Coffee heat rising

Life Lessons from the Mountain

w00t! Amazing!

Yesterday I decided to start anew on the ever-flagging effort to get off my ever-enlarging fanny and lose some weight. On the way home from class, I went over to Shaw Butte to start what I hope will be at least three days a week of climbing. To my delight, they have not yet started charging people to park at the trailhead (otherwise I’d have had to drive around the corner and leave my car in a grocery-store parking lot), and better yet, no one was there!

These vertical gyms are usually packed, so it’s mighty nice to start up the trail and be greeted by silence and a watching cottontail.

I didn’t figure I’d make it to the top the first time out. Nowhere near, come to think of it: Shaw Butte has some pretty steep stretches, even on its relatively gentle north side. So the plan was to walk about a third of the way up the first day, stopping at a little scenic perch where you can peer off the south side. Do that two days in a row; then the third day go about halfway up. Two days in a row of that; then on the fifth day hike about three-fourths of the way. And on the seventh day, to rest not but go all the way to the top.

Well. The scenic step-out was a great deal further up than I recalled, and the climb a great deal less strenuous. In fact, you don’t reach the lookover until you’re just below the last stretch below the summit.

About halfway up, I figured oh, what the hell, I’m not that tired, and kept walking. Two-thirds of the way, I could see where the overlook is and thought oh, what the hell and kept walking. At the overlook, I realized it was really only another few steps to the top and thought oh, what the hell and kept walking.

Whoa! Can you believe it? I made it all the way to the top on the first day!!!!!!!

True, I had to stop several times on the way. Quite a few several times…drank about 16 ounces of water in the process. And true, I used to be able to get up there without stopping at all. But it’s been years since I’ve climbed anything more interesting that a couple flights of steps. In fact, I hardly get up from the desk, ever—I spend 12 to 14 hours a day parked in front of a computer. That’s why I look like I’m about five months pregnant.

I figure it will take about three months to lose ten pounds, assuming I don’t diet (which I hate and which I will not stick with) but do knock off the sauce (again :roll:). I’ll never be my old sylph-like self, but that’s just as well because I can’t afford to buy a closet-full of new Costco  jeans.

It was really exciting to succeed in doing that. On the way down the trail, it occurred to me that there are some larger life lessons in this small adventure, life lessons that apply in general to work and saving and debt escape and self-improvement in general.


You probably can do better than you think you can.

When you start a project, stack the deck in your favor. (In this case, I brought a lot of water, chose a cool day to hike, and picked a time when only about three hours of work remained to be done that day.)

Setting a goal helps you go further.

The only one you’re in competition with is yourself.

Once you meet a goal, keep going.

But if you know, realistically, that the pursuit is harming you, stop and find something else to do, without feeling guilty about it.

Life is short. Eternity is long. Do it now.

Bunny rabbit photo: Desert cottontail. HowchengCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.
Photos of North Mountain Park by SDXB.

6 thoughts on “Life Lessons from the Mountain”

  1. Well done on a brilliant start. I too could do with losing about ten pounds but find it so hard to get the time, energy or motivation to take some exercise. The idea of stacking the odds in one’s favour is a good one.

  2. Hiking is certainly fun. I bagged 41 of the 52(53) 14ers in Colorado and my knees are paying for it know.

    I prefer swimming now.

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