John Doe Mountain

DATE OF EVENT: Summer Of 1997

I don’t exactly remember how many hikes I had done while I was in Canada. I counted until 17 or so, but then I kept forgetting how many. I don’t know but I would say around 23 times. It is often very difficult to say which one is my favorite, but this case, I have the answer. My favorite mountain is unknown. I don’t know the name of the mountain. It was not a famous mountain that a lot of hikers climb. I guess I can call it John Doe Mountain.

Early summer of 97, my host family and I went to Castle Mountain ski hill. They had a cabin and they always went there. That day I wasn’t planning to do anything but relax at the cabin, so I didn’t bring hiking stuff. Only my hike boots and backpack. It was a nice day. I looked at mountains, and I couldn’t resist climbing one. I guess I am made for it. I suddenly decided to hike. I grabbed some fruits, got water, and put jacket in my backpack and left for another hike alone.

I carefully chose the path while I was at the cabin. (Point the picture with cursor.) My plan was get through forest toward a stream and follow the stream, which was still covered by snow, up to rocky part. Once I get the rocky part, it is time to just climb, climb, and climb to the top. So I did, but soon I realized that I was trapped. There was a waterfall. I couldn’t go any farther. Around the stream, it was bush. The bush was too dense that without a knife I couldn’t go anywhere. I had to think of my course of action. It didn’t take a long time. I heard a voice. It was not a voice of god, but the voice of Morgan, my outdoor instructor, like Star Wars movie. “Always look for animal trails… trails… trails…” He told me that at the second hike we did at Turtle Mountain. I looked around, went back little and there it was. It was like a tunnel in the bush. That animal trail took me all the way until there was no plant. Now I entered the rocky part of the mountain.

As I said once I got the rocky part, it was matter of climbing. I went up, got tired, stop for a minute and went up again. Higher I climb, thinner the air became, and harder to catch breast I mean breath. I don’t remember how long it took me to reach the top, but I did, and what was waiting for me was something unbelievably so beautiful and magnificent; I had never seen anything like that. All I could see from the top was 360 degrees of endless mountains. There were thousands of mountain peaks. Some were lower, and some were higher than John Doe Mountain. “Wow” That was all I could think at first, and then I felt “I wanna climb every single mountain I see. Is it possible? By the time I go back to the bottom, I will be so tired just hiking up one mountain. If I climb 2 or 3 mountains each day rest of my life, am I able to climb all mountains? More I climb, more mountains I will see, then more mountains I have to climb. It’s endless. How small. How small I am. How small human being is.” If you read “Belong”, the last story, you will see this feeling I felt reflects my philosophy.

By the way you may have realized I don’t have any picture here. I have pictures and/or videos of every outdoor activity I have done in Rockies, but this hiking. Like I said I wasn’t going to hike, I didn’t bring my camera that day. How ironic that I don’t have any thing to remember the best mountain I had climbed.