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My Arrival: on Loss, on Giving


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ACC GMC 2007

My Arrival: On Loss, On Giving

Thursday, July 19


The phone rings. I don’t answer because I’m stuffing a sandwich in my mouth for lunch. The answering machine picks up and it’s Marta. She leaves a message saying something about having one or two spots for the ACC GMC beginning this Saturday - for free.

Free? But it's a $1500 camp.

I return her call and she explains more details. A couple, Tim and Joanne, have had a death in the family and will not be able to use their spaces. There are no people on the waiting list for the camp to fill them, so they are now looking for someone else who can go - on obviously very short notice! At this point they really just do not want the spots to be wasted.

Marta tells me to contact Enrique, their friend, whom she found out about it from. I no sooner hang up with Marta and my mind begins to whir around and around.

I cannot go… it’s so soon… there’s just no time to get ready - I’d have to leave in a couple of days… no - tomorrow, I’d have to leave tomorrow!

This isn’t simply a beach vacation where I can throw a bathing suit in a bag and go. I’d need to get lots of technical gear ready and even have to buy a few things.

But what a huge opportunity.

I’d known about the GMC for a long time, but it has always been something that I’d never do for myself. I've always thought of it as so outrageous and so out of touch for some reason.

But I have most of the equipment and a good base of skills. Why shouldn’t I go for it?

I should!

So I pace the kitchen floor for a few more minutes thinking, then pick up the phone and speak briefly with Enrique. He suggests I call Jon from the ACC to claim the spaces. I hang up with him and immediately call Jon, who says he’d need to hear directly from Tim and Joanne about giving the spaces to me – he can’t simply just transfer them to me.
So, I phone Enrique again to explain. Enrique says he was unable to contact Tim and Joanne, since they’ve already left town. He offers to write them an email explaining the situation, hoping they will get it in time and reply. He mentions he has an email from Joanne stating their desire to give the spots away. I suggest he forward it to me and I’ll send it to Jon. 

When I receive the email, I forward it to Jon and then phone to follow up. He says he is satisfied with this and I am in! All I need to do is complete some paperwork.

WOW! But there’s still another spot free… I wonder if I can get someone else on board?

I think for a minute, wondering who else I can possibly get interested in this on such short notice. I get on MSN and see that my mountain friend, Ben, is online so I write him. He’s a PhD student, which seems to mean his work hours are from 2pm-4pm so I figure he might be a possibility. 

Within 5 minutes, I have him on board.

I spend the remainder of the afternoon getting the paperwork done and then make a trip down to MEC to pick up a few extra pieces of gear and clothing.


I receive a new email back from Joanne saying that Tim would like to offer the spaces to their children first. She reiterates that they do not want the spots to go unused and wasted and promises to let me know by 8:30am tomorrow. 

I certainly understand this. I email her back saying that if their children are not interested or able, that I have been in contact with Jon and can fill one or both spaces - they would not be wasted.

Over the afternoon my excitement has steadily built up. Although I understand their desires, this latest development has left me feeling a little deflated. I decide to go out for a bike ride to get my mind off of it.

Friday, July 20

My sleep is a little bit rough, interrupted by anticipation and excitement.

As promised, my computer beeps that I have received new mail from Joanne right at 8:30am. I eagerly open it and begin to read…

The spaces are ours.

I quickly let Ben know that it’s a go for sure now, and the remainder of the day becomes a flurry of packing and preparations. We’d need to leave town in only 11 hours!


We meet at Enrique’s house and stuff everything into his SUV, strapping a roll of chicken wire to the roof when we run out of room inside. Without the chicken wire along to put up as fence around the vehicle, rodents would thoroughly chew through all of the rubber on the underside of his SUV during our week away. We’d rather they dined elsewhere.

We arrive in Golden at the hostel at midnight after having to endure a 1-hour delay in the Kicking Horse Pass due to a chemical spill. I’m super tired and go straight to the room to bed, but with the satisfaction that that we have arrived and are ready to go - the adventure begins in earnest in only a few more hours.

"A real adventure, by a real guy. 

If you're going to do something, do it big. 


Dean Fedecko

Rice Crust from the Bottom of the Pot: A Journey Across South East Asia

Although in creating this site I have tried to make the information as accurate as possible, it is not meant to be a guide, and I accept no responsibility for any loss, injury, or inconvenience sustained by anyone using the information.

 ACC GMC 2007 Review

 © 2007 Parry Loeffler