Milepost 7-7-14 McKinley Park, Alaska
“Climbing a mountain” is a figurative expression that is used to acknowledge the presence of a monumental challenge, something that we know will be difficult. It could be something like pursuing a college degree or quitting smoking or any of a thousand other tough quests.
For us three years ago, it was the process of downsizing and moving out of our house of 40 years so we could move into an RV and pursue life on the road. It was truly monumental.
But yesterday, “climbing a mountain” was not figurative language for me but an actual event. After a couple weeks of consideration and a practice run at it, I took on the challenge of the difficult hiking trail to the Mt. Healy Overlook. A week before, I had hiked the first half of it then turned back, deciding it was too strenuous. Finally, I was able to view the first attempt as conditioning for yesterday’s ultimate climb. And it worked; I made it to the top, a vertical climb of 1,700 feet over 2.3 miles! In fact, I cut a bit of time off the predicted duration of 4 to 5 hours for the round trip.
Arriving back in the canyon in the late afternoon, I went to see Scott at Denali Adventure Tours to update him on the details of the climb (Yes, I decided that the steep trail would be more accurately described as a “climb” rather than a hike). That’s when I discovered that my first information ranking the difficulty of the climb as “moderate” was bad intel. Sure enough, Scott’s vast encyclopedia of adventure knowledge pegged that trail as “strenuous”. Now I could believe that!
As I had been scrambling over large boulders on the upper slopes I had heard myself grumbling under my breath about the guy who must have ranked the trail without ever climbing it. “Only a 16-year-old athlete would call this a “moderate” hike!” I fumed.
In terms of “Climbing a mountain”, this one was the real thing! The truth is, I would definitely not have taken on that climb if I had known up front what a grueling challenge I was in for. But now that I’ve done it, I’m happy about it… and happy to still be alive!
Here are more photos of my adventure:
What is your next mountain that needs climbing?