The concept of “grit” and “digging in” was the theme of my July/August article. Further inspired by this theme, I successfully hiked Mt. Whitney in one day this summer. This is the tallest mountain in the continental USA starting at an 8,000 ft. elevation and peaking at 14,505 over a total distance of 22 miles. Undoubtedly, it ranks as the most difficult physical challenge I have ever tackled. Upon returning home, I read that 70% of individuals who attempt to hike Mt. Whitney in one day are unsuccessful. The feat required physical conditioning, altitude exposure training, teamwork, a hefty dose of strong mental fortitude – and “grit.” There can be many life lessons taken from this experience. One of the most resonating and universal lessons I learned on the trail was this:
“The universe always places someone before you who is doing more and seemingly reaching greater heights.”
Before starting the most extensive hike to which I have ever committed, meeting Crazy Jack was my message from the universe. Jack Northam is a 66-year-old San Diego resident who has climbed Mt. Whitney 117 times. On some occasions he achieves what is called a “yo-yo” which means he hikes the trail two full times – a makeup of 44 miles. I met Crazy Jack the night before this Bucket List hike. From the moment I met him, to the next day hiking, I was in awe of his accomplishments. A deluge of thoughts flooded my consciousness: amazement, frustration and disbelief. I wondered how in the world he was able to do the hike twice in a day when it took me 15 hours to complete one ascent? After questioning his integrity, I realized the larger lesson. Instead of questioning Crazy Jack, or minimizing my own capabilities as compared to Jack’s more lofty accomplishment, I had to look at the inspiration of what is humanly possible not only for myself, but everyone around me.
Sometimes we can be so very hard on ourselves. We tend to use others as a measurement of our own capabilities. Regardless of what one accomplishes, there will always be greater achievements that “up the bar.” This is the universe’s way of inspiring us, not making us feel dejected or questioning our personal accomplishments.
Our wellness and highest level of radiant health can be achieved by setting a myriad of life goals such as weight loss, overcoming unhealthy habits, fitness challenges, and positive financial goals. As we navigate the roadmap of life, we will inevitably witness others who seem more self-actualized, having achieved something that we have not. This is our opportunity to thank the universe for the inspiration and ability to forge ahead to break barriers to achieve greater personal accomplishment.
Kudos to Crazy Jack for his inspiration and for encompassing the vision that life begins and ends on the trail. I’m certain my next adventure will surely unearth another superior adventurist to whom I can tip my hat in admiration and inspiration.