Resisting the Wind, Absorbing the Experience

Flattop Mountain [12,324'] in Rocky Mountain National Park
Flattop Mountain [12,324′] in Rocky Mountain National Park
Our latest outing took us back to Rocky Mountain National Park on a summiting adventure atop Flattop Mountain [12,324′]. Well equipped, we met nature head on as fierce winds were blowing off the peaks as if to say “try if you will human, but this place is for the determined only.” Determined we were…slowly, methodically and carefully we put one foot in front of the other and pressed on. Climbing ever higher, the energy release and altitude gain quickly reminded us where we were. But the reward today was not the destination, it was the trail, the many views…the energy of a raw and unrelenting nature that had welcomed us into its high alpine playground. Indeed, we were resisting the wind while absorbing the experience. We love hiking the Rocky Mountains, in any season, as they all hold unique opportunities to experience the beauty of Colorado.

See more photos from this latest outing on the MAD Hippies Facebook page.

Peace,

MAD 🙂

Two Places at the Same Time

Ever feel like you need to be in two places at the same time? Is it even remotely possible? This is not to say that we’re supposing time travel is possible in a Star Trek – beam me up Scottie type of thing [granted that would be nice at times]. Perhaps it’s just a metaphor we use when we find ourselves in one of life’s moments requiring to much of us. But why is it always a negative approach? Here’s a spin on the statements like this one that we often make when enduring such challenges. Oftentimes it seems we focus too much on the ugly side of the issue, focusing as it were on the unfavorable consequences and outcomes versus the possibilities of positive impact, even if difficulties still must be overcome in the process. Consider the statement “no pain, no gain.”

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[Trail to Mt Audubon, Indian Peaks Wilderness]

Hiking in the high country is a great way to provoke the mind and soul on such matters! Well, that and getting to see amazing views and making friends with the occasional marmot or chipmunk. But seriously, making a 2,500′ – 3,000′ ascent and summiting a mountain can try an individual not only physically, but mentally as well. It’s one thing to tackle 10,000′ but beyond that, there is a place that any hiker will tell you along the ascent above tree line the body begins to revolt and let you know it’s not happy with the current rigors its being put through, each person is different [thank G-d] and has their own breaking point. Ours just happens to be someplace between 12,000 and 12,500, attributable to raising teenagers one might say.

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[Alpine shelf just below Mt Audubon]

Our goals are often in front of us, seemingly always and relentlessly in front of us, as if running in the same race but keeping out in front egging us on to keep going with somewhat of a devilish grin you might wonder. But we keep on keeping on, what else are you going to do, quitting leaves you nowhere, continuing at least gives us hope. then it hits you, you’re being pulled in all directions, everyone and everything wants a piece of you and two hands, a few hours and what little sanity you have left aren’t cutting it [meltdown!]. The goal remains…

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[Alpine shelf just below Mt Audubon]

So here you sit, beaten to the core, spouting whatever “French” that comes to mind and regressing back to your childhood days of temper tantrums, or some silent version of it anyway. Standing in two places at one time [yes, it is possible] wondering which way is easier to go. Climbing a mountain is much like this if you’re not mentally prepared. You’ll definitely get to a point of exhaustion, a mental brick wall if you will. Close to the goal, yet the mind playing tricks on your determination. Here’s the twist. You stand in two places [mentally], albeit the same place [physically]. Who wins in your inner battle of whits? That’s up to you! Negativity creeps in and sells you a bill of goods like the devil on your shoulder. Does anyone pay attention to the angel on their other should though? This side of the situation speaks positives, you can go on and will be thankful you did. Looking back, looking forward, standing [or sitting] you know a move is coming.

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[Final few feet before the summit of Mt Audubon]

Thank G-d you got over the pity party, we normally do, eventually, at some point, before we’re dead…Alas, the goal is in sight. Hard work, our goals, might walk ahead of us egging us on, but in the end the payoff is so much better than if it all would have been simple and quick. Those methods leave us lazy and incompetent, whereas hard work and time build character, muscles [physically and mentally] and ready for more. It’s fine to be in two places at the same time. We get to take mental inventory, gather our thoughts and make better decisions. Sure we act goofy, downright insane at times, but that’s being human, that’s being normal, we all do it…generally with the curtains drawn and the TV turned up loud. In the end, it’s all good.

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[View from the summit of Mt Audubon 13,223′]

Ah, the summit, you made it. It was a long haul, there were some tense moments, but your here! Pat yourself on the back, take a long and well deserved break, and enjoy the incredible view. Look north, south, east and west…it’s so vast, it’s so beautiful. Then it hits you, there are many mountains, hills and an ever expanding horizon in all directions. This is indeed your life. You’ve been there and done that. Many of what you see you have been through, some you have yet to conquer. Does it look daunting, promising or just plain old mesmerizing? Stepping back and seeing life for what it is, instead of what it not [the man made simulations we stress over] on top of the world is a great place to start, you can do this, will do this and will again find yourself on another summit taking a break, wiping the sweat from your brow and enjoying another battle won. Just remember though, there are those days we don’t make it to the top, we need to stop, step back and return another day to try again. Hike on, peacefully 🙂

Go here to view more photos of our hike and ascent to Mt Audubon