The Mountains Will Crush You
I took the most scenic bike ride of my life yesterday.
We’re at Zion National Park playing the Zion Canyon Music Festival in Springdale, Utah. We got here a day early to enjoy this beautiful, majestic little section of Earth.
Except it’s not that little.
You are greeted by massive walls of rock (otherwise known as, “mountains”) with every turn. You almost always know that a mountain is around the corner, but you never know what’s at the base of the behemoths.
Sometimes it’s a beautiful field of sunflowers, sometimes it’s a bunch of mule deer eating grass in the field, not even bothered by the humans around them a little bit. There are lizards, weird bugs, and predators lurking from a distance that you can’t even see.
That’s the fun gamble of going out into a place like Zion. Coupled with the beauty is immense danger — perhaps more than anywhere else.
While most visitors are doing easy hiking and sightseeing, there’s an inherent risk in visiting a place like this. With life comes death, with beauty comes horror.
The mountains put you in your place. It’s hard not to wind through the valleys, lurking in the shadows of Earth’s past, and remember that we are mere residents, not owners, of this place.
This place, as nature has it, creates and destroys evenly. It is constantly spawning something new; things that wreck ecosystems and others that rebuild.
For every cliff scaler that plummets to their death, another mule deer is born. To Mother Nature, there is no difference.
I think about that a lot in a place like this. I am reminded that, whether I am facing a thousand-foot tumble or an interstate somewhere in the Midwest, my time is always closer to the end than I’d hope.
One of my favorite quotes ever is from an obituary, written by A.J. Baime, about the death of racecar driver Ken Miles. It says, “We don’t have to feel sorry for people that choose to live dangerously, and lose.”
Because there is something inside of a rock climber, or a hang glider, or a base jumper, or any of these crazy motherfuckers you’ll see out in a national…