Two summers ago, I decided to climb Cucamonga Peak by myself because I needed space from myself. I was dating two great guys at the time (one of which is now my husband), and I grew tired of the constant juggle. I was experiencing dating burnout, and I needed a healthy outlet to just be outside my head for a while. To quiet my monkey mind, I came up with two strategies. I could either a) sit still and meditate or b) hike 12 grueling miles and not die doing it.
People climb mountains for personal reasons. Some climb for the physical challenge, some do it to celebrate or honor a loved one who passed, while others climb to find out what they’re made of. For me, it was to escape my first world dating dilemmas.
It was exactly what I needed.
I was too busy huffing and puffing and enjoying the scenery along the way to focus on my love triangle slowly unfolding 8,000 ft below. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the trail doesn’t care about who I am in real life, and it certainly doesn’t care about the bullshit I bring along. Regardless of how I feel about it, the peak will still be X amount of miles away. I can complain about my shoulders aching, my calves burning, the weather being too hot, and/or the never-ending switchbacks I still have to climb… but it doesn’t matter. The trail is the trail is the trail. My whining will not magically shorten the distance I have to hike or the eliminate the elevation gain I have to conquer. It is what it is, so I have to accept it, because the only way out is through.
I’ve been hooked ever since, so much so that I’m planning to summit Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro for my 29th birthday and trek Patagonia’s Torres Del Paine for my 30th!
This simple answer of literally putting one foot in front of the other over and over and over and over again to reach the top was profound. It’s that simple, and it’s that difficult. Of course I knew this logically, but now I know it emotionally.
Tiny step + tiny step + tiny step + tiny step (over time) = reaching the peak/summit.
Isn’t this formula what life is about?