I was thinking yesterday, that without gambling, life is meaningless. The thought came to me, not at a gaming table in Vegas or at the track; It came to me standing 100' above the San Gabriel River. A ledge about 5" wide was where I was perched, studying the face of the canyon wall. I was picking my route down a crack and across a short, steep, granite face. Watching my abled mates negoiate the face before me, they too were conquering their fear and gambling. Fear and gambling seem to go hand in hand. Looking down at the slope, the rocks and the river below, my heart is in in my throat. There is no back. There is only forward. Swallowing and taking a breath I calm myself and begin to study the problem. Where are my feet going to go? I rarely think about my hands in these situations, I have complete trust in my feet and my balance. Leaning into the cliff, I step out and down, and then again and stretching a bit, once more. Three steps and that part of the problem, down the crack, is over. Now across the sliprock. I realize it only looks impossible. After a moment of study the path is clear. Its the first step once again that's hard. Thinking 3 steps ahead, I take my step and before I know it I'm across. For me there is an exhiliration to these moments, a rush. I've been to Vegas and played the ponies a time or two. I've won modest amounts and it was a thrill. It doesn't compare with gambling on your abilities, knowing nothing is a sure thing. Trusting your knowledge of trailcraft and your knowledge of what you are able to do. Trusting yourself, trusting your abilities, trusting the trail and trusting in God. Its not really a gamble is it?