“The best journeys answer questions that, in the beginning, you didn’t even think to ask.” – 180º South

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Today I took another trek to Coyote Hills, only this time I took my husband and chose to go up a steeper hill. And by steeper I mean I notched it up .5 on the treadmill of life. Again, I want to stress that my documented adventures in this blog are very basic every person traverse-ings. I’m not incrementally winning better medals and no one’s calling me to be on their radio show as a subject matter expert on how to get stellar mileage on your very next marathon. My victories are sad, every day small steps that are less running tens of miles in record time and more ‘Hell yeah, I got out of bed and my Fitbit says I got about 6,000 steps in over the course of the day. You go girl.’

And that’s my current story.

I also might be lying a little to keep me hashtag relatable, because I will say that this afternoon I diiiid get about 10,000 steps in over the sad course of 4.21 miles on my laughable little outing. That is incrementally better of a medal than my 3-miler two days ago. So that was a good job. I gave myself a good girl treat when I got home.

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I guess I’m not a vegan anymore

I paired that with another piece of adventurous viewing material. Following the Barkley Marathons documentary, I’ve been continuing to binge on all types of outdoorsy adventure features. I initially turned to the trusty folks of reddit for follow-up conversation on the Barkley, and that turned up generous recommendations for similar viewing material like the nerve wracking Valley Uprising and the much more quaint Alone in the Wilderness.

I was enlightened by both, and also picked up Long Way Round on Netflix, a series that features Star Wars alum Ethan Hawke and his buddy Charlie (he’s an actor too, but a littttle bit lesser known.) So far the few episodes I’ve viewed have the two planning to take their motorcycles en route through rocky terrain in Russia, Kazakstan, and to ‘America AND New York.’ (both!) It’s from 2004, and the cinematography, if you can call it that, is a little rough. But like the East Coast Trail and Ultra podcast, it’s fun to see a couple of bro-dudes being hilariously ridiculous and goofing around.

Today, after my *extra* strenuous “trail” walk (lol it was paved…), I found the 2007 doc 180º South in the Netflix portfolio. It’s another travel gig that follows a couple dudes (yeah I’ve ventured into dude territory with this endeavor. sup men) who took their dual love of surfing and climbing to Patagonia (region not the building). It’s a solid follow-up to Valley Uprising since it has some of the same characters (the founders of The North Face and Patagonia (building not the region)) who kicked off the sport of mountain climbing in the 1960s. It also leans a little bit hard – though, to nice effect – on a quiet indie soundtrack featuring the likes of Ugly Casanova, James Mercer, Modest Mouse and Vertiver to move along the awesome footage of the beautiful scenery it captures and to set that contemplative mood. One note I must note though: the film takes on a little bit of a promo vibe toward the end when it uplifts the North Face founder’s philanthropist endeavors in Chile. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing given the possible positive effects of the endeavor. And the touch is super light. I’ve been wary about being sold to in pseudo-documentaries ever since I saw the unfortunate and terrible Minimalism, which people seem to like for whatever their own inspired reason. (Dude reads a passage from his own book in a poetic manner while standing on sand wearing his not-minimally-priced trendy clothes. But anyway…)

Never fear, 180º South still gave me all of the feel goods. The best thing about these documentaries is the main characters always give you a meaty, limit-pushing, inspirational quote to keep you thinking, ‘Why am I sitting on the couch right now? Where’s the nearest hill I can go on right now to get my pants dirty and shed my useless asshole lifestyle?’ For instance, the title of today’s blog is not only motivational, but philosophical, and comes from protagonist Jeff Johnson of 180º South. Later in that film one of Jeff’s travel friends contemplates the sadness of urban dwellers losing touch with nature. The lame KPI, if you will, is the rise of iPods, which basically enforced environmental ignorance (I might have a counter there as a music appreciator and veteran sad person, but point taken.) People ear-plug themselves with buds to swim in their own benign world as they obviously pass their community on the street. People don’t want to look at the mess, says the friend. The destruction of the environment is ugly, so we bury ourselves away in this ignorance.

We’re reminded that, “The ocean and the land are the most important providers there could be.”

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Here’s a pretty picture of ocean and land. Life!

Deep stuff. You’re hearing that, and going, ‘Yeah dude. We’re brushing our surroundings off.’ (Although, maybe you’re not as trite as me and you leave off the “dude.”) It makes you want to do something.

That’s the power I’m getting from these creative depictions of dirtbags living the wilderness life. My inner recluse is slowly opening its oyster shell, and going, ‘Ohhhh that’s why people are into sunlight and shit….’ I’m not a daredevil and I swear to the Roman Gods and their moms that you will never get me to jump off anything higher than my bed. But I like the utter life these people have in them, and I’m latching on to this mostly healthy sense of purpose. The characters in these movies seek to face the lack of modern consciousness head on. They’re each making these unique rebel yells toward the virgin sands of time.

And time is like, ‘Whoa,’ and the sand gets all scattered everywhere, and that’s what happens when Fun.

“This is one of the great acts of committing to the unknown,” says a climber I didn’t get the name of in Valley Uprising. Him and his climbing community really don’t know what could happen next. Especially idiots like Alex Honnold (yes, man is legend, but holy mother of all that is NO) who don’t seem to like safety measures too much.

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The incomparable Honnold making palms everywhere go sweaty with his heart-palpitating free solo

And is it stupid to test their muscles against uncontrolled variables? Inspiring?

It can be both.

“Fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all, but we just went for it,” says another uncited character from 180º South.

There’s something exhilarating (for some people) about risking it all. That’s because the human destination, if you’re into overthinking, is not the end game. We all know where that’s going (sorry, dark.) So we might as well get as present as we can, and make the most of our momentary life force.

“Who gives a shit what the holy grail is,” another character from 180º South says, culling from his wisdom of the adventure. “It’s the quest that’s important.”

Here are a few boring proof pictures showing me trying to make the most of my today, before going onward to tomorrow’s local explorations (seriously it’s not very interesting or foresty, and maybe even barrenly depressing. The clouds are still lingering. But I was there!).

Cheers:

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The lake is flowing with a verve in Niles. The rain’s been good for our drought.

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