Ever since I went up to Vancouver Island earlier this month I’ve been thinking about the time I tried to paddle around it in the winter. The attempt ended with a torn shoulder and since then, I haven’t been back all that much. It is an amazing place. I was looking through the old web site that I had put together for the trip – nothing on the internet ever really goes away – and I was struck by a section I’d written about exploration and the way it works in this modern world:
“It occurs to me that the challenge of exploration, in these days when all of the blank spots are gone from the maps, may not be to do something completely different. Rather, it may be to do something that has been done before, but do it in a different way.
A cursory inspection of Fred Beckey’s Cascade Alpine Guide, vol. 1, shows at least 49 different “first ascents” of Mount Rainier. Different routes, different seasons, different something. The people who made those climbs, all of them except Stevens and Van Trump, who made the first recorded trip to the summit in 1870, ultimately arrived at the same place, but they traveled by a different path. Their “firsts” were made with the understanding that it was not necessarily what they did, but the way that they did it that set them apart.”
That old post (read the complete version here), resonates with me right now as I’m going through the schedule for the rest of this year and into 2015. There are some big plans afoot and places to go, and I am still amazed by how much there remains to be seen and understood… how much we still have yet to learn.