Almost to top of Haystack
I have been giving a lot of thought to my feelings after meeting my goal to climb the 46 Adirondack High Peaks. It was such an interesting time and in many ways, parallels some of my life’s experiences. Two years ago I joined the Tramp & Trail Club for a High Peaks weekend…and with much trembling and self doubt, agreed to join the group climbing 3 high peaks. I did not think I was capable; I wanted to turn back; and yet I kept going and surprised myself by completing the day’s climbs. The following year, at another high peaks weekend I still had serious reservations about my ability to climb Mt Colden – and then did it. After that, I went on and climbed a mountain here and a mountain there until all of a sudden I was describing myself as having “OCC” - Obsessive Climbing Compulsion!
I think the experiences in the rough time of my life when I found myself as a single Mom with 2 kids in school and a daughter on the West Coast in college and no income and no job skills parallels what I felt on my 46er journey. Full of self doubt, lacking any sort of self esteem and yet knowing there was no turning back forced me to go onward, to get my BA and then my MS - to provide for my girls. The stick-to-it and keep on going and not looking back habits that I developed in those earlier years definitely came in handy as I tackled the high peaks – most of them solo. There were days – many of them – when I looked at what I had planned out for myself to climb and it was simply overwhelming. It would have been so easy some days to say, “Turn back, Why are you doing this? This is really hard work!” So was raising three daughters on my own.
Ladder up to Basin
Just as it is rewarding to look at my three grown daughter s with love and admiration for what they are making of their lives, so it is rewarding to know that I could set a goal to become a 46er. I had to work away at the goal, break the goal into small manageable chunks, and then break the chunks down into, “I just need to get to that rock up ahead”, or “I just need to get to that cairn with the rusted bucket pieces on it” or, “I made it up that last mountain, I can make it up this one.” I had to keep my eyes on the goal and not on the many difficult steps it would take to get there, persevere when my legs were worn out and my feet just wanted to soak forever in a mountain stream and not put boots back on and keep on hiking 7 more miles…. Becoming a 46er is a lot like life…there were amazing points of exhilaration during the journey up and down the mountain trails…and some really difficult trails where I doubted I could go one step farther…Ups and downs, just like life - and the ups make it all worthwhile.