Friday, March 30, 2018

"What Matters..."

"Some places in this world are very hard to climb.
Sometimes people ask animals to help them with this.
Each person can only ride one.
And each animal likely has a different name.
The riders go up the trail in different orders.
They often discuss their various opinions about their experiences.
They may even have conflicting opinions.
At the summit the travelers all stand in the same place.
Each of them has the same chance to view the same vistas.
The animals are then put to rest and graze.
We all travel such paths.
The animals are like the various doctrines that each of us embraces.
What does it matter which doctrine we embrace as long as it leads to the same quiet summit...".
D. Ming-Dao

Monday, March 26, 2018

"Outward Bound Echoes..."

"Attitude is one of those words that gets thrown around like it means something. It does, but not what most people think. It's not about how you look, dress, move, talk, or anything else you can work out with your bedroom mirror. Attitude is if you see somebody struggling, do you help... It's walking a moonlit forest like you belong there. It's going up against real obstacles and getting knocked around. Once. Twice. A zillion times. Then getting up. That's it. Just getting up over and over until one day, you're up all the way. And it can be anything. Sailing. Sea kayaking. Canoeing. Rock climbing. Whatever...". Outward Bound
Oh, how I've mused over the years, about these kinds of words. 
As a teenager I discovered Outward Bound but was not able to attend until later. I dreamt longingly of what I would experience there and was not disappointed. My first experience set the course for many adventures to follow. This was also not to be my only Outward Bound course either. 
I was mentored about attitude and adventure. 
I learned that what we often believe is only 'out there' we actually can create 'within' as well. And there was indeed 'more within me' than I had ever thought. 
My first solo was with them and these too have continued to be enduring, powerful experiences. 
Outward Bound is an experiential adventure metaphor in motion, and has been the first such exposure that many great adventurers found for themselves in their youth. 
Kurt Hahn and the Outward Bound Schools have such an attitude of service and have given so much to both individuals and their communities. 
I am proud of my OB memories and pins, and grateful for the instructors and their guidance. 
It was during these experiences that I first started thinking that if I can do these things, so many others can too, and if so many of us can then...  DSD  

Friday, March 23, 2018

"Of Difficulties..."

"The merit of so many things,
lies in their difficulty...".
Alexandre Dumas

Thursday, March 22, 2018

"Discovering For Ourselves..."

"We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves... After a journey through the wilderness which no one can make for us...".  
M. Proust

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


At the entry to a valley I have wandered in over the years is a wooded area full of life and noise and wonder. 
It was here I first met Raven. 
Such a large bird of glistening black with so irritating a voice. 
Having returned there so many times, this Raven and I seemed to develop a connection of sorts, that went from simple awareness to something very much more.
Every time I went back was usually for a different reason, some to just walk, many to hike further, even more as the approach to a mountain then chosen to climb. 
Raven always seemed to be there, watching and waiting. 
In the early years, Raven stayed up in the trees, and let me know I was not likely welcome with that loud call, the fluffing up, and the spreading of wings. During later times though it appeared we were becoming a bit more used to each other and I would even call back on occasion in fun. To my surprise, Raven would then pause and give me the most inquisitive look as if I had said something of some meaning.
Those last years Raven actually came closer when I called back, flying over, landing near, hopping back and forth, all the while keeping those clear, sharp, curious eyes upon me. I am not sure when exactly our conversations started, but I think they began when I was returning from an unsuccessful summit attempt one year. I was upset by my route finding and less than optimal fitness that season. Raven probably heard me mumbling to myself as I neared and cawed out more loudly than ever before, "I know, I know", I said out loud in reply, and then took Raven's response to me as one of laughter over my overreactions and a reminder not to take such things so seriously. After then landing closely nearby, I looked over at Raven and that bird simply sat there, calmly and more quietly than I ever remembered, and just stared at me for the longest time. 
I couldn't help but just laugh out loud. 
Over the seasons Raven and I continued to converse about many things. Our chats became more personal as we allowed each other to get physically closer and I believe trustingly, more emotionally closer too. That loud brash voice so bothersome in its call, and yet so comforting in its messages. 
Our talks went on for over a decade and in that time I think we began to know the other better. 
We were more able to understand each of our worlds, and very much enjoyed a connection out there.
On each visit, Raven would hop about, clacking that dark bill, kind of whistle occasionally, peck at my pack, and remind me with a shrill screech that I wasn't paying attention to the moment. "I know, I know...", I would say yet again and again; and then laugh in response along with Raven's intelligent stares at me.
Raven always reminded me to remember the truly important things, always chided me when I was distracted, never allowed me to just wander past without pausing in those moments to say hello, and to share how each of our adventures were going.
Raven wasn't there that last season. 
I knew immediately something was amiss. 
It was too quiet and the silence lacked the welcome I had known there so many times before. 
I did later find two beautiful, long black feathers laying out there. Raven's last gift to me I am sure.
I like to think Raven's voice can still be heard out there though, all his kin seem to have taken up the call. 
To simply remind us to laugh and wonder, and to bring our attention back to those special moments that we mark our lives by.
I do miss you old friend. 
Your voice irritating and so very beloved. You were such a friendly cherished bother...   DSD

Thursday, March 15, 2018

"Having, Doing, Being..."

“Lives based on only having are less free than lives also based on either doing or on being.”   
William James

Monday, March 12, 2018

"Moving & Stretching..."

“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Saturday, March 10, 2018

"The Quietest Voices Calling..."

"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals."  Immanuel Kant
There are very few of us adventurers who have not had desires and dreams about, and then actual experiences in sharing the wild places with, our family of wild ones out there.
Our experiences become so very special when this happens, when we see them, especially when we share a moment among them, and so we hope though while elusive that this will happen again and again for us.
Most of us cherish these moments almost as none other, they are so unique, so touching. Then we also often want to reflect upon our own lives through totems and symbols of what these special creatures of the earth represent to each of us.
I have forever longed for such connection with the wild ones, the quiet ones, and have been so grateful when it occurs. We admire their courage, their tenacity & endurance, their strength, their energy, the very spirit with which they live their lives out there. Without asking for anything in return they share with us their wisdom, and the mystery & memories of ageless wonders.
Yet we also know, as ones who wander out there, the risks they too face. We have seen the realities and the impacts of changes and clashes of territory, species, and cultures. We feel it deeply when their hurt voices are raised.
The truth of it is, even with their wild ways and powers we may envy, that they are really the most vulnerable ones, these quiet ones who call to us...
Within their callings they point us towards ways of fulfilling our own longings.
We adventure as we can, they must venture always.
We wander wild places to enhance our lives, they journey wild places because it is their lives.
We are an integral part within both of each others history and future.
They are our most precious ones. They are an essential part of our family, can be our teachers, our guides, our healers. They are the most vulnerable ones. They need us, yet we need them just as much, do we not my friends...
What would the wild places be without our family of wild ones?
We often hear their voices when they call in the dark, when dawn begins, and they can be heard too as we stop and listen and still ourselves when we wander out there.
They are the quietest voices, strong but often scared voices, they call as much to us as they do to each other to listen, to hear, to know, to feel...
Strong as they are they are vulnerable too. We know of such vulnerabilities, as we have touched it through our human frailties and with the risks we experience as we adventure. We are as vulnerable as well for in losing these quiet ones, in not hearing their voices, in not taking those paths that might mean some extra efforts on our part - will most certainly result in the loss of experiences shared with them and horizons only dreamed of.
We can do this, we who wander and adventure. We have strengths that can be theirs, and these quiet ones will then in turn share their wisdom with us, which may a saving grace for all.
Please listen with me for a while as the quietest voices are calling.
They are calling for us.
They are quiet voices reaching out to each of us.
Let us each respond, in our own way, even in some small way, and then go out there again, to see them, to embrace them, because we really are on one and the same path..... DSD    

Thursday, March 08, 2018

"Adventure Tools..."

“Accept yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your truths, and know what tools you have to fulfill your purpose.”  
Steve Maraboli
“We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.”   Marshall McLuhan
“Problems are not roadblocks, but exercise tools.”  
Debasish Mridha
“Your words, your thoughts, your imagination: powerful tools. 
Remember that and use them wisely.”  
Donald Hicks
“Don’t be afraid to really use your imagination. Let it run wild. It’s one of the most powerful tools you’ve got.” 
Laird Hamilton

Tuesday, March 06, 2018


The search for our life of purpose; our Reason D'etre. 
What makes our living worthwhile; the meanings within our adventurous journeys.
The 'why we do what we do' when we wander the wild places...

Monday, March 05, 2018

"Your Wonderful Images..."

Thank you once more my Friends for allowing your so wonderful inspiring images to be shared here!
My intention with including such images & pictures of beauty and awe, is in support of all the links on my blog under 'Giving Back & Passing Forward'. 
There will never be anything commercial about these musings. 
I have always acknowledged that the vast majority of the images shared here were not created by me, as I am not talented in that way. Many have been sent to me or have been suggestions provided by fellow adventurers, so I am unable many times to give specific acknowledgements unfortunately. In my enthusiasm about your artistry I can also be forgetful when saving them, to record their origin at that time.
If I can make amends for this it will always occur as best I can right when such images are posted. 
I promise that I will also certainly acknowledge others work if you let me know as well, and then I will immediately attribute creative efforts where they clearly belong. 
It is with deep appreciation that your sharing images in this way is felt in support of those who are Adventuring For Another Reason . My whole adventure blog speaks to these initiatives.
You have such amazing pictures, and resonating metaphors within them, reflecting these links who give back and pass forward with their ongoing enduring efforts. 
Please forgive my grey haired forgetfulness in not always following proper internet protocol when it comes to such things. I am a late bloomer in the blogging and social media worlds.
Please also accept my sincere gratitude for your sharing and understanding in allowing for such support of the links here.
Thank you all so very, very much!      DSD      

Sunday, March 04, 2018


"A wise woman who was travelling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. 
The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. 
She did so without hesitation. 
The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. 
But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. 
'I've been thinking', he said, 'I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. 
Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone'...". 

Friday, March 02, 2018


Do we not all carry and display a type of map upon our faces? 
Are the lines, the contours, the images not unlike the symbols we find on the maps we use out there?
Our adventure experiences and the challenges & successes, trials & lessons, enjoyment & wonder of it all would seem to create many types of impressions upon one's face. When looking at each other during our journeys, we can see where we have been, can envision where we will now be going, almost as clearly as when we spread our maps out upon the ground. The title of a 'map' for any day of wandering may be of a hiker, a climber, then a kayaker, later a canyoneer, or river rafter, among so many other wondrous adventure pursuits. 
The legend of these maps - their keys, helps us to understand what is actually being represented there. We read it closely to envision what is being told to us.
Again as we do when reading each others faces as we weather the elements, as we make our way among the wilds, when we look into that mirrored reflection upon those mountain lakes.
Maps need a compass too for knowing how to orient oneself to it, for clearly establishing north, and then understanding which way to turn and carry on. 
We enjoy mentally picturing such distances and heights, size and scales, depths and elements, both personal and of the wild places.
The maps upon our faces were not purchased though, but earned.
They are as valuable as any ancient mariners chart, and have been sculpted not by ink, but by the elements themselves and through our efforts.
I so enjoy learning to read, to understand, to envision and embrace, the many challenges and discoveries that the maps on our faces and in our lives present for us...   DSD