A Traverse

// June 27th, 2017 // Uncategorized


Ultra-Runner and Trader Joe’s captain Mike McGinnis at mile 88 of 100 on the West Rim of Zion National Park nearing completion his second Park traverse in 4 days.

A traverse in climbing is a horizontal move from one position to another that allows for continued upward progress along a route or wall where otherwise progress would have stopped – dead end.  A traverse can also be defined as movement along a ridge, a mountain range, or a geographic area, but one thing is required for a traverse and that one thing is to move, leave the security of your position and venture off to the unknown.

Recently I had the opportunity to complete the classic Zion Traverse with my ultra-runner friend Mike McGinnis.  We would start at the West end of this beautiful and amazing national park and cross the 50 miles of its rugged rims and canyons on foot carrying the bare minimum of what we would need to survive and pop out on the east end

with 13,300′ of elevation gain and loss along the way.  My intent was to run as much of this as possible, but at a relaxed two day pace so as to enjoy as much of the park as we could.  Well the plan changed when a sinus infection took hold of my airways, lungs, and balance and threatened to steal the experience away from me all together.  I had a choice: lay in bed at home and feel miserable, or move, go, traverse.  It may be slow, but at least I will blow snot rockets and feel miserable in one of the world’s most beautiful places.  So armed with shot blocks, salt tabs, and a handful of NyQuil/DayQuil tabs to the traverse we would go.

Making this decision to move opened my eyes to other traverses we make in life.  Career, family, community, pretty much any aspect of our lives could be in need of a change of direction, and one thing that is certain is that it will have its obstacles and challenges, its ups and downs and its unknowns.  Circumstances can keep us from moving, the way we feel, fear, laziness and the list goes on.  Changing direction and going from one place to another will not be easy.  So “suck it it up” I tell myself all watery eyed and sneezy, keep moving one step at a time and with a little help it can be done.  A traverse, just like life, is a journey and it may not always unfold the way we envision as the route may change, the style, and unexpected joy and trial.

Instead of running we speed hiked, instead of staring at the ground ahead we took in the view around, instead of blazing by others we made conversation and new friends.

We finished the traverse, it broke me down and it made me stronger, it opened my eyes and demanded I walk by faith, I learned new things and even now as I grow older I can say I grew.

Is it time for you to take on a traverse?


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