Opportunities to continue the climb
This is not the blog I expected to write. The events of this past week have shaped a new topic that I am only beginning to explore – recognizing and grabbing hold of opportunities when they present themselves. And, they do…every day! For regular readers of this blog, you know that my personal exploration often happens as I write…right here, on this blog, before your very eyes. So bare with me.
This past week has been one of incredible opportunity. Opportunity for awareness, for healing, for health, and for personal growth. How lucky I am to be presented with so many opportunities (perhaps formerly viewed as challenges) and to be open to them — able to grab hold even when I am not sure what will happen next or what I will find at the top. As you may know, my personal journey has been about climbing mountains, literally and figuratively. This week I did both!
The climb to the top
On Independence Day, I completed my first climb to the summit of Carlton Peak on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Some of you have perhaps climbed it on vacation. For me, it was a milestone.
The peak is part of the Superior Hiking Trail and, in my bold assertion that I am now a hiker, I added the goal of hiking the entire 277 Superior Hiking Trail to my bucket list. While I have climbed Oberg Mountain 6-7x (thank you FN), this was the first for Carlton.The hike is not that long, but it ascends rather steeply and then offers a steep scramble up a rock to the summit where the views are definitely worth it.
My Mom went with me on the hike part way and then stayed back while I climbed up to the peak. She was a real trooper to do as much of the hike as she did. Since Mom was waiting, I hauled it as the mountain ascended, rarely stopping to take photos (kept hearing Leif telling me to keep movin’). As a rookie hiker, I neglected to bring the water bottle or the trail map – and for those of you that know me well, I am EXTREMELY directional challenged. Turns out, even on the Superior Hiking Trail you are given options of trails and you have to make choices. I usually make the wrong one.
It was a warm, sunny day and by the time I got to the Britton Peak overlook, I was hot and tired but I made good time, got some great photos from the overlook, and stopped long enough to truly embrace the accomplishment — both getting here today and getting to the -130 lb mark from what I weighed about 7 months ago.
I thought I was at the top of the mountain when I saw a sign and the steep climb up a boulder to the actual peak. I was nervous about the climb up the steep rock by myself, without water, but how could I come this far and not get there?! There was no question I was doing it. So up I went. And, as I climbed that rock with not much to hang on to, I tossed up a little a prayer (or more like a plea): “I could use a little help here!”
Once past the steep rock, there were more trail choices and a bit more climb. Now, I was really wishing I had my water. As I looked to my left, I heard voices. Three handsome young gentleman were sitting on the edge of a rock taking in the view (good thing I didn’t take off my shirt and make the climb in my sports bra – which I had considered). One of the young men jumped up and asked if he could help as he heard my heavy breathing recovering from the climb. He immediately asked my name, told me his, and offered to show me the way to the summit (it was apparently only 100 feet away!). While there, I told him my story and he told me his — he and his buddies were all in seminary school studying to be teachers. He was at Saint Thomas seminary. Prayer answered. This time in the form of three nice young men perfectly suited to assist me. How cool is that?!
Paul and his friends offered their water. I took their photo on the summit. And then they led me down off the mountain, including helping me over the steep descent down the slippery rock, where yes indeed I fell and practically knock Paul off the mountain! He grabbed my camera and my hand, and they all helped me down. (Just a bit embarrassing.) Despite my urging for Paul to join his friends and let me hike the trail back to Mom at my, now slower, pace, he stayed with me. We had a great talk along the way — what an incredible person. When we rejoined his friends, they offered more water, and got me safely back to the log where my Mom was just thrilled to have greeted each and every one of the runners and walkers in the Tofte Trek 10k that passed by her on the trail while I was climbing my mountain.
So there you have it. I was presented with an opportunity to climb another mountain on my way to realizing the opportunity for greater health. The feeling of accomplishment was huge, and the new relationship with my “mountain saviors,” priceless. Paul and his friends were just what I needed, when I needed it, to get to the top. My prayer was answered.
That day, Mom and I spent the afternoon with my work colleagues and friends from Tofte at the community parade and festival, and then later at the amazing fireworks display over the lake by Bluefin Bay. (I LOVE fireworks!) I saw everyone from the community that I know – my extended North Shore family — and many people from the Twin Cities who were up vacationing. All, were incredibly complimentary and reinforcing of my progress to date. It made me feel so great and re-energized. Another incredible gift.
The lesson here. Most people are totally amazing human beings and will support you when you are open to it and allow them in. I have so many “lions” with me on this journey, I feel just incredibly blessed. The gratitude I have today for where I am is overwhelming. And the lessons from the opportunities are just beginning. I will close this blog and finish part 2 – Opportunities for healing and renewal — in the next one. Stay tuned!
“I am so grateful that the universe will thrill me with magnificent surprises today.”