I’ll be honest – I started out this summer with a lot of nerves. When there is a bunch of unknowns out there, one tends to make up scenarios in your head about what could happen (I think I’ve shared some of those qualms here before). Will we actually summit anything? Will we get stuck in the middle of nowhere and have to be evacuated? How do I keep Randy or Quinn from slipping on the mossy rocks? Do people think we’re insane?
Now, as we prep for Mt Pierce, I feel surprisingly calm. I think it’s because I’m confident in the people around us and in Quinn and Randy’s techniques. The amount of strength in Randy, Quinn, and in our entire team astounds me.
Having never hiked with Randy, Quinn, or the team before May of this year, I am amazed at the differences between then and now. My two favorite moments from this summer encapsulate my pride in that strength:
-The conversation at Lake of the Clouds where we decided it was too risky to descend Mt Washington – on that hike, I witnessed Randy admitting he couldn’t do something for the good of himself and for the good of the team. Also, the group became stronger by being smart and by honestly looking at our limitations.
-Attending to Randy’s two injuries just below Mt Field - the team reacted super quickly to a bit of gore and bruising and each person took a unique role to ensure we had a safe hike down. We learned urgency, safety, first aid skills, and teamwork here.
So this is what I come away with at the end of the season:
I am amazed at the strength and determination in our team, in the hikers, and the friends we have had along the way.
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and hike with people who carry extra gear, who wait patiently around the next bend, who brainstorm solutions for the challenges we are facing. These are the kinds of people who put the mission before themselves – through patience and kindness. I can’t thank you all enough.
Yes, we have a few more mountains to climb! Mt Pierce should be a great celebration of our accomplishments and strengths from this summer and I am looking forward to welcoming some new hikers to our team this weekend. I’m sure we haven’t seen even a portion of the challenges on the other peaks that lie ahead - after Pierce, more await us next summer in terms of weather, potential injuries, and rocky trails.
Will these things worry me as they did this summer?
Yes…but thankfully, not quite nearly as much as before!