Have you ever been in a rut that forces you to say no to everything? A rut that makes you back out of plans when the logistics seem too complicated or when you envision yourself being way too tired? A rut that kills the thing in you that fuels your sense of adventure?
Sure, I talk “adventure” here all the time, but in reality this blog is the thing that holds me accountable to my “adventurousness.” I hate to admit it, but my dark side is the side of me that backs out to take the easy route. No, not the easy route – the “sensible” route. But I ask you – me actually – how many once-in-a-lifetime moments have I seared into my memory thanks to taking the “sensible” route? Not many. It’s stupid, but I do it and I bet you do to0.
I was right smack in the middle of one of those ruts when I realized it was way too late to back out of hiking up Mount Washington. Yeah, Mount friggin’ Washington. The highest peak in New England. My preparation for the hike at that point was a couple of easy strolls up the Blue Hills within the past year or so. But my brother-in-law, Grayson, heard that me and Mike wanted to become an “active couple” and “start hiking” and he made it happen.
Despite a flurry of emails offering tips, recommendations and overall enthusiasm in the weeks leading up to the trip, I kept looking ahead to the day with dread. Not because I didn’t want to go, but because I let my schedule take precedence over actually getting in shape for the climb. So, on one pitch black Saturday morning in late October, me, Mike, Grayson and my sister Jenny hit the road at 4:00 a.m.
When we arrived at the bottom of Mount Washington and prepared for the hike to the top, we discovered that the early stages were merely a “hike.” And it was lovely…
It wasn’t until we took our first rest at the bottom of the mountain, with a perfect view of the “bowl,” or Tuckerman Ravine, when we realized that our journey had only just begun.
Soon we found ourselves not hiking, but literally climbing up the mountain, grasping for rocks that we prayed were sturdy enough to stay lodged into the earth and not send us tumbling.
Then, finally, after four grueling hours we made it to the top.
We ate a quick lunch in the cafeteria and then, thanks to these frequent rock piles, which marked our trail, we were off…
…and got to take in some of gorgeous views along the way.
We made it back down in a little less than four hours, rounding out an 8 hour day of climbing. It was tough, but we did it.
Now, the next time I’m in a rut I have my trip up to New Hampshire to look back on. If I can climb Mount Washington, I can do anything.