Many talk about what they are going to do but there’s always some barrier (excuse) blocking their ability to accomplish their goals. This is a major pet peeve of mine, but it also plays into my personality. I’d rather remain silent and accomplish things rather than boast about them and never do them. To me, that’s embarrassing. For the past month I’ve been traveling a lot and away from my family. Anyone who knows me or has read my book, Blind Descent, knows that my family is everything. But life happens and since I have to be on the road I decided to create an adventure. I didn’t really tell anyone (other than JoAnna and a few friends), I just sat down and mapped out an ultra hike in the area I was going to be and then did it. I was working in Raleigh and potentially had a weekend to blow so I created a plan to hike the highest peak in the 4 surrounding states.
North Carolina – Mount Mitchell 6684′
Virginia – Mount Rogers 5729′
Kentucky – Black Mountain 4145′
Tennessee – Clingsman Dome 6643′
Originally I planned to hike 6 states but time didn’t work in my favor so I had a contingency plan. I’m pretty spoiled living in the Pacific Northwest with our amazing Cascades, but each part of the world has a unique beauty worth experiencing. I was happily surprised at the beauty of the mountains in this area. In 2 days I drove over 800 miles and hiked over 32 miles. Most of the high points are drivable with a lookout area, but that’s not how I roll. People looked at me like I was crazy as I ran the Appalachian Trail. I basically drove, ran the trails then drove to the next, etc. I slept in the back of my rental car at the base of Black Mountain in Kentucky, woke up and ran to the top to watch the sunrise through the dense trees. The summits themselves aren’t overly spectacular compared to some higher mountains I’ve climbed on the 7 continents, but the journey and experience was worth the effort. Plus one peak alone isn’t a challenge but compressing 4 in a weekend is rarely heard of. As I reached the top of Mount Rogers in Virginia some folks camping asked when I started. I let them know that I began the 6 mile trailhead a little over an hour ago but I had come from Raleigh earlier that morning and already hiked Mount Mitchell in North Carolina. They said, ‘you’re joking right?’
On Sunday I wrapped up my adventure with a 13 mile trail run up Clingsman Dome in Tennessee. After a little over an hour I breached the area where 99.99% of people drive to. Sweaty and happy I walked up the spiraling observatory to look out at the foggy Smokey Mountains. I overheard several people complaining about the struggle of the walk from the parking lot to the tower. Many kids never even noticed the view because they were walking with iPads covering their faces as they played video games. On one hand it’s great that they were out there rather than at home behind a TV, but on the other hand the parents weren’t setting a good example. I’m a big proponent of getting our kids outdoors to experience life. Put down the electronics and use their imaginations. Explore life, don’t just exist!
After a few minutes on top I ran the 6.5 miles down the windy road rather than the trail. As cars passed I stepped off the road to not annoy the drivers, but more importantly to not get hit by distracted drivers. In the end I succeeded in my adventure. I didn’t tell others what I was doing (other than my wife and a few friends), I just did it. To me, that’s living life to it’s fullest!
What have you been talking about doing? Life is precious, tomorrow may never come so start your adventure today!
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22