One of our biggest, or should I say the biggest adventure of our time (always too short) in Colorado this year was hiking to the summit of Pole Creek Mountain, a beautiful unique mountain in the San Juan Mountain Range. When we speak of the incredible view we have from the cabin, this is the very mountain we are referring to, but really…it is just the beginning of the beauty that surrounds us! I have been to this area since before I was born (if we want to count that). After all my time in Colorado, even after spending the last 2 summers in the presence of this mountain, this was my first time to the very top! I have hiked and rode horses on Pole Creek Mountain many times but have never been to the summit… the tippy top! Now that I have done it, I would really like to do this hike again in the future and even better would be with my husband along! He would love it I am positive… and I intend to sign in on that ledger once again!
On this particular day, the hiking crew consisted of my dad, brother, sister and I, and what a wonderful day we had together. It was full of adventure, beauty, thrill, dare, challenge and just pain fun! We crossed quite a bit of snow once we got above tree line (often as deep as our hips) and a snow bridge over fast-moving water which was quite thrilling, especially for my brother that broke it on the way back! Yikes! He recovered well and stayed safe and dry. The whole hike had beautiful views but the top was absolutely breathtaking and I did not want to come down for a long time. The weather was super too which only helps! I have not organized all my pictures yet but there are some below for you to check out! If I get around to it I have a few others that show the summit well.
On a deeper note… as there is always some kind of lesson in things (at least for me) as I/we were while hiking along, one step at a time, I had a lot of time to think! There was plenty of time to talk myself out of the hike if I had wanted to, but I had already made up my mind that I was “going to make it” before we even started out that day. There were however a few factors working (or trying to work) against me on this particular day…
- The hike itself, the terrain, snow and all that if we want to count that but it was well within my ability I believe – I mean, I made it after all!
- The altitude which can be a challenge before and even after proper “acclimation”. You see, I had arrived to the cabin just 3 days before (from sea-level) but I had decided before I even left Florida that the altitude was not going to defeat me no matter what adventures we got into.
- The non-joys of the dreaded “monthly cycle”… (yeah I know, too much information for you and I apologize) of which for me is hardly even tolerable… I mean it is rare that I would normally be able to get out and walk a few steps, let alone hike all day… but again, I had already made up my mind that this would not ruin my week or any activity I wanted to accomplish.
- My hiking gear consisted of my hiking shoes, camelback (which I have had since I was in highschool), a windbreaker/rain shield, sunglasses we found on the side of the river the day before, my mom’s pink hat she insisted I take, and my headlamp incase it got dark… no hiking boots, gaiters, fancy gear or equipment… but I guess it is my style though and I like it, and it has worked so far!
- Half of me was missing – My husband did not get to come along which was sad. I operate the best with him around!
I had decided that it would not be a physical limitation (which really means mental I think) that would prevent me from reaching the top… it would be due to weather or impossible route or the like. All that may be odd, to you, but it works for me and it helped me on that day. What I am getting at is that if I do not fill my head with undesirable thoughts or outcomes, I will have so much more room for excitement and be able to more clearly see the beauty and greatness in a day or activity. Because I was not focused on how much hiking we had left, how tired my legs felt, my breathing or all the excuses I could have had to disqualify me for the hike I was free to just enjoy! There were times I had thoughts enter my head about being tired for example but the faster I excused them, the sooner the enjoyment would come back! I was able to dream of what adventure could be next rather than when the current one would end. I also knew I could do it which also helps because I never questioned if I would be able “to make it” or not. I make the hike sound so hard but it really was not bad… I can just see how if I would have been exhausted in my mind it would have worn me out physically too… I still had some energy to spare when we got home after our 3,500 elevation gain!
Although the hike was challenging for me, I know that I want to continue doing this… not just for the current trip but in the years and years to come. I don’t see a line in my life that I will cross that would disqualify me from adventure. My dad is someone who I look up to because I admire that he is still out doing things like this – planning and executing adventures… engaging in physical activity, adventure beyond the normal Joe. He has enough aches, pains, tears and patches to disqualify himself years ago from many things he still does… but he still presses on because he knows that the benefit he gets from his activity outweighs the pain that he feels. He is not one to accept that he is just “too old” to do this or that and quit. I am so thankful that he is able to get out and enjoy life. There are so many people his age (even younger) that cannot fully enjoy life because they have deemed themselves “too old for that”… I know people my age that make comments like that too and it makes me sad! I think about how many years I have left to live and enjoy and I want to enjoy them fully! I do not plan on excusing myself anytime soon.
Take this as an encouragement for you to strive in whatever stage of life you are in and don’t accept defeat… always at least try! Defeat happens, but moreso when you do not try or give up before something is over. I’m not saying you have to summit mountains for adventure or to avoid defeat. Come up with your own adventures and always try – give it your best. You never really know the outcome of something unless you don’t try! If you don’t at least try, the outcome is already lined out for you.
Have a great day and keep it up!