Braving the Mountain Rain

Getting caught in the rain often gives you time to think. And when you think, your mind starts wonder and wonder and wonder.

I was caught in the rain this past weekend up in the Adirondacks.  Time to think? Yes….there was plenty of that to go around.


I  rushed into the Adirondack Growl & Grub in Long Lake, finding a place to dry off out of the storm.  I was the only customer in there at the time because most people had already found shelter, and I, apparently, was the only crazy person driving in a torrential wind and rainstorm.

The owner and his wife asked what brought me to Long Lake on this blustery  weekend. My response was that the mountains always makes sense to me, when other things in my life are thrown off balance. It’s my safe haven. Rain, sunshine, snowstorms, fall days…every day is a serene day in the mountains regardless.

After some conversation, I had told them that I was training for a triathlon. They then if I was attempting the 46 peaks as well.

Yes. My answer was yes.

The owners were awesome, and their laughter was more about them than me. Explaining that they are locals and have only climbed a few peaks.  Desire to climb all of them?  Nope.

Then they asked me: Why did I decide to climb the 46 high peaks? Why a triathlon?

And my answer was this: to be brave.
I spent the majority of my life living in fear, that this had grown into a personal battle.

I know I write a lot of blogs about learning to be courageous, in spite of the fear that dwells within, but that is truly my truth.

Being brave. Not just one brave act. But fostering a life of bravery. Acknowledging the scared while cultivating the strong. Meeting life with courage, again and again and again, ultimately shrinks fear. Cultivate the strong.

That was my response. Which in turn, caused me to ponder why people choose what they do.  Why they choose what to work hard, what goals they set and what dreams they watch  come to fruition.

The owners were telling me about how their idea of a perfect time is sitting on the boat floating on Long Lake, enjoying the beautiful summer weather. And that is a good day.  Don’t get me wrong, this Long Island native sure loves her days gliding along on a kayak or time on the water.

But my journey is about something different. For some of us, we haven’t got it all figured out yet.

Maybe those that want nothing more than to relax in the sunshine and enjoy the passing of time have it all figured out.

Or maybe, that’s what their journeys were intended to be. Bravery is listening to your heart and acting on what makes you whole.

I thanked them for their gracious hospitality, delicious meal and Annie’s Imperial IPA, before running out to my truck and getting soaked to the bone.

I found a room at the Hoot Owl Lodge for the night (which was so lovely and worthy of a trip report of its own).


The next morning, in what started out as a light drizzle, I headed down the long, windy road to the Upper Works Trailhead. I was attempting to hike Mount Marshall.

This was a last minute trip, so I wasn’t entirely prepared to hike in the rain, but I figured, if it remained at a drizzle I would be fine!

So off I went…..and as it rained, the moments of wondering continued.

I began to think more about life and journeys.

The beauty about life is that each journey is unique to the person walking it…yes, at times our paths may criss-cross, or journeys carry similar threads woven through them…

There are no signs, such as these, pointing us in the absolute, right direction.


Instead, it is up to each of us to find our own way, often on paths that feel uncomfortable or unfamiliar. Muddy or messy.  Even some that drench you in downpours of pain.



And sometimes, being brave feels like:


But…at your most calm and centered state, the clouds lift and “the way” forward crispens with a truthful clarity. Trust in “the way”….

That’s not to say only those of us who have suffered hardships and pain have “better victories.” No one should want to glorify pain, just as no one wants to glorify victories either.

Bravery, to me, is humble. Proud, yes.. Boisterious, no.

So all of this climbing, training, running, hiking and so on, represents more than just a symbol of bravery.

It is so much more. My transformation towards bravery reminded me of what Eric Greitens says:
“It seems counterintuitive to apply pain to someone already in pain. But to change people, you usually have to challenge them.  Sometimes—not always, but sometimes—you fight fire with fire. You meet pain with pain. You give a challenge to someone who’s challenged, and he grows stronger.”

If you want change how you feel and who you want to be, you need to challenge yourself, even if pain still exists. Fight fire with fire. Meet pain with pain. The physical pain felt from training for the triathlon and attempting to climb the 46 high peaks, met the emotional pain I was battling within.

Like roaring rushing waters….


These are the longing thoughts that swirled through my mind, as the rain continued to grow in magnitude. I was about 3 miles into the hike before I Was forced to turn around.

I’ve never abandoned a climb before, but I was literally full of water everywhere! My raincoat was weathering the storm ok, but I didn’t have my pack cover and my boots were overflowing in buckets! Socks drenched, leggings drenched, hair drenched.

 

 

I love hiking in the rain, but alas, I called it a day as I ran the 3 miles back to the parking lot.

Bravery…is sometimes knowing that you’ll fail from time to time on your path to victory. The willingness to challenge yourself, even when you don’t have it all figured out, is your catalyst for growth. Cultivate the strong with intention each time, and you will rise to rebuild again.

The mountains:


The training and races:


The peace and reflection:


All of it…all of it contributes to my journey with bravery.   I wish you a journey full of whatever it is your heart whispers, your truth speaks, and your mind achieves….toward your own personal victories.

Be brave and rise,

J

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s