Looking into the Unknown Can be Scary
Seven days till I ski the American Birkie, ten days till I’m on a plane to Europe for six weeks of ski touring, and 58 days till I start the CDT—needless to say, I’m in full freak-out mode. Every day I ask myself what I should be doing to prepare? Do I have all my gear? Am I ready to ski 55 km (34.2 miles) in a single go? All these questions to which I have no answer. To top these feelings off, the second I mention I’m doing the Continental Divide Trail I am met with, “Oh, you’re Triple Crowning.” Yeah, I don’t feel any pressure at all.
In trying to hold it together I’ve been looking for inspiration. It struck me at the Banff Mountain Film Festival and I felt that I had hit a reset button on my nerves. I was watching a video on Liv Sansoz and her journey to hike all the mountains over 4,000 meters in the Alps. She is complete badass of a woman with so much outdoor experience. Even given that, she’s had upsets, injuries, and setbacks. In her video she was reflecting on those events and she said that even among all the negative things that she had been through the mountains were still her home. They were still where she felt the most comfortable and where she wanted to be no matter the circumstance. I took so much comfort in her words. She was echoing my own thoughts and feelings. I was mesmerized listening to her talk, inching closer to the edge of my seat trying to soak in her words. With each nod of my head in agreement I could feel the nerves changing to confidence. Not confidence that I will sail through the next months problem free, but confidence in myself, confidence in my decisions to take on this endeavor, and confidence to ride it out no matter the outcome. What struck me most about Liv’s story is that she failed at her goal of getting the hikes completed in a year, but she didn’t give up. She modified her goal. She dealt with the disappointment and continued hiking. That is how I want to treat this hike. I have a goal: to Triple Crown by 30. If I do that, amazing! But if something happens to prevent me from thru-hiking the CDT, then my goal is to learn from the experience, cherish the memories, and set out to try again.
Taking inspiration from Liv’s story I feel rejuvenated. Are the nerves still there? Absolutely! But I feel more in control, less stressed, less anxious, and more ready to embrace whatever the next adventures have to throw at me.
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