covered ridges and alpine lakes. The Cascades made me a man.
Sadly, I stopped hiking when I moved to Boise. New environments and new passions overtook my longing for higher altitudes. But in recent years, that yearning has returned. Memories of places that I've always wanted to visit coupled with a new-found wanderlust. That whimsical voice in my head, whispering Oh the Places You'll Go.
Looking back, the earliest I can remember wishing for an exotic trek was when I first heard of Kilimanjaro. It sounded so majestic. It sounded like the kind of place that everyone should visit at least once in their life time. In the years since those early dreams, I've compiled a list of ten mountains that have appealed to those early desires. I hope to one day stand on top of each of these mountains.
1. Mount Kilimanjaro - Tanzania. The first of my childhood dreams.
2. Mount Fuji - Japan. Beautiful and one of the most recognizable in the world. And after seeing Karl Pilkington climb it on An Idiot Abroad, I've wanted to make that journey.
3. Mount Kenya - Kenya. I saw some pictures of climbers on Kenya in a mountaineering magazine when I was 15. I've wanted to go there ever since.
4. Mount Whitney - California. Higher than Rainier. Higher than Pikes Peak. Highest in the lower 48. This is another mountain I've wanted to climb since my younger days.
5. Masada - Judea. There is so much history on that plateau. The scholar in me wants to visit as much as my inner adventurer.
6. Table Mountain - South Africa. I've always wanted to visit Cape Town and Table Mountain provides one of the best ways to view the city - from above.
7. Uluru - Australia. Uluru is also known as Ayers Rock. A geological oddity. Isolated. And utterly unique.
8. Mount Roraima - South America. Some know this as the border between Brazil, Guyana, and Venezuela. Some recognize it as the backdrop for the movie Up. If members of the Pixar production team can climb it, so can I.
9. Mount Sinai - Egypt. This site is holy for Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Although, I think I'd prefer to ride a camel to the top of that one considering how hot it is there.
10. Psiloritis - Crete. This is the highest point on the island of Crete. Also known as Mount Ida, it's an impartent site in Greek mythology. Also, there's a Holy Cross open stone chapel at the top that is the destination for a pilgrimage every September.
Who wants to go with me? Better yet ... Who wants to fund my adventures? Anyone?