Greetings from Gros Morne,
Some dreams take longer to percolate than others. I had hoped to ascend Gros Morne as part of the Long Range Traverse in 1996 but there were no transmitters available so we were limited to camping at the end of Western Brook Pond. The seed was planted however, and it’s been waiting for the right conditions to finally germinate. Today in a downpour, that seed like many of the mushrooms I studied over the weekend, popped through the forest duff to see the light of day. My, my–I think that paragraph may have had a few too many metaphors but I’m happy to report that after 13 years of wanting and waiting, I finally stood atop the 806 metre iconographic summit of Newfoundland, Gros Morne.
I’d worried that I’d missed another season and thus climbing opportunity. I’m not certain where the summer went–perhaps to renovations and Russia and teaching. When making plans to attend a mushroom foray in Central Newfoundland, Marian and I realized we had a small window of opportunity to make a jaunt over to Rocky Harbour and make the climb. Thanks so much to Todd Wight at the Ocean View Hotel for providing a wonderful basecamp for the climb. Last February, when I spoke at the Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism Summit in Corner Brook and Todd had heard that I was wanting to come out for a climb of Gros Morne, he said to be in touch when I was hoping to climb. I’d expressed embarrassment to him that I’d made an attempt on Everest but hadn’t climbed Gros Morne.
With little warning and two bus tours on his doorstep, Todd found room for us at his inn and it’s been such a delight. So often, because I climb at high altitude, climbing means suffering and deprivation. Instead, this climb, I was treated to a wonderful view looking out over the ocean, hot shower, and wonderfully soft sheets. All of which was even better to come “home” to after spending nearly six hours climbing in a downpour. We knew the weather forecast left much to be desired but since this was our only day to climb, we packed lots of layers and made the best of it. Our other option had been camping in the national park campground which would have been fine but what a gift to be treated to the most luxurious base camp I’ve ever climbed from–Thanks again Todd! (http://www.theoceanview.ca/)
I loved the ascent portion of the climb, gaining nearly 2500 feet in 2.5 hours. My knees and ankle complained about coming back down. Found myself fantasizing about the Grouse Grind in North Vancouver where you can gain 3000 feet and then take the gondola back down! I’m pleased with my two climb endurance sessions…they’ve showed me that I’m on track in beginning to ready my mind and body for the challenges ahead.
It’s time to send off a huge installment for the Everest climb next week. You can imagine my disappointment, where in the last week, six speaking engagements (that were going to make a significant contribution to the climbing fund) were cancelled. Add to that the house renos coming in a twice the initial estimate, and my low stress financial road to Everest has grown a few speed bumps. I’m reminding myself that, in the end, “it will all play out in the wash” (mixing a few more metaphors) and there is really no need for stress–just an invitation to get more creative, work a little harder, and stretch myself to ask for support in new venues and settings. As Oma says, “Whatever comes, comes.”
Speaking of Oma, I thought of her often this weekend as I attended the Newfoundland Mushroom Foray. A chance for lay and professional mycologists to get together to learn, seek, share, and talk mushrooms. Marian asked me to come along and I’m glad I went. I am by nature a very curious person and I love to learn new things. I went into the weekend with a history of picking mushrooms with my Oma and Opa when I was a kid but not knowing much about the fungal kingdom. Forty-eight hours in the presence of mushroom aficionados and presto, on the hike today, I was pointing out the Genus Aminita, Russula, and Cortinarius beneath many trees along the trail.
After the big day out in the rain and cold, my eyelids are drooping. Hope you’ve had a good week and I hope to see many of you out for the Launch of Everest 2010: Mountains of Learning on October 8th at the INCO Theatre at MUN at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available from me and at the door.
Thanks for coming along on another fine adventure,