I came to Vermont back in 1967 because I just plain fell in love with the Green Mountains. Once I started hiking the lush rolling hills and experiencing the breathtaking vistas I was hooked for life. This 50-year love affair with Vermont has endured and my strong attraction to this special place keeps growing. Even though I was not born here, it seems that I am destined to live surrounded by the beauty and challenges within the shadows of primitive mountains like Camel’s Hump and Mount Mansfield.
Over time I have hiked most of the Green Mountains and eventually became a proud member of the Green Mountain Club. For over 100 years, this organization has supported the rustic trail system traversing the state. I have walked many sections of the Long Trail and it is my goal to become an “end-to-ender” in retirement.
One of the greatest benefits I find in hiking is what I call the “drawing inward” that it brings. When I hit that challenging wall of my physical limits I focus on my inner thoughts and strengths to work through the discomfort. Frequently this happens about half way through steep hikes on the higher peaks. I experienced this yet again when I recently introduced high peak hiking to my 8-year-old grandson.
Drawing on inner strength is the best way to chart a path to the top.
It all started a few years ago when Jacob announced he wanted to hike up Camels Hump which, at a little over 4,000 feet, is a fairly challenging peak for most adults. Each time he travelled to Vermont from his home in Maine he would look at this alluring peak and talk about hiking to the top. Once we realized he really was serious about this venture, the family reluctantly decided to give it a try. I was chosen to be the guide. Thinking about the difficulty of this climb, I fully expected our trip would end up with a partial ascent. His parents thought that multiple attempts may be required before he could build up the stamina to make it to the top.
Surprisingly, we went all the way the first time, but not without several stops to determine Jacob’s level of interest in pushing forward. To my surprise, he refused to give up and eventually broke through his fatigue. I was delighted to witness the joyous reaction to seeing his first 360 degree view of “The Greens”.
I have often thought of these challenging experiences as I work though difficult projects or business relationships that are a part of the technology management business. I have found that if I show enough persistence by drawing on my inner strength and work out the best path forward, there are some wonderful successes at the top. In the end, we have but one integrated life to live. The lessons we learn transfer freely among all of our challenging activities–whether at work or on a mountain peak with the next generation of leaders.