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The summer I was 15, I spent away from home. For eight weeks, I lived and worked in Mt. Rainer National Park working for the Youth Conservation Corps. We built trails, dug ditches, and lugged stones for the mason repairing the climber’s hut at Camp Muir. The high point of the summer came at the end when a few Rangers offered to guide us kids in an ascent to the top of the might Mt. Rainer. All 14,410 feet of it.
On that trip the love of Exploration & Discovery was born inside me. I joined the climbing party and made it to the top of Disappointment Cleaver, ~12,000 feet, and no farther. I was spent. Finished. Kaput.
So, I went home and set myself a goal of making it to the top by the time I was 21. Others wanted to drink at 21, and I wanted that mountain on my coup stick. In the rest of my high school years, I taught myself to jog, gained 30 pounds, lost 20 pounds, enrolled in mountaineering class, saved for and bought ropes, ice axes, crampons; poured over maps and found my way to being a Navigator. The happy end of this story is that after ten failed attempts at the mountain, I stood on the top, 14,410 feet above sea level, two weeks before my 21st birthday. (My birthday is in January).
So where does this leave me many years later? I fed that sense of Exploration and Discovery; I know a little about a lot of things. I love Navigating my way through unknown territory.
My next big exploration project in life is diving into the mind with Compassionate Communication taught by Marshall Rosenberg.
If you were my pen pal, I’d also want you to know that my climbing partner turned into my life partner, two gorgeous daughters call me Mama, and my cookbook shelf is longer than my self-help book shelf.