One of the absolute honours that I have had during my hiking career is witnessing the explosion of human spirit by some of my co-adventurers.
There are some things that I cannot learn on a solo trip. There are some things that I can only experience when I witness another person demonstrating Character within the Catastrophe.
Character is absolutely essential for genuine adventure.
There is personal character – the promises & commitments I make and keep with myself, and social character – the promises & commitments I keep with other people. This post is about social character.
Character is one of the main things that gives adventure it’s meaning. Adventure is valuable precisely because it creates opportunities for people to show character — demonstrate a concern for something bigger than their own ego, bigger than their own comfort and convenience. Character comes into its own when there is adversity, struggle and sacrifice.
“Big Dogs” is a term I have used to refer to persons-of-character. And “Dancing with the Big Dogs” is a phrase that I have used to refer to the experience of being in a character-driven episode with one or more Big Dogs.
Note: “Big” doesn’t refer to the physical size of the dog, but rather to the size of the character and the spirit in the dog.
So here are a few of the “Dig Dogs” — persons-of-character — that have taught me valuable lessons during our shared adventures in the Catastrophe. The people on this list meet 4 criteria:
- they have done at least two multi-day trips wilderness with me,
- they have taught me something about character and the human spirit,
- they have accessed this blog at least once (or at least claimed that they did),
- I have a picture of them that is unique, but doesn’t reveal their full identity to the Internet.
This is only a partial list (more to come), and the pictures are displayed according to chronological order (earlier pictures first):
Towards Guanaco Peak, Coquihalla area,
Valley of the Moon, Monashee Park
Ralph Lake, Height-of-the-Rockies
Welsh Lakes Area, Central Purcells
After a particularly nasty bushwack on the Elk-Limestone Traverse, Canadian Rockies
Ferro Pass, looking toward Mt. Assiniboine
Juniper Meadows, Central Purcells
Above Deep Lake, towards Mt. Abruzzi, Canadian Rockies
Character disrupts the Catastrophe. The Catastrophe simply does not know what to do when it is confronted with character. Character creates — for brief moments — a “Joy in spite of” … a certainty that “this makes sense” even if big chunks of life don’t make sense.
And so, to the persons-of-character that are named in this post … I would like to say “Thanks for the Joy within the Catastrophe”. “Thanks for the Dance“.