For as long as I can remember I have desired to increase the amount of control I have over what happens around me. Sometimes, not getting what I wanted hurt (like when my mom gave away our puppy when I was in 5th grade) and sometimes it wasn't so bad (like the time in high school when I tried out for the premier choir that all of my siblings belonged to and I didn't make it). Control for most of us encompasses our lives.
The packs we carried weighed about 60 pounds. Mulitply that times hiking several miles per day and you may begin to understand the pain and soreness that was involved for me in choosing this job. In the beginning, it took all my energy just to endure and my mind was focused on just making it to the next water stop. With time and continued exercise, my muscles built up and my enduring turned to enjoyment.
This photo shows me and some of my boys during 3 Peak Week. We climbed three mountains and hiked 50 miles in 7 days. You'll notice the snow on the ground. It's not easy to hike with unsure footing and sinking into the trail. It took hours to reach the top. On this day, the weather changed in an instant. The boy in the middle was hit by lightening (it hit/burned the top of his ear and turned it a chalky white - he's dark skinned). We slid down that mountain in a matter of minutes. It's amazing how fast we come down when we realize how little control of a situation we have.
I found a love of the outdoors and the night sky in the valleys of the Wah Wah mountains. I found untapped reserves of physical and emotional energy that I didn't know existed. I learned to build fires with a stick and a bow. I got excited for the simple treaures like a hot shower and cheeseburger when my shift ended. I proved to myself that though I don't choose what happens to me, I can choose how I respond to my challenges.