Hi! I am Lucian. My wife (Mary) and I took hiking more seriously about 10 years ago after visiting a 4000-meter mountaintop in the Yunnan Province, China. Our love of mountaintops and summits quickly brewed into a passion. Slowly, the size and scope of our hikes increased, destinations by hearsay that had been undreamed of before were unveiled to us, one after another.
Aafter accumulating thousands of photos and having friends and family asking for photos from us, we decided to share our love with everyone and allow others to enjoy these places themselves. Please join us to embrace God’s finest gifts for us. Cherish it, respect it and protect it.
Please always practice "leave no trace and take nothing (but memories)”. Enjoy reading the analogy below - it's the genesis of this website.
Chapter 1 (A Hiker's Perspective)
Hiking has changed our perspective on life. During a long hike in Oklahoma, I came up with an analogy by comparing hiking with life’s events. I told Mary about the analogy as we inched up toward the summit:
“Everyone has goals/obstacles in life, some are aiming toward a sucessful career and an early retirement, some are working hard to ensure their children are healthy and successful, some are in the struggle to cope with unexpected illness, and some are striving to realize their lifelong dreams. These are the mountains we climb. Everest was probably Bill Gate’s inner mountain at some point in his life.
As we start off, the summit appears so distant and unreachable, but we step forward regardless. We assess the few hundred feet of ground before us and accomplish the hike one section at a time. Every so often we should learn to rest, pat each other on the backs for encouragement and celebrate small victories. Staring straight ahead usually there is nothing but endless rocks and dirt, but turn around once a while we are often rewarded with rejuvenating views. We should be thankful for the unexpected gift of mountain springs and berries along the trail, and say hi to everyone on the trail. If someone needs help we should lend a hand. Those ‘strangers’ offered to stay with the injured hiker for the rescue horse & abandoned their once a lifetime summit opportunity? They deserve to be your friends for life! Sometimes we make it to the top, sometimes we don't. We have no regrets since we already took the 1st step and tried our best.
When we both arrived on the summit, we were rewarded with spectacular views. Our horizon was broadened and we were able to see and experience more than those in the lower elevations. But the views came at a cost - the wind was stronger, the temperature was lower, and the sun’s ray was tougher. We braced ourselves (and held hands with our loved ones) to endure the elements, so we can continue our enjoyment of the spectacular 360 degree view of the world below us. We waved toward the hiker below & urged him on. We really wanted to see him standing next to us. Although he didn't make it to the top that day, he showed us the way to the last water source & the best line of approach. As we descented, we carried scars of burned & weather-beaten skin down the mountain, along with torn pants and bruised elbows, but now it was an easy stroll with a beautiful view. We caught up with the hiker who helped us and shook his hands in earnest full of gratitude. We could not have completed the journey without his help and the 'small' help of many others along the trail. We must not forget! We arrived at the trailhead full of smiles. It has been a privilege to experience the entire journey, and we were blessed.
At the trailhead, a hiker greeted us & asked: ” What’s it like up there? Is it a tough hike?" I answered: ” You bet! There are lots of loose rocks and you need to watch your steps. Some sections have steep drop offs on both sides but with enough resolve, you can make it! The view is well-worth it on top. I can’t describe it & you’ll have to see it yourself. Focus On The Positives! Just don't give up! "
So what is your next (inner) mountain, and will you now give up? Toss away your worries. Do not spend your precious life to stuck on the worst parts of your last summit attempt. Life is too short not keeping your chin up and smiling. Focus on the positives! Remember the lesson learned but Look Forward & start to climb a new ‘mountain’ for yourself or someone you love! Now GET UP & LET'S GO!
Chapter 2 (A Climber's Perspective)
After years of climbing indoors, we eventually ventured outdoors. Unlike hiking, our new love for this vertical sport did not go well in front of our parents and relatives. For whatever the reason (probably the obvious danger factor) it took a long time until they accepted the sport, sort of. So why do we climb & what do we get out of it? This is the question our friends & family beckoned us to answer. My answer has always been that climbing engages our mind, it makes us intensely happy & healthy. But mainly it humbles us & teaches us to love nature, and respect, cherish life, and learn to better ourselves regardless how others see us. Yes, it's no coincidence that most professional climbers are some of the most humble and low key human beings you will ever encounter. Perhaps only in climbing, it's weird that the better you get, the more humble you become. The more you learn, the more realize how much more there is to learn, and the more places we go, the more we realize how big the world is!
After bushwhacking for about a mile we finally arrived at the bottom of the granite. With no one in sight we took our time & enjoyed the birds chirping around us and the breeze cooling off our sweat soaked backs. After taking a few long breath, we turned toward the vertical cliff and our eyes widened in anticipation. We tried not to elevate our heart rate since we learned long ago remain calm is one of the most important aspect of climbing. But today somehow my heart was beating uncontrollably, I guess it was the intense focus and the anticipation of a new route. I kept rehearsing the climb over & over again in my mind including every step of the way, which knot to use, where to set the anchor & so forth. We had practiced a month for this route & the day has finally arrived.
Leading a climb means accepting more risks and facing the unknown. Mary & I played rock paper scissors & Mary won the toss to lead the pitch. She moved methodically & danced up the wall smiling. Despite the difficulty and the knee bruising moves, her smiles dissolved all elements of danger and it engulfed the entire surrounding with a sense of calm and joy. Once on top, Mary didn't celebrate alone but quickly setup the anchors to brought me up to safety. Just minutes ago Mary's life was in my hands & all the sudden she watched over mine. There was a complete trust that bonds us together on this mountain, along with a focus that is so intense that it is liberating - focusing on the next hold and reaching it brings a sense of gratification that is unparallel to any other sport. Each hold is a personal obstacle to be solved, it's only me and the rock. I didn't care about anything or anyone other than the next hold. After about 4 hrs and multiple pitches, we both celebrated on the summit by giving each other a great big hug and a fist bump. I recall it was truly one of the happiest and the proudest moment in our lives - Mary's 1st 5.X Lead. Unlike many other sports, only climbing can provide this much life charging energy without an audience. It was a quiet & humble celebration - just between two of us.
As we stepped off the mountain & arrived at the trailhead, an European tour group came over full of curiosity & asked us if it's pretty 'inside', and if we made it to the top (since that's the question we have been asked the most). I smiled & told them how pretty it was 'inside' & how beautiful it was on the summit. But honestly, the summit was just a fleeting moment and the best parts were the hundreds of holds on the granite. Perhaps next time I'll try to explain. Have a great journey my friends! :)"
Chapter 3 (To be continued... this Summer (2015), we welcomed the newest member to our family Matthew Loh. He will help us to write the next chapter. Please stay tuned as our journey continues)
“Luke! Do. Or do not. There is no try.” - Matthew said to his father when he was 10 days old.
Last Major Revision 6/25/11 (minor modification Summer 2015)
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