Zentraveler climbs a mountain!

According to William James (Psychologist and philosopher— William James is often referred to as the father of American psychology) no matter what your station in life ——every seven years you must climb a mountain. I know how it sounds.”Oh I couldn’t possibly take a year off and just climb a mountain.”

I am here to tell you—- Yes You Can! You can either put your affairs in order and just do it or you can climb a virtual mountain, which is another way of taking that seven year itch break. William James left his family, wife and kids, and climbed a mountain. You can too!

I am the first to tell you that I have no interest in climbing a mountain like Mt. Everest. I don’t like cold freezing weather, and don’t want to fall several thousand feet into a frozen crevice or hang on the edge while my feet turn blue and hope for my best friends lifeline, a daring helicopter rescue or even a dog sniffing, brandy carrying canine to lick my face, while I see visions of sugarplums and turn into a frozen popsicle.

I do however love to walk and trek anywhere in the world and had to take my own advice when I decided to climb a mountain in Honduras, Central America. I met a fellow traveler at the airport in Tegucigalpa and we decided to bus to the town of Gracias Adios (thanks to God), Honduras or the local slang translation (Thanks goodbye!)

After securing lodging for the night in the mountain town of Gracias Adios we proceeded up the river valley until we reached the National Park. After the five mile hike with forty five pound back-packs we were both wandering if we should start the trek. Catching our breathe in the park rangers quarters we signed the guest log and noticed most of the visitors were from New Zealand, Australia, China, South America, and all over the globe. Very few Americans!

We were greeted by the ranger who provided us with a mountain map and a cold drink of pure mountain water. Up we went twisting around and straight up— seeing a variety of wild birds and wildlife scurrying through the heavy underbrush. My fellow traveler was from Belgium and he gave me the honors of being first in the mountain climb. Unless someone tells you— the first climber breaks through all of the spider webs, is bait for Mountain Cats and any dangers that present themselves—— like falling trees, rock-slides etc.

At midway they had a shelter where you could bed down for the night. After completing the summit and returning the following day, we were invited by the ranger and his wife to have dinner and beverages at his house—- just a stones throw from the ranger’s outpost. If you were seeking a get-a-way from it all vacation this was the perfect spot. We hadn’t seen any other humans in two days and felt like the explorers of the first world must have felt to discover and explore a new horizon. That’s what it’s all about— just the mindset change that comes with taking the challenge of climbing a mountain— gives you a whole different perspective on life.

We were both exhilarated and appreciative of such an excellent National Park and counted our blessings as we headed down the valley towards Gracias Adios. Looking back we could see the ranger and his wife harvesting golden corn silhouetted against the mountain backdrop. It was totally awesome as the valley girls would say.

Gracias Adios is an example of early spanish layout and architecture. There are wonderful buildings with whitewashed stucco and huge timbers dotted throughout this picturesque mountain town. The town has several stores, more churches than you can count, several small hotels for lodging and a few restaurants. If you want to cross the mountain by automobile I have been told you can make arrangements with the postal delivery man and hitch a ride. You may need to wait a few weeks or longer depending on the condition of the roads and whether he has enough mail going that way.

The valley is green with many rivers and tributaries running strong from the mountains. There is a fort perched on top of the town that still has its original cannons for protection. I never asked, but wouldn’t this be the perfect place to pan for gold. The mountains must be full of rich minerals and history. If only the mountain could talk. Out of nowhere a funnel cloud formed high in the sky and spun down at electric speeds forming a grayish- white sky genie figure who transformed into a bright gold. It continued to spin and touched down somewhere beyond the summit and disappeared. It was a midas moment. I never thought I would be a gold prospector, but with such a strong sign— maybe I hit the mother-lode this time.

The friendly towns-folk bid you adios every time you pass them or greet them. I was told that it is there custom….although a bit strange. It would be like us saying to anyone on a greeting— goodbye! The town won’t have any cruise ships showing up unless we have some serious global warming, and if that is the case, this is the highest point in Honduras. You will be at least safe from drowning for awhile. So if you want to hedge your bet of losing Florida, California, and Manhattan over the next few years— maybe going to Gracias Adios, Honduras isn’t such a bad idea. I could definitely hang my hat there and write the grand novel or novelette.

“Honduras is fast becoming one of the world’s great ecotourism destinations. Sparsely populated, much of Honduras is wilderness, home to fantastic biodiversity.

Honduras has more than 700 species of birds including the Harpy eagle, and populations of rare mammals such as jaguars, pumas, ocelots, giant anteaters, tapir and mantled howler monkeys. Honduras has the region’s most extensive tracts of cloud forest and the largest remaining area of primary forest. Infact the Moskitia region is one of the world’s few remaining undisturbed true wildernesses, and visiting it is an unforgettable experience for even seasoned ecotourists. The government is laying the groundwork for what will certainly become one of Central America’s great national park systems. Parks and reserves already protect all eight major life zones in the country, yet comprise only about half of the total 25,000 square kilometers earmarked for eventual protection. Although the ecotourism business in Honduras has yet to adopt the sophisticated marketing techniques of other countries in the region, notably Costa Rica, many of the countries major tour operators are now offering packages to attract the “green” traveler.”——Honduras.com/travel/parks

So there you have it—– take the time off and climb a mountain at your own speed, do it through books, television, travel shows, and blogs– but do it! You will glad you did and don’t forget to spray yourself with some heavy duty bug spray. They got some big biting mosquitos that could almost make you swear.

QUOTE: Emptiness is infact form when we forget the self. There’s nothing in the universe *other* than ourself. Nothing to compare, name, or identify. When it’s the only thing there is, how can we talk about it?
– Taizan Maezumi ——–maximumbliss.com

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: More than any other school of Eastern mysticism, Zen is convinced that words can never express the ultimate truth. it must have inherited this conviction from Taoism, which showed the same uncompromising attitude. “If one asks about the Tao and another answers him,” said Chuang Tzu, “neither of them knows it.”‘ ——shotokai.ci


ZENTRAVELER SAYS: How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time!


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