Friday, July 19, 2013

The Alps of America

Wanted to share a few pics from the drive up Slate Peak and Hart's Pass, plus the last hike up Sahale Mountain with Adam.  The North Cascades are too cool.  If you haven't been, go!


Monday, July 15, 2013

It can happen

I'm sitting on the train out of Seattle, heading south to Portland to head east to Maine...I should be home in around 24 hours from now. Let the fun begin...

Anyways, now that I'm giving an effort to writing this blog, I find myself thinking about what I should blog about, and if it really means anything to anyone.  Like I've said before, I have no amazing insights to life that are unique. There are too many amazing people out the in the world who have way more experience than I do and can really see things for their simplest parts.

What I do know though is the past three weeks have been pure bliss.  I mean seriously, there have been but few moments where I wasn't completely present and immersed in what I was doing. The whole thing just got better and better. But wait! It's not over yet! I can chose to live this way all the time, right? Okay, maybe I need to work, have health insurance and have a roof over my head (sometimes), but really, the way I've felt on this vacation does not have to end when the wheels touch down on the east coast tomorrow.

There were a few themes that kept coming up over the past few weeks and I think they helped me maximize my fun out here but can also help maximize fun in life in general!

Now these two ideas are certainly not new. Not at all. And they can potentially seem conflicting, but I'll try to do my best to explain how I utilize them.

First, be deliberate. Deliberate in your thoughts, deliberate in your words and deliberate in your actions.  It's your choice, but turn those positive thoughts into powerful, positive actions. If you have a hard time not letting your mind run wild with self-doubt, start small. Say to yourself, "I'm going to wake up tomorrow and drink a glass of water before I do anything else." Do you know how much drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning can do for you? If I had to take an uneducated but reasonable guess, I'd say 99.99% of us go through life dehydrated. It's a simple thing you can do to improve your mood, eat less food and generally be in better spirits. Drink water. Start simple, be deliberate.

Now here's where this might get confusing to some...don't be outcome oriented. I don't mean blow off drinking that glass of water, but don't stress too much if you miss a green light, or someone cancels on you for dinner, or the back country camping permit you were really hoping for went to somebody else right before you got to the ranger station (might have happened to me and it worked out beautifully)...It all just means that something else will come of it, and if you can deliberately choose to be open to outcome, then everything will go your way because you're not outcome oriented! Does that make sense?

What it really comes down to for me is control the controllables and let go of everything else. The less you're focused on the destination and more on the journey is when things start getting really good.

Make your life, but don't jump the tracks if it all goes haywire because it probably will from time to time...Choose to be strong and don't forget to let others help you along the way when you can't get there yourself.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment if you're so inclined!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Some pics from the trip this far

So I rolled into Leavenworth late last night thanks to Greyhound and Amtrak to meet up with one of the greatest, Dave Heinbach.  DH and I hadn't seen each other in 12 years, and despite both of us living through some serious life, it hardly seemed like a day had passed.  We woke this morning, got in a few pitches before the heat was too much, then went for a very refreshing swim in the Wenatchee River that runs right through town.  Perfect start to the end of my trip.  I'll be here for a week and then work my way back to Maine.  Weather looks pristine so I know we'll get out into the mountains as much as possible in our given time.  Figured I should post up some photos of my travels thus far to provide some good eye candy for those of you vacillating about a trip to the Pacific Northwest...just go already! It's amazing here!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The power of choice

This trip has been an absolute blast so far.  I've seen old friends, made new ones, swam in the Pacific and high alpine lakes beneath huge volcanic peaks, climbed at Smith Rocks and now I'm enjoying a refreshing iced coffee before heading up to Devil's Lake for an afternoon swim with my sights on climbing South Sister tomorrow.  The weather here in Bend is hot, but the river that runs through town has provided ample opportunities to cool off.

I headed into the Mt Jefferson Wilderness this past weekend and got into thinking about why I'm blogging. These days it seems like everyone has a blog. Without much scientific research (read: none at all) I can find a blog for anything, from how to make interesting things out of old shoe strings to stories of people's opinions on local politics, and building aluminum can sculptures to sharing the day to day experiences of life...

I'm starting to think that this blog is going to have something for everyone, beautiful photos (hopefully), travelogues and most importantly, thoughts on living deliberately. As a young(ish) cancer survivor, I also hope to provide hope to those who need it.  After my diagnosis and my amazing opportunity to be a part of the Colon Club's Colondar, I've received emails and Facebook messages from people around the country who have been affected by cancer or have loved ones that have been affected.  They've been gracious enough to share their stories with me and thankful to see positive outcomes from what is absolutely a 100% life changer. 

Everyday, I'm grateful and feel sooooo lucky. My cancer was stage one, it didn't metastasize anywhere and I didn't have to endure chemo or radiation.  Many others aren't so lucky. I've lost friends and loved ones to cancer. It sucks. However, everyday we wake up and have a choice.  Not everyone is going to like hearing this, but we can choose happiness, sadness, eagerness, anxiousness, fear, love, hopelessness or optimism.  I'm currently reading Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now," and it's powerful. EVERYONE should read it. Ultimately there is nothing but the now.  We have to make sure we're making the most of it because it's all we have and who knows for how long we'll have it...

So here's my insight for today: whatever makes you happy, do it. If its flying a kite, or knitting a sweater or going for a run, or playing with your kids, just do it.  You'll be happy.  And when you're happy it will make others happy.  No one I know encounters angry people and afterward says, "Wow! That was awesome! I wish I could deal with angry people everyday!" Angry people use their anger to mask their pain.  I believe happiness is a great natural remedy for a lot of pain in the world, so choose happiness, be nice, and don't mess with the people who serve your food :-)

I'm off to do what makes me happy--heading into the mountains!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Two years ago today...

I was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of, I'm in Portland, Oregon getting ready to head into the hills with friends. For those that know me and have helped me weather this storm, I am forever indebted. 
I always think I should have some incredible insights and poignant observations about life and what it all means, but these past two years have taught me that I don't know much at all. There are no certainties in life. I do know this though...Give it your all. Too many opportunities pass us by without much recognition on our part other than, "That would be such a cool thing to do," or "Wow, I wish I could doing that." Well you know what? You can! I know people have obligations, families, mortgages, jobs, responsibilities, but take a moment, breathe, and ask yourself, "Do I make too many compromises? Am I always putting others ahead of me and ignoring my own needs?" If you find yourself answering yes to those questions, then really think about what you want your life to be about. How do you want people to remember you when you're gone? How do you want to feel during those last few breaths? No one can tell you when that will come, but you can damn well bet that you'll feel better about the end when you can look back on your life and say, " I went for it."
Today, go out and whatever it means to you, go for it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Let the adventure...

This trip marks an end and a beginning.  The end of feeling like someone else was in the driver's seat, bouncing down a circuitous mountain road with sharp, precipitous drops on either side and no brakes...Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously, cancer, divorce, house fire...enough was enough. I had to take back control of the steering wheel.  It's been no easy's required pain, loss, sadness, regret, guilt and uncertainty.  However the positives have been the seeds that have sown this beginning as well. Hope, courage, strength, will, desire and trust. Nurturing those and believing in them have allowed me to create this new beginning. I've left my job, moved out of my house, donated many things to GoodWill, got accepted to graduate school for the fall and now I'm waiting for my flight on my first or two forays this summer to the west coast. First Oregon and Washington to visit friends and climb in the mountains, and second to Alaska for more of the same.  Believe in what you want, but I believe that we manifest our thoughts into our lives. If that's the case, I've somehow manifested an unplanned overnight at the San Fran airport tonight because of a delayed flight and a missed connection ;-)
The adventure begins...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

February Break

Got out for a few days over vacation and trekked up to the Harvard cabin with our sights on climbing something in Huntington Ravine.  We hiked up Thursday night, expecting conditions to clear for Friday, and when the early morning avalanche forecast came back in our favor, we quickly packed up and headed out the door.  We'd heard and then saw that the top outs of Damnation and North were a little thin and with two other parties heading to Pinnacle, we made our decision to climb Odell's and enjoy a little sunshine on this beautiful day!  Paul and I opted to climb sans rope as both of us had soloed Odell's before and the conditions were pretty ideal.  We topped out into the Alpine Garden around 10 into brilliant sunshine and zero wind. Unbelievably ideal and kind of hard to believe for the last week of February, but we milked two hours of lounging around catching sweet rays of vitamin D before heading back down.  While some people need sun and the beach to cure the winter blues, we just needed some sun and a great day in the mountains.