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Wanderlust Wednesday- Between a Rock and a Hard Place

A couple years ago, when I first wanted to go to Canyonlands National Park, my brother got me the book by Aron Ralston Between a Rock and a Hard Place.  It took me forever to finally get around to reading it, but I just finished it last week and knew it was worthy of a Wanderlust Wednesday post.

When I first started reading this I was just expecting it to be the tale of a guy getting stuck in a canyon and having to cut his own arm off, but it is so much more.  This book tells the tale of Aron’s love affair with adventure and exploring the wild and natural areas of the United States.  He is truly an inspiration and doesn’t hold anything back.  He owns up several times in the book where he got cocky and made mistakes, and I appreciated the truth in this book a lot.  It’s more than a book about travel and survival.  It’s about life, your decisions and even interactions with friends and family.  It’s definitely worth the read, even for non-travelers.  These were some of my favorite quotes:

“The rolling scrub desert gradually drops away into a region of painted rock domes, hidden cliffs, weathered and warped bluffs, tilted and tortured canyons, and broken monoliths.  This is hoodoo country; this is voodoo country.  This is Abbey’s country, the red wasteland beyond the end of roads.”  (On Canyonlands)

“We are not grand because we are at the top of the food chain or because we can alter our environment- the environment will outlast us with its unfathomable forces and unyielding powers.   But rather than be bound and defeated by our insignificance, we are bold because we exercise our will anyway.”

“There’s a mostly unspoken acknowledgment among the voluntarily impoverished dues-payers of our towns that it’s better to be fiscally poor yet rich in experience- living the dream- than to be traditionally wealthy but live separate from one’s passions.”

“I’m glad at the world: This is my happy place.  Great tunes, solitude, wilderness, empty mind.  The invigoration of hiking alone, moving at my own pace, clears out  my thoughts.  A sense of mindless happiness- not being happy because I’m happy- is one of the reasons why I go to the lengths I do to have some focused time to myself.”

“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure.  The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

“These places, and the experiences I had in them, were mine and mine alone.  The senses of solitude, ownership, and place that I felt on these trips were creating a private world that, by definition, was impossible to share.  Nevertheless, I tried.  I took photographs and posted online albums of my trips; however the images failed.  They were unsuccessful because they were removed in time and location from what I went through to be in that place at that time.  To a person sitting in an office or a living room, a picture of a winter mountain sunset is just a picture.  To me, it was the experience of taking the picture.”

“But this is… what I’ve been after.  I go out looking for adventure and risk so I can feel alive.”

These quotes just make me reflect on my times surrounded by red rocks:

Grand Canyon National Park/Bryce Canyon National Park/Zion National Park

Arches National Park- Part One

Arches National Park-Part Two

Canyonlands National Park


Newspaper Rock

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  • Reply
    Little Fingers
    November 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Inspiring story and loved the recap 🙂

    • Reply
      November 2, 2012 at 9:39 am

      Thank you, and thanks for commenting 🙂

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