Short Stories
Entry No. 13   July 24, 2004

No Regrets?

Leaving Whistler was not so tough, for if I had stayed, I would have been broke within a very short period of time, and I wasn't going easy on the ice cream waffle cones either. Belinda, who had just returned from a tour to Calgary and back and, offering her place for the night in Whistler, she said it was her turn to be the giver. I thanked her and her roommate, Janine for their generosity and was on my way to Squamish.

I was told by climber and friend, Brad (aka Bradical), to be sure to camp at the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park at the base of the Grand Wall - "You'll know it when you see it" he said. Yosemite has The Captain, Squamish has The Chief. It is a climbing mecca, with people from all over the world here to climb anywhere from a few days to 5 to 8 weeks. I was doing well with my time, I was due to meet Tom Griga in Bellingham the night of the 26th and I only had about
135 km to go.

Brad told me to walk the Grand Wall Trail to its base and look up. He also told me to look for a climber etched into one of the rocks on that trail. I followed the orders, always with a bit of worry about hurting myself while doing something other than biking. I had just learned a few days before, that Tamara, from Stephan and Tamara, had broken her fibula just a day or so after we split up when they went to hike the Chilkoot trail and I went to Juneau. As I was hopping over the rocks and scrambling up the base, I thought about this.

As you may have gathered, I believe I am safer on my bike because I seem to hurt myself whenever I get off - strained hamstring, cut fingers from a bungee cord, bump on the head from a little-too-high-but-not-high-enough flower box, burnt knuckles, stubbed toes,... Hence, I was especially cognizant of each step on the trail.

So, after chatting with two friends from Salt Lake City and watching the woman, Kristy, climb The Exasperator, a 5.10c climb(1), I found myself struggling with an offer to get up there myself. Kristy asked if I wanted to borrow her shoes and my mind said "Yes!!!!", my body said "Whoa whoa- I only cycle" and something else said "What if you get hurt?"

I just stared up at her, my neck a full 90 degrees from my spine with all of this going through my head. I couldn't believe I was going to say no. I said "thanks, but I'd probably make a fool of myself" and there was my answer. I couldn't believe I passed up an offer to climb in
Squamish, B.C.

As I walked back down, my eye caught the climber etched into the rock. It was a woman. I felt regret. I thought about decisions one has to make that at times may not be in their best interest, due to the idea of having no regrets. But, wasn't I doing this because, at the end of my life, I wanted no regrets?

I fought with myself that I would have felt more regret if I got hurt and had to postpone or even cancel this trip. This trip is my job for a year. My goal is Chile by bike, environmental awareness by campaign. This wasn't just a bike ride where I was going to lollygag in a place, hoping to fall in love with a man or a location and never leave. I have a job. I'll go climbing with Bradical when I'm done my work here. The regret was slowly dissipating... ever so slowly.
(1) Climbs/routes are rated anywhere from 4.0, a scramble up some rocks, to about 5.12 with sublevels of 'a' through 'd' from 5.10 on. At this point, specific training is necessary to be able to climb these routes.

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