lizzy in the mountains

fear not to try the mountain passes

I haven’t written for a while. It’s not for a lack of adventures, but more because the adventures have been smaller and more private. I should be able to start writing more this summer, maybe including some of the goings-on of the last 9 months. I have several big Sierra trips planned, a return to the Yampa, two weeks of field work in the Turks and Caicos, and two weeks in the Swiss and French Alps to explore and then hopefully set a new bar for my hardest and farthest race in the 120 km TDS. It sure won’t be boring.

For now, here’s a less-often-quoted John Muir quote that’s given me a lot of comfort and encouragement recently:

To the timid traveler, fresh from the sedimentary levels of the lowlands, these highways, however picturesque and grand, seem terribly forbidding–cold, dead, gloomy gashes in the bones of the mountains, and of all Nature’s ways the ones to be most cautiously avoided. Yet they are full of the finest and most telling examples of Nature’s love; and though hard to travel, none are safer. For they lead through regions that lie far above the ordinary haunts of the devil, and of the pestilence that walks in darkness. True, there are innumerable places where the careless step will be the last step; and a rock falling from the cliffs may crush without warning like lightning from the sky; but what then? Accidents in the mountains are less common than in the lowlands, and these mountain mansions are decent, delightful, even divine, places to die in, compared with the doleful chambers of civilization. Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain-passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action. Even the sick should try these so-called dangerous passes, because for every unfortunate they kill, they cure a thousand.

— John Muir, The Mountains of California

Fear not to try the mountain passes, my friends.

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