Over the last few weeks, I’ve tossed and turned in my head what I’m doing with my life, where I want to be, what my goals are, and all that other “life plan” type stuff. I came to a few conclusions; mainly that I don’t want to be a desk jockey, I want to stay in the outdoor industry, and I want to move west.
Ever since I got back from the AT, I’ve been craving to be back in the woods. When I climbed Mt. Washington last January, it was the first time I felt alive since I set foot on the AT. The fire in me roared to life and I felt real again. I haven’t been able to repeat that feeling since then. When I thought about doing Mt. Rainier, it provided some flame, but I know so many people that have done it, and having a junior guide work for you undermines the accomplishment. So Denali came to the light.
The bigger, more important conclusion that I came up with amongst all this thought is that, over my lifetime, I want to climb the Seven Summits (the highest peak in each of the seven continents). It’s an incredibly lofty goal, and just getting to them will be a challenge, let alone reaching the top of each successfully. However, I believe I’ve got the dedication and perseverance to make it happen. When I decided to do the AT, it wasn’t a magnanimous decision. Much like this, I woke up one day and thought, “This is what I want to do. This is something that fits me.” Then I saved and learned and researched and saved some more, and then I started walking. This time around though, I’m well aware that this is a much longer, more dangerous, and more detailed undertaking. One mountain at a time.
I mulled this newfound goal and all the hurdles for a few days before telling anyone. I’m not about to tell my mom, nor expand on that fact that climbing all seven is a feat that less than 500 people have accomplished. When I did at least reveal the idea of climbing Denali to her, besides a disapproving look, her first response was, “Why do you need to do that?” to which I responded, “Because it’s there.” Needless to say, that wasn’t good enough for her.