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Insignificant Peak

September 16, 2016

 

The pictured peak didn’t earn this name from a lack of beauty or lack of effort required to climb it, of which, both are substantial. Rather, the name derives from the feeling that washes over climbers upon reaching the top. The feeling of utter and overwhelming… insignificance by measure of all that surrounds you. Oh, and from the secret journal stored at its peak.

 

 

My hike had ended. In fact it had ended 4 times. First time was when I reached the lake that I’d driven out to see. However I wasn’t satisfied with the relatively short trip so I pressed on. The second end was when I reached a perfect view of steeply sloped mountain peaks cupping the earth around a pristine lake. The trail didn’t end so I pressed on.

 

The third time my hike (could have) ended was when I simply reached the end of the trail. No more clearly designated path. No more people passing by to exchange pleasantries with. I could have ended there, many a sane mind would have, but I saw a peak with the tantalizing prospect of panoramas. With the adequate stamina in my legs and sun in the sky, why not?

 

It was only after I got close enough to begin the ascent that I realized the true difficulty of the summit. I had been off trail for quite some time, but this had no discernible (or easy) path up. In addition, the slope was severe and the rocks were sharp, flat and volatile, easily susceptible to slides. There were several times that I stopped and questioned why I was doing this. Was it out of some misplaced sense of accomplishment or bravado. Was it another feat to check off the adventure list. Would it make me feel more alive or more of a man for having conquered it. I often wonder this about explorers and pathfinders. What was their motivation?

 

After considerable toil and a bit of hesitation, I stepped up onto the narrow spine of the peak ridge. The views were expansive, but something else caught my eye: a duck. Not of the "quack quack" variety, but a stack of flat rocks that usually indicate a path. Under the marker was a brown glass jar. I opened it up and found the "Insignificant Peak" journal, a travel log of other peoples thoughts on climbing the peak.

 

One of the entries in the log book perfectly encapsulated my feelings. It read, “I thought I was the only asshole dumb enough to climb this thing, guess not.” So true. It was a strange feeling to know that others had sat in the same spot and discovered the same stack of rocks which lead them to this book.

 

The sun was beginning to set so I knew I needed to start heading down, but not before I made my mark:

 

Captain's Log

Star date: 9-15-16

I've reached the peak of an unnamed rock. There is evidence that other terrestrial beings have already ventured here. However, based on their primitive writing, the search for intelligent life goes on.

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