I made it past 600 miles in one month and one week. The mountain forces life lessons upon me each day. In the real world, you can choose to run away from these lessons if they get too painful or uneasy. Here you can't. You learn lessons quickly or you crumble.
The first time I actually got lost on the Pacific Crest Trail was May 10 at 8:30 a.m.. I walked straight past the carved out dirt, as it curved around a switchback, that I didn't see out of my peripheral vision.
I ended up at a 90 degree angle on the side of the San Gabriel Mountain near Wrightwood, California. I thought, "the trail isn't usually this step nor uncarved."
Thankfully, this mistake only lasted a second. I backtracked and got back on-track as I continued to climb up to the summit of Baden Powell.
Mount Baden Powell is the highest point we've climbed so far at 9,360 feet. In just four miles, you switchback several times to hike up 2,800 feet.
Lord Baden-Powell was the founder of the Boy Scouts. The premise of the group is to teach life and wilderness skills and in return earn badges.
I've waited to write this post for two weeks.
I have three half-brothers, all under the ages of 14 years old. Teddy, Jack and Will live in Little Rock, Arkansas with my dad and step-mom. They are all Boy Scouts working on their badges. Since I only see them once a year, there are life lessons I yearn to teach them, but I am unable to. Lessons that only an older sister can teach.
The lessons the mountain has taught me that I want to pass along are as follows:
1) No matter how sick you are of ascending up a mountain, the mountain is relentless and doesn't cave to pity parties. The moment you choose to say to yourself "I don't want to do this, this sucks," is the moment you go around a ridge and must use your thighs to climb 600 more feet. There's no getting out of it.
2) The words you speak come true. If you don't mean it, don't say it. If you don't want it to happen, don't joke about it. Mean what you say and only speak what you mean.
3) You can't change it, so don't complain about it. Don't look at statistics on paper. Just go do it. This is why I don't look at the stats each morning on how many hundreds of feet we are going up or down. I also don't want to know how many miles I've hiked until the end of the day. It's a mental game for me. Does it really matter how many miles you climb? It doesn't change the trail.
4) When push comes to shove, use all your force and push on. I constantly tell myself, "complaining doesn't change anything." The moment you start complaining or hating what you're doing, it takes five times as long and five times more effort.
5) Ultimately, the best lesson of all--- if you want it, no matter how daring "it" is, go for "it". When everyone tells you "no" or questions how hard and how much of a detour it will take you on, don't listen.
Dr. Wayne Dyer wrote in his book Pulling Your Own Strings, "to live your life the way you choose, you have to be a bit rebellious. You have to be willing to stand up for yourself. You might have to be a bit disturbing to those who have strong interests in controlling your behavior- but if you're willing, you'll find that being your own person, not letting others do your thinking for you, is a joyful, worthy, and absolutely fulfilling way to live."
Once I made it to the peak of Mount Baden Powell, the "Wally" Waldron Tree stood in front of me overlooking the most breathtaking 360 degree view. The tree is estimated to be 1,500 years old and is dedicated to the former executive board member of the Los Angeles Boy Scouts.
As for Teddy, Jack and Will, I will always love you, protect you and stand by your side. Scout's honor.