Lasting Friendships Found Through Unlikely Adventures: The Momentum That Brought Us Here

Mt. Washington Adventure

I’m quite certain that there’s no introduction that will satisfy.

No start, middle, or end to this adventure that could possibly match the giddiness that we felt at 4am as our snacks were assembled, coffee poured (and undoubtedly spilled from sleepiness), and animated conversation, in short, over where we stand with the likes of country music.

It was a friendship started by way of a single common thread; a commonality soon expanding into something entirely whole, while still leaving plenty of room for the messy and unfinished—not a single expectation in sight, simply unwavering support.

From a nervously typed hello, banking on the chances of the response, let alone friendship, being one in infinity, to adventures found in Portland, Bend, and at the top of a mountain; the momentum that brought us here will no doubt take us there, and everywhere in-between.

This piece is written by Kourtney and myself, while being paired with Elli’s ability to document a feeling.


Elli.

All photos, captured, curated, and edited by this magic-moment maker.


Kourtney.

As this practice often goes, I find myself fumbling over the lingering emotions of last Saturday’s events instead of putting constructive words to paper. The climb up Washington reinforced a philosophical concept that I have been toying with for much of the summer. 

I have always understood time as the linear way our cognitive brains interpret it. Yet what I am coming to know is time cannot exist on the two-dimensional plane of our thoughts at all. The sequential passing of life is a product of our tangled neurons, an interpretation of something we may never actually be able to understand. And in moments as pure and honeyed as our climb up Mt. Washington, I am further drawn to the idea that our interpretation of time may be the very force putting us where we ought to be in reference to the beliefs we allow.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

3:31am  

The self-grinding coffee pot erupted through the sleeping house like a jet engine taking off into the night, just as Dad said it would. Unlike most mornings, the groggy nonverbal me wasn’t present. Instead, my alarm filled my body with a kinetic energy that had me up and out of bed, ready for the adventure to follow.

4:11am

Coffee in hand, we quietly stepped into the pre-morning air. As we cozied up in the car, there was an energy that I am not sure I had experienced before. An aged comfort, but youthful excitement. For an eclectic group of friends, the lack of awkwardness was rather beautiful. Over the hour long drive we giggled about the common plots in country music and anticipated the possibilities that waited on the mountain side.

5:28am  

Lit by headlamp and moonlight we began a dusty trek. Moving swiftly to keep warm (and keep up with Elli), it’s a wonderful thing to beat the sun into the day. The transition of dusk to dawn is an experience in itself, but when you add an exposed mountain climb to the endeavor, the magic is amplified.

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 11:46am

As we strapped on our helmets and scrambled up to the saddle, I was positive this was the timeline I was looking for. For me, mountaineering has become a way for me to find the strength polar to my immunological flaw. A way to shift my timeline away from illness and towards me. To both who I have always been and who I want to become.

3:57pm 

Completely exhausted, chugging all the water we could fit into our bellies, and trying not to breath in the post-adventure odor we were all giving off, we left the trail head.

Since that moment I have been consumed with a nameless emotion that transcends gratitude. A personal realization that all the seeking, all the ambition, was not the flaw that I once thought it was, but the momentum that brought me here. To these people, to this outcome, on this timeline. Despite the lack of complete understanding of time, I am a firm believer in the human aptitude to alter our stories.

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Chloe.

I’ve been mulling over the phrase, “it starts right here” for the past few days, and specifically when thinking of how I wish to write this piece—this fraction of the individual, as well as collective take-aways, from this very filled-to-the-brim adventure.

You know, those things that stick with and can be applied to what feels like every aspect of your life—or close enough, anyway. 

Relevant, timely, and empowering. Though these are the words I think of when trying to stuff this evolving friendship and on-going adventure into a daypack, along with water, snacks (thanks, Elli!), and whatever else is needed as we work our way upwards, should not be limited to these singular definitions, ideas, or short phrases—as I’m no doubt doing here. 

Expansive, maybe that’s as close as I’ll get.

You see, I’ve already strayed from the initial, “it starts right here,” which seems to be my stubborn self adjusting the focus until things become clearer, more structured, and “perfectly” formatted for the bigger picture, desperately trying to make sense of and give meaning to something quite possibly, might be best left as a feeling—I wonder how many times I’ve done this?

Surely too many to count. 

It’s the process of things and the way we move ourselves from one place to the next, ferociously typing away, determined to not undermine the richness of then, now, and all the goodness that has taken place since that one time we decided to climb to the top of a mountain (nearly).

Mt. Washington, to be exact. 

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So, where is here? Here is our feet and legs caked in dirt as we scramble our way from one lower point, to that of drop offs and boulders threatening to give way, trusting our judgment enough to put that foot here, the other one there, while simultaneously reaching up to what feels like a very questionable handhold.

Take a deep breath and lean in.

Here is this kitchen table I’m writing to you from. 

The cold coffee. The one remnant of morning. 

Of all that took place during these few short hours. 

The expectations of self.

The forgiveness.

The working hard and letting go. 

The jumping into a lake between conversations on well-loved boulders. 

And now, the thoughts that swallowed you up yesterday, are gone. 

At least enough to make room for this. 

For here.

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Here being the quickening of our steps as stars reluctantly give way to sun and our fingers thaw, slowly, minds still lingering in moments filled with before-morning chatter and hot coffee, as we wind our way beneath a blanket of galaxies, sliver of a moon, and billions of stars between silhouetted trees that surely look something like ghostly skeletons.

Here being the me that’s still in pj’s at 4pm, warming up to the idea that some things, be it an adventure, subtle shift, emotion, conversation, or fear-riddled-thought, wont make it from here to there without falling short of an expectation. 

Here being a feeling left as is: Expansive, ever-evolving and, endlessly impactful. 


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until next time,

Kourtney, Elli, & Chloe

Chloe O'NeillAdventuresComment