OK, so ocean rowing isn't directly related to mountains (unless you mean mountainous challenges) but Mountainfilm is about much more than mountains. It is a four-day adventure-fest - adventures of the mind and spirit, as well as the body.
Yesterday I heard someone saying that some people come away from Mountainfilm saying it has changed their life. This made me reflect on my decision to row the Atlantic, and going further back than that, my decision to opt out of the rat race and go and do something more interesting instead.
I started drafting my presentation for Sunday, along the lines that when we each look back over our lives, we see a number of defining moments - it could be as dramatic as a car wreck or the diagnosis of a life-threatening disease, or it could be as tiny as a throwaway comment from a friend, or a book you read, or a decision to do x rather than y.
People have asked me if rowing the Atlantic changed my life, and they tend to look rather disappointed when I say that it didn't. The truth is that the changes started several years ago, when I reached my mid-thirties, and the apparently bizarre decision to put out to sea in a tiny 24-foot rowboat was, believe it or not, those changes taken to their logical(ish) conclusion. For me, deciding to row the Atlantic was an accumulation of defining moments, moments when I chose one path over another. At any point, life could have led me in a different direction.
But I'm rather glad it led me in this one.
All work and no play makes Roz a dull ocean rower, so I took a day out (en route from my presentations in Oregon to my next presentation in Colorado) and went to Canyonlands, surely one of the world's most stunning landscapes, and a place that I have had on my "Must-Visit" list for a long time.
I'd always thought of Quackers (my yellow pickup) as a cute and cuddly boat-towing kind of a truck, but in Canyonlands he came into his own as a 4x4, bouncing over the bumpy, stony tracks with ease. (Luckily I'd been able to leave my ocean rowboat with friends in Moab - she would have been too far out of her element here.)
This was not the most environmentally friendly way of seeing the scenery - I would have loved to mountain-bike the route instead - but unfortunately there were still many miles to cover to Telluride...
[Video: Canyonlands gave me an opportunity to test out the procedure for editing and uploading video to my website that I hope to use on the ocean - click above to view.]
Last night's fundraiser for Search & Rescue in Bend, Oregon, was a great success - but now it's over, hence rather dodgy title for this blog. Hood River is also over - my presentation there was on Sunday night.
I arrived in Bend yesterday with 24-foot boat in tow at the height of rush hour, which was not ideal. The original plan had been to put the boat behind the theatre, but she seemed too tucked-away there. She is my best billboard, and deserved centre stage.
So Eric ran around to the front of the theatre - and raced back to announce, "Three parking spaces in a row - move NOW!" So I manouevered Sedna around there as fast as I could, and we got our billboard in place.
Sedna certainly helped draw the crowds, and we had an excellent turnout at the Tower Theatre.
And this morning I got a call from a local classic rock radio station wanting to do an interview after the show host had spotted my boat - probably not the kind of thing you see every day in downtown Bend.
Today Sedna, Quackers and I hit the road again - off to the Mountain Film Festival in Telluride, where I'm speaking on Sunday.
[photo: TV interview for Fox before my presentation last night]
It is almost impossible not to laugh when you are around Mick Bird, although the Hawaiian-born rower must have had his sense of humour sorely challenged when his first and second attempts to row the Pacific both ended prematurely.
The first attempt, from Monterey, was attended by about 250 assembled media, sponsors and friends, but ended after two weeks when his comms system failed.
The second attempt, from Oxnard, was attended by about 20 friends, and ended after just a couple of days when Mick realized he was being swept too far south.
The third attempt, from Fort Bragg, was attended by a sea lion (the two friends who had helped him tow his boat there had already left saying, "Yeah, yeah, see you next week"), and ended triumphantly with a full Pacific crossing to Australia via Hawaii, the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands.
As Geoff Holt found, expeditions don't always go quite according to plan. But the setbacks are what separates the doers from the dreamers. I hope that a) I don't have to suffer the setbacks, but b) if I do, that I find the strength and determination to persevere as Mick did.
[photo: me with Mick Bird in Hood River yesterday]