“Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.” ~Khalil Gibran
I have “always” loved nature. I have “always” preferred the mountains to the beaches, the lakes to the ocean, the cold to the hot. I have “always” said that God had a great sense of humor depositing me to be raised in Hawaii, when all I longed for were my summer vacations in Oregon; fishing, crabbing, camping and taking long rides through the woods with my grandparents.
Even as a young adult, I loved to go hiking and looked for any opportunity to get out into the mountains. Some of my most memorable treks were hiking the north cascades to a glacier in Washington State, through the Kalalau trail on the island of Kauai, as well as a quick jaunt up Mount Rainer (not to the summit mind you) with my then two year old in tow.
One of my biggest desires/dreams back then was to go backpacking deep into the woods and maybe one day even climb a mountain. But I put that dream on the top back shelf when I became a single parent, got married and had two more children.
In October of last year, Michael and I decided to take a few days to go hike Yosemite National Park. Neither of us had been there before and we were excited to just get away and explore nature. It was such a wonderful weekend spent being together, being quiet, just being ……..
We hiked the 5 mile loop in the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias and the very easy Bridalveil Falls. However, we were really there to to hike to the top of Vernal Falls, which is considered strenuous because of the elevation gain of 2,000 feet within 3 miles. To say this hike kicked our butts is putting it mildly. BUT we did it. I had to overcome my fear of heights when going up the 700 stone stairs that had no handrails and were made for a single line of hikers both going up and coming down. I looked down at one point and almost freaked myself out, wondering how in the world I was going to make it back down.
This is me making it up the 700 stone steps by Vernal Falls. This was before I looked down.
I watched backpackers coming off of the John Muir trail…..men with their sons, groups of women, couples, etc. Many had been on the trail for a week. And that is when, my dream, tumbled off the top shelf. Instead of letting it fall to the ground or putting it back up……I grabbed it and put it in my heart.
Because this is my time.
I turn 50 this year.
It is my year of jubilee.
My year of freedom.
My year of “musts”
………and on my list of musts……..is to go climb a mountain.
Not just any mountain, but the tallest one here in the contiguous United States.
2.5 years post cancer diagnosis, I have a lot of training to do. Cancer treatment took its toll on my body and I continue to recover and live with its effects and side effects.
This page will be my journal of this adventure; the research, the prep, the training.
It all starts with a decision.
On September 21, 2015.
I am going to climb a mountain.
Update: On September 23, 2015 at about 12:30 pm, myself and two of my girlfriends hiked and summited Mt. Whitney. We beat the odds of 2:3 not making it to the top. ALL three of us made it. I cried my eyes out all the way to the top. It was the best goal I had ever accomplished and I felt liberated. It changed the trajectory of my life; I can do anything I put my mind too.