The Mountains are Calling
THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING
"The mountains are calling and I must go and I will work on while I can, studying incessantly.” John Muir
In my late twenties, I began hiking and climbing in the Sierra Nevada. I wanted to follow in John Muir and Ansel Adam's footsteps. However, I had never been camping or even hiking in my life. I learned about backpacking in the Sierra Club's Wilderness Travel Course. I loved it so much I decided I wanted to become a mountaineer. Within the first two years, I had summited Lone Pine Peak, Popocatapetl, Iztacchihuatl, and Citlatlapetl, Mount Shasta via the Hotlum-Bolum ridge, and Mt Whitney by the east face-a 28 pitch vertical rock climb among many others.
On my first day hike ever, I started out with a pack full of extraneous stuff like guide books, extra clothes, multiple multi-tools, Power Bars, and a huge first aid kit. I carried way too much and suffered for it. By the time I was guiding for Colorado Outward Bound School I was confident enough to make the most of the bare minimum and even relied on finding food in my environment. I slept outside without a tent-sometimes in the snow. It definitely kept things simple and it taught me to be smart about planning. I quickly learned to focus on the important things like the beauty of the changing light on the craggy peaks or the delicate frost on a field of Columbine.
During this time in my life, I learned to get out of my comfort zone to find purpose and set new goals. In order to do this, I had to break through low self-confidence and concern about other's opinions. It was the first time I had pushed myself beyond my safe, low-risk life. Once again it's time for me to move beyond the fear zone and push into the growth zone.