5 peaks in just over 2 weeks. I'm pleased, and I really think I'm going to get this done in time. Only 18 left. You know, life is really just about putting one foot in front of the other, isn't it? Eventually, we all get to where we need to be. One small step at a time. Sometimes we get lost and need to retrace our steps to find the path. Sometimes we just need to bushwhack through the shrubs and undergrowth, sometimes it's all uphill, and other times it's just a casual stroll. Most times, the walk is never quite as bad as we had envisioned it would be though. One step at a time. Forward, onward, and upward. Little by little.
With the help and encouragement of a friend, we banged out two more. This is another hike that had a frightening part to it. Blueberry ledge. The guidebook states as being "one of the most difficult in the Whites". I wasn't very intimidated by this one though, and I think there's two reasons behind that.
1. I've been on some tough hikes that didn't seem so tough after I finished them.
2. My friend was actually more petrified than me, so I went into "we can do this, no problem" mode to help her, much like so many people had done for me before.
My friend has done 44 of them now, and if she can keep doing these, scared or not, I know damn well I can as well.
A recent epiphany; being scared and excited are the same thing. Now every time I'm scared, I tell my self I'm excited. There's a lot of power and truth in those statements.
20 left, and about 6 months to do them, and you know what? I'm not scared, I'm excited.
That may actually be a great title for this hike. As with several before this (when will I learn?) I misled my self in thinking this would be a far harder hike than it actually was. I heard warnings of how tough and steep it was in the end. I was given warnings about the slide, and I exaggerated them. Fear has a way of doing that, making things sound worse than they really are. As with several other hikes, this one took a bit of relentless convincing to get up, but I did it. That seems to be a new theme to me in my life, and I'm not complaining. I didn't want to do it, but I did it.
Onward and upward. A little break from my last 4k, but now over the half-way mark, and the wind at my back, I'm newly energized for the completion. We picked another beautiful day for this one. February in the White mountains can be brutal. They can also be gentle and calm. We chose a wonderful, warm, and calm February day to do this one. I'm glad we did.
As with past hikes, having the company of a friend to share both the challenge and the victory of completion made a big difference.
Since the beginning of this venture, I've learned so much. I've learned so much in general from hiking, actually. One of the biggest is the act of self-discipline, and the concept of onward, and upward. Simply put, keep moving forward, and keep climbing. Life isn't all hiking the easy parts downward. I've also learned that we can still enjoy some of the suffering of life if we simply change our perspectives and attitudes. Keep on keeping on, folks.
Some hikes are better then others. Some are easy, some have great conditions, some come together organically, and some just hit the right spot at the right moment. This was one of those hikes, one of those that simply hit the spot. Today's hike marked several important milestones for me. It was a big one in so many ways. Let's just say, it was a pretty damn good hike. The weather conditions couldn't have been better, sunny and warm. It was also into later September, so very little crowds for the most part. The Lakes of the Clouds hut had closed for the season, and a weekday hike always scares folks away. I hiked with a friend who has been on a few of these with me now. I always enjoy his great attitude, and sense of humor. It always makes for a great day, and motivates the hell out of me. As with many periods of this 48 journey, I took a bit of a break, then seem to go into a flurry of hiking. In my defense, this summer was brutally hot though.
As noted before, this hike broke several milestones for me. One was the halfway point. These hikes are getting easier and easier, and the finish line doesn't seem so far away now. Another was, well, Washington. It's the big boy. Everything goes downhill from here. There's simply nothing taller. The last was my comfort zone. As with so many of these hikes, I get nervous when everyone talks about the difficulty of the trails there and back. Thoughts of "Is this too tough?" or "Will I be able to do this?" dance in my head. The truth was, and I'm not saying this to sound conceited in any way, that the trails were challenging, but cake. No big deal, really. I remember thinking "That's it? I was freaked out over that??". In the grand scheme of things, the same goes for life. We wind up this big production in our heads. We cause worry and resistance, and when the goal is accomplished, we often think "That's it?" That was challenging, but far easier than I thought.
The annual flags on the 48 memorial event is something I look forward to every year. Although commemorating a horrific event in our history, it's almost always a positive experience for me on many different levels. I always meet new people, and see old friends I may not see the rest of the year. Because it's a rain or shine event, we also hike no matter what (within the safety guidelines of the group, of course). That means that we're forced (in a good way) to hike no matter the conditions, and that's a good push to remind me that all days aren't perfect, but we still need to press on. No different than life I guess.
I've had a good problem lately, and that's that I haven't had enough time keeping up with these blogs because my time has been spent hiking mountains! More specifically, 4k's. This was the second round on a 4k with a former employee, turned friend. The original plan was Washington, but the weather didn't want to cooperate. With that said, with rain upon us, we cheerfully headed up Flume, via Osseo, a well footed trail that's great to do on a rainy day. I love meeting people who don't mind getting a little wet or dirty. Some of us even relish the thought. There's something to be said about making ourselves physically uncomfortable, and delaying our gratifications for the benefit of becoming better people. True hikers fall into this category, trudging their way in all weather to reach their destination. You find lots of things translate from the trail to real life after a few "uncomfortable" treks. Specifically, you tend to appreciate what you have more, complain less, and savor the little things and comforts you may have taken granted before. There is no better feeling than putting on a fresh, dry shirt or socks after a wet hike. Or a nice cold beer at the post hike meal. They all rank up there with opening presents on Christmas morning when you were a kid, or getting your first kiss. Next time it rains, go for a nice long hike and see for yourself.
I remember doing the Hancocks many years ago, and the keyword I remember here is steep. Steep up, and steep down. My memory, and the mountains did not disappoint. Slowly and steadily I climbed, and just like 1,000's of times before, I hiked the mountains. I picked a weekend day for these (very unusual for me), but I'm glad I did. The folks I met along the way were wonderful, and the hike was about as pleasant as I've ever been on. This is one of those hikes I hadn't really planned to do, but the night before, last minute, I decided to head up and get it done. So glad I did. I get so busy "planning" my life, I forget to just wing it sometimes. By that, I mean I forget to be spontaneous. I'm getting better at that though. I still have anxiety that rises and falls, which directly effects my choices, but I'm learning to both take care of my needs, and still stretch my comfort zone a little. When you have anxiety, you try to control your circumstances. That way, you can control life's outcomes. But guess what? It's just an illusion. You really can't control any of it. Life is going to happen, however it happens, no matter what. So hence my newer attitude on spontaneity. Life is to be embraced at every moment. Even the unplanned ones.
Sometimes, after we've gone out of our comfort zones enough times, the challenges of life and of the mountains get easier. Cannon was somewhat of a challenging mountain, but for one of the first times, a good challenge. I mean, it was no harder than any of the other peaks, but on this one I had less anxiety about it. I think that it's due to the fact that almost anything is hike-able as long as you're careful and take your time. The other reason being a better attitude toward the whole hike in general. I was in no hurry. I knew if I put one foot in front of the other, I'd get to the summit and back down again in one piece, just like I have a hundred times before. Just like thousands of people on that very trail have done before. I actually felt like a kid scrambling over the large boulders on Kinsman ridge trail. I'm also chomping at the bit to get on to my next hike! A good sign indeed.
Mt. Willey is part of a trio of peaks along with Mt. Field and Mt. Tom that most folks claim in one taking. After achieving Tom and Field earlier in the season, I simply didn’t have enough gas to complete Willey. And so it goes. Life presents us with challenges, and some we can conquer, and some we simply leave for another day, and take a different route to get there. As with a lot of these hikes, I simply didn’t think I could muster up the energy early on in the climb. It was steep right off the bat, I was out of shape, and I knew I was going to come upon the infamous “ladders”. A set of 99 steep steps near the end of the hike, that would also challenge my comfort zone in coming down them. They certainly did not disappoint. Both going up, and in coming down. As it was, I kept pressing on, and luckily, the terrain flattened a bit. The hike quickly went from “probably not” to, “I think I can do this one”. The steep and challenging finale to the hike was not easy, nor was necessarily welcomed, but I pressed on. Scared to death at the ladders, heading up, all I could think about was “this is going to suck coming down”. And, as a lot of our fears seem to try to falsely project, it wasn’t all that bad. I froze once or twice, but kept it in my head to just keep moving, keep going. Stop thinking so much, and act.
Is there anything in your life you keep putting off, for fear of the results? A difficult conversation, or job change maybe? Press forward. Fall on your face if you need to, but keep moving.
Hello and welcome.