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On drinking, and getting high

The Big Squeeze: When life gets you down, remember to look up.

Graeme and his son, London, check out the view from the barrier in Garibaldi Provincial Park.

Graeme McRanor / Metro Order this photo

Graeme and his son, London, check out the view from the barrier in Garibaldi Provincial Park.

Some people find God - I found the mountains.

More accurately, I rediscovered them.

A few years ago, as a way to curb weekend alcohol consumption, I started hiking on Sundays. For a long time, Saturday had been “go out” night, since I didn’t have my son after 5 p.m. The logic was that early rises on a Sunday foreclosed on plans for the night before: who wants to hike with a hangover?

That might seem silly to some but, as an all-or-nothing type personality, with some exceptions, it’s worked for me.

The Big Squeeze:

And I really got into hiking. Surprising, because there was a time when mountains were just a backdrop for good skiing. And, in those days, I did a lot of it.

But climbing one had never occurred to me. 

No matter. By my late-20s, I was mostly summiting bar stools.

These days I’m back skiing occasionally but, with kids, doing so regularly is cost-prohibitive. Hiking, on the other hand, is free.  

Better exercise, too. And it pairs with photography, another hobby.

Now, of course, with a seven-week-old baby at home, going out Saturday night is in the realm of memory; even finding time to hike is challenging.

Still, we’re busy plotting our summer, which is when I’ll get my eight-year-old son London back on the trails. Took him a while but he loves backcountry camping - even if not always keen on hiking a hill to get there.

But he does it, usually with little complaint.

When he does grouse, I use the mountain as metaphor, a marathon not a sprint. We don’t rush it. We enjoy the journey, aware that we’ll eventually get to a place with a spectacular view. And then revel in our accomplishment. We did it.

We all need encouragement. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s a quote, attributed rightly or not to that old Beat pathfinder Jack Kerouac (don’t know for sure who said it, but I like the conceit): “Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”

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