I often wondered why it is that you can teach yourself to kayak, or ski, and why you need a teacher to learn things in school. We certainly need to be exposed to the information, but why can't we just see the information and then start navigating it. Many people are taught to roll and then are taken out a few times kayaking, then start on their own. People can also just put on some skis and have a few words thrown their way and head down the mountain.
Months and months go by without instruction, sometime years, and we progress.
We get better and better and better.
The river teaches us, mountains teach us. It does what any good teacher does: gives us challenging problems, gives us immediate feedback, and makes it fun. We sit in class day after day, and I try to take the lessons that the river teaches, and use that as a model for teaching.
Sometimes the river is quiet, subtle, slow; sometimes it is fast and powerful, loud and overwhelming. It can be playful, sunny and light, dancing and easy. The snow can be light and freeing, hard and fast, or windy and harsh.
These are the lessons that the river has, that the mountains have. You must have variety, you must always have your students adapting to something new.
A river or a mountain can be anything, and is everything, it gives life and takes it away, it is an ever shifting entity but the lessons are always rich and worth learning, even if they are tough. It has all of life wrapped up in it, and that is what we need from a true teacher. We need every lesson life has to offer, every part of life expressed by our teacher, and the rivers and the mountains have it, that is why they are the greatest teachers.
Lessons from 10 years in the mountains(That I learn every year... over and over and over):
A light jacket is always a good idea
If you think it isn't enough water, it isn't enough water.
plan better than you did
you can push through hunger, but you really should have just brought a snack
Injuries are preventable and it is all about the choices you make
Injuries are healable, but only if you move them to heal
Sweat is good
Have a repair kit
Ballistic stretching is best, and should be done every time you move intensely
You don't want to do a recovery workout, but you should
Intensity interval training makes you faster
If you want to go faster, drink caffeine
Weight train and you will be more confident
It is always better with friends
It isn't one bad choice that gets you in trouble, it is a series of bad choices
Sleep like it is part of your training
Life is short, honor those who are gone, and do what they loved to do
Keep playing or you get old
Cheers to the mountains and rivers.
Keep on learning.