“Simply existing is a miracle
yet people trudge through life
like it’s going to go on forever.”

-Sir Ken Robinson

Ever since I climbed Golden Ears Mountain with a friend in the mid-1990s, I’ve wanted to do it again and spend the night at the peak. It’s amazing how quickly time passes and goals get put off, but this last week my son Sam and I set off to complete the overnight excursion. There were many obstacles: carrying heavy packs, hot temperatures, running low on water, 4600 feet in elevation…but we did it!

My phone battery died shortly after reaching the summit, but not before I was able to capture these wonderful images:

We were able to witness a stunning sunset and watch the lights of the Lower Mainland of B.C. come to life and glisten. The experience was all I expected and more!

The next day started with a glorious sunrise and a sense of optimism that our goal of completing the hike would soon be complete. The climb down from the peak was as treacherous as the climb up. Shortly after our descent started, my dream quickly became a nightmare. A large stone slab starting sliding down the slope of loose rock I was on. I put my hands out to brace myself and dug in, but I was powerless to stop it. Awful thoughts ran through my head… It all happened so quickly. Disoriented and frightened, I realized my glasses were gone, my right shoe was missing, I had a huge headache, and my hands were bleeding profusely. But…I could still feel! I was lucky.

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Blood on my missing right shoe
It’s surprising how, in times like these, the simplest things can become the only things that matter. The only thing I wanted was my shoe – my shoe so that I could get off this mountain and be with my family. How could I possibly hike the 5 hours down over ice and jagged rock without my shoe? I fortunately had a pair of prescription sunglasses and I eventually found what I so desperately needed. Sam was so brave – I love you Sam! He encouraged me and helped me stop the bleeding. The previous day, I was the one urging him up the mountain when he wanted to quit, and now it was his turn to encourage me.

We made it to Maple Ridge Hospital by 12:30 p.m. where I was cleaned up, stitched up, and x-rayed.

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As I arrived home at 5:30 p.m., I hugged my wife, cried, and was never more thankful to be alive.

Everything in life happens for a reason, but you don’t always get second chances. This experience reminds me of how lucky I am, how much I have in my family and friends, and how I much I love life!

Today is a great day to appreciate all you have. As the late Zach Sobiech reminds us in this inspirational video, You don’t need to find out you’re dying to start living!

8 thoughts on “Thankfulness

  1. Wow! What an ordeal, Antonio. That must have been so incredibly frightening. I am so glad that Sam was there to help, support and encourage you on your descent. It is times like these that really remind us how fortunate we are. I’m glad you made it down and to the hospital where your injuries could be tended. As you said, things could have been much worse. I am glad they weren’t.

    Hug your lovely family and be grateful, as I know you are.

    Tia

    1. Hugs and kisses have been given all around 🙂 A little perspective goes a long way! Thank you for your support and kind words, Tia. Hope you have had a great summer with your family. See you soon!

  2. My dear little brother – thank you for always inspiring us with your words and stories. As a family we were so frightened when you told us of your ordeal. We couldn’t imagine a life without our ‘jug head’ ! We love you very very much!

  3. Thank you for sharing your mountain journey. Amazing to hear and experience your joy, fear and ultimately your journey back to where you started , loving arms of a loving family….I needed this today in our stresses we sometimes forget where we are and what we have. Our journey back to our loved ones has been shortened by your sharing….Raquel

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