Sunday, July 22, 2007

Good vibes

A little while ago one of my favourite writers, Ian, tagged me with an invitation to write about five things that raise my vibrations. I loved reading his five, and immediately started thinking about what gives me good vibrations.

First though, for those of you who got here by googling "vibes", stop reading now. Just click this link and ignore the rest of this post. It's not what you're looking for.

So, back to what gives me good vibes. There are many things. I'm going to limit this post to one. And I am not going to tag anyone, but if you feel so inspired, pick up the theme. What raises your vibrations?

For me, one thing soars far above all the rest, lifts my spirit, my soul, and my eyes. It's a place, or actually many places. I can pick up angels there. Who then watch over me to make sure I don't fall asleep and miss my life, even when I'm down. Down in spirit or elevation.

Have you guessed? I'm talking about mountains. I adore mountains.
Climbing them:

Gazing at them:

Sharing the thrill of reaching the peak:

Playing in them:

And sleeping in them.

When I travel, I seek out the mountains. On my first trip to New Zealand I gave up the heat of a Canadian summer in August and went straight to the snowy Remarkable Range in the South Island. In the U.K., Big Ben, the Tower of London, and even Stonehenge were a bit of a snore. I really came alive on Mt. Snowdon in Wales.

Sacred Massai Gods live on Mount Ol Donyo Langai in Tanzania. I had to go up and pay my respects of course.

Even in Hawaii, the mountainous cliffs of Kauai's Na Pali coast beckon to me more than the beaches below.

My first real view of the Himalaya Range was of the Annapurna peaks at dawn from Poon Hill, Nepal, which I had climbed by the light of a headlamp before dawn. As the sun rose and these magnificent peaks came into focus I sat and cried in absolute joy.

I'm not sure if my love of mountains comes from some deep yearning to touch heaven, or simply because my first memories start when my family was living in the heart of the Canadian Rockies between Banff and Jasper. Mom and Dad strapped skis on me at Marmot Basin almost as soon as I could walk. They loved to climb mountains too. I have their long old-fashioned ice axes from their mountaineering days. Here they are next to mine:

Best of all is being in the mountains with the people I love. My son started skiing in the mountains with me when he was four. By nine years old he was beating me down black diamond runs. Now he is an awesome snowboarding dude.

In summers my son has hiked and rock climbed with me. But I don't think he has ever felt the same pulling, aching need I have to be in the mountains.

My Beloved has also joined me in the mountains from time to time. When he does though, it is not the mountains, but me he wants to be near. I love him for that.

I told B that when I croak I want my ashes scattered in the mountains. "Can it be Splash Mountain in Florida or the Matterhorn ride in Disneyland?" he asked.

"No way!"

"But what if I'm in a wheel chair by then?"

"You won't be, you're five years younger than I am."

"But what if?"

"O.K., whatever, I suppose I won't know the difference."

So, if you are ever at Disneyland in 40 or 50 years and see spindrift blowing off the peak of the Matterhorn, that will likely be me.

Today's dream travel destination, the Swiss Alps. A mountain range I have not yet seen. Home of the real Matterhorn.


Ian Lidster said...

Your photo of the NaPali on Kauai made me love you even more, since that is my favorite place on the planet. Going up to Kokee and gazing down from above gives me overwhelming vibrations. And, as I am acrophobic, my enchantment is also tinged with stark terror -- many exciting things in life offer that combination, come to think about it. The ecstasy/fear combo.
Anyway, I won't go rock climbing with you, but I am fascinated that you can do so, and share it this way.

Ian Lidster said...

PS When we took the train from Grenoble to Annecy last October we were supposed to be able to see the peak of the Matterhorn, but we couldn't, to my disappointment.
Juse me again

Voyager said...

Ian, my serious rock climbing days ended a couple of years ago after complications from heart surgery left me with limited upper body strength. But the old legs still work to carry me into my beloved mountains. I agree with you about the Na Pali coast being magical. I did a hike along the top of the cliffs a few years ago, and we could hear the "THWUMP" of the humpback wales breaching far below.

Big Brother said...

Ah trekking in the mountains... one of my favourite things. :o) Going to Equador next February with my school kids so I'll have walked in the Andes All I have left is trekking in the Alps.

Voyager said...

Oh, Big Brother, can I sign up to be one of your school kids? I've never seen the Andes.

Jazz said...

I went to Nepal twice. The first time we trekked the Annapurna, the second time we tried for the Everest base camp. I got altitude sickness both times.

The "defeat" still stings all these years later. Me and mountains? Not so much anymore. I'm much more of an ocean girl anyway.

Diana said...

Those pictures were completely amazing. I love reading about your travels. I can certainly see why you are drawn to the peaks.

Mike Minzes said...

Great post!! Love the pictures!

CS said...

I love hiking/skiing in the mountains (although I don't have it in me for actual mountain climbing). I am torn between mountians and beaches, both of which I love. One of the fe photos i have from Switzerland as a kid I'm standing in front of the Matterhorn.

Dumdad said...

Fabulous pix!

Voyager said...

jazz, altitude sickness is unpredictable. The fittest people can be struck down with it, while overweight smokers can be immune. I got a fierce headache at the highest point in the Annapurna trek, and I don't think I'd want to even try Everest Base Camp. Good on you for going. And Nepal is amazing,isn't it? No matter how high you get, or don't get.

Diana, I met someone from the prairies recently who commented, "The mountains here are nice, but they really get in the way of the view". To each his own.
Mike and dumdad, Thanks. The pictures are from various pre-digital photo albums. When thumbing through them I realized there are mountains on almost every page.

CS, I am wondering how far you have to go to ski. I can't think of any ski areas in your part of the country, but maybe I'm just ignorant. I would love to hike in the mountains in Tennessee.


Jocelyn said...

What a terrific choice of a vibe raiser! I understand it entirely; mountains give us humans an important check on our narcissistic perspective.

Rozanne said...

Wow. You are truly a mountaineer! Those are some gorgeous photos. Just awe inspiring!

This post really struck a chord with me! I, too, am in love with mountains. I grew up in the pancakey U.S. Midwest and didn't see my first mountain range until I was in high school. (It was the Adirondacks, if you must know.) I begged my dad to make a detour so we could drive through or at least near the mountains but he wouldn't do it.

As an adult just about every vacation I took was to a mountainous area. Finally, I made it my goal to find a way to move to a place with mountains. I'm happy to say that I succeeded in that goal. I feel so much happier being able to see mountains every day (well, if it's not raining!) and to get out an hike in them whenever I want!

Voyager said...

Jocelyn and Rozanne, Ah two more mountain lovers, that makes us mountain sisters. Or something.

jmb said...

Lovely, lovely post Voyager which I somehow missed when you first posted it.
Wonderful photos and great words.

I love the sea more than mountains, although I do like the Rockies. When we first came to Canada and for years after we went camping to the Rockies but I think it was the wildlife as much as the scenery which attracted us.