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Boomer And The Bear Adventure Race

Up The Mountain (image courtesy Ron Niebrugge)

What do you say when a boomer invites you to an Adventure Race? In Alaska?

If you don’t say anything, they won’t find you.

If you’ve already run a marathon in three and half hours, and figure the Mount Marathon Race takes a track around the mountain, you might be tempted to show your track star form.

But the Mount Marathon race does not go around the base.

It goes up the mountain, a scree slope so steep you can reach forward and touch where your next steps ought to fall. Two steps forward, slide one back, scramble for another three, then you stand where your hand touched.

How do rocks stay on that slope? Why would you stay on it after learning you aren’t actually in the race due to some confusion in registering?

Instead, plan to hike up the mountain and spend the night, which is really daytime in July Alaska.

It begins with a cliff climb. I saw it and thought no way we’re climbing that. But the cliff was the only way up. With a hundred pound pack pulling backward, and zero cliff climbing experience, we took off.

The cliff led to the trees. The effort on the cliff meant hard breathing in the trees and inhaling mouthfuls of little red bugs.

The trees led to the scree. From there you’re on hands and knees.

At the top, review bear attack plans while setting up camp:

“If we hear a bear sniffing around, keep his attention to one side of the tent and we cut our way out of the other,” boomer said.

“Where’s the knife?” I asked. It felt like I carried at least a dozen in my pack.

“Plan B: if we hear a bear, keep his attention on the back of the tent.  We unzip the front and run for it.”

This was the adventure race to win: me versus bear and boomer.

BoomerPDX lesson: Stay in shape to enjoy the excitement of the outdoors.

Better Boomer says listen to Charles Darwin. Survival doesn’t go to the fittest or youngest, but to those able to adapt best.


About David Gillaspie
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