Happy New Year! I hope the holiday season was a time of rest and ease and that you were able to spend it with those you love. I was with my family in Kentucky and Tennessee for ten days where the temps were abnormally warm and we experienced tornado and thunderstorm warnings just two days before Christmas, but we were also able to sit on the back patio on Christmas Eve in awe of the full moon in 70-degree weather. It was very special.
My New Year’s Eve was quite special this year too. I’m not a fan of big crazy parties and I don’t drink much, so this is one holiday that has often been difficult to plan for and enjoy. The whole not having anyone to kiss at midnight thing was a big fat bummer too. Last year dinner and Cards Against Humanity was the perfect way to ring in the New Year. I was the only single person there, but I won the game, so there was that, and I felt totally comfortable being the “odd single person out” among my small group of close friends. =)
Because I live in Colorado, I am often invited on outdoor adventures that stretch my comfort zone because I am never quite sure if I am physically fit or skilled enough to hold my own. I did a 100-mile mountain-bike ride over four days with some super experienced riders, a two-night backpacking trip when I first moved to the west, a recent 90-mile river trip with just one other person in a remote area, and a 16-mile slot canyon backpack in Utah’s Zion National Park hiking in knee-deep or higher water most of the way. All of these adventures challenged me physically and mentally, but I was so glad I did them.
One of my friends reserved two nights in a backcountry cabin that sleeps 20 and invited me to be part of the group. We were to ski or snowshoe in on the 30th and out on the 1st. I have been hearing about how cool these “hut” trips are for years as they are a popular Colorado destination (we have several of them – many left over from the 10th Mountain Division training during WWI and WWII). I have always wanted to do one, but I knew I wasn’t in good enough shape to do a five-mile backpack on snowshoes with a heavy pack and 2000 feet in elevation gain.
I said yes anyway.
Over the holiday, I spent lots of time on the treadmill working my way up almost to five miles on an incline and trying to mimic a wide snowshoe stance so I would be prepared. Even though it was just a few weeks of training before the event, I do think it helped. Because I backpack about once every 5-8 years, I’m not a great packer, and I always bring too much and don’t think about how heavy everything is until the pack is difficult to lift, much less get onto my back. This time was no exception.
The first mile and a half of the trip was up the slopes at Copper Mountain Ski Resort, with half of that being incredibly steep. Coming down was tough on my knees, and I marveled the whole way about how I had climbed UP that stretch two days prior. With a too heavy pack, too big borrowed snowshoes that sometimes felt like anchors and exercise-induced asthma that doesn’t respond well to cold weather (did I mention temps were in the single digits or low teems at the highest?), I was not in a good place for much of the hike in. The last 500 yards was uphill too and such a cruel ending to a long and arduous hike. I wouldn’t have made it one of the other participants who had gotten in more than an hour ahead of me hadn’t come and taken my pack for the last uphill slog. (Gabe, you are my hero!)
Once there the cabin itself was heavenly. Very comfortable and cozy for a backcountry retreat, it was complete with a small library and several games, with a wood-burning stove in the middle of the main room, a full kitchen with gas burners and two indoor composting toilets. The four large bedrooms upstairs had comfy thick mattresses and pillows, and there was a wood-burning sauna out back. The views were incredible from every window, and the skiing the next day was in fresh powder from the ridgeline back down to the cabin. I didn’t partake, but did enjoy hanging out with incredible people, playing lots of games, sipping hot chocolate with a little Baileys, napping and sitting in the sauna. It was a fantastic way to begin a fresh new year, and the snowshoe out was quite pleasant and much easier.
As I prepare to lead another 5-week course on Being Enough (beginning on January 13th), I recognize that even though I said yes to the few and far between backcountry adventures described above, I also said no to many more like the 8.5-mile 2500-foot elevation gain trek to Conundrum Hot Springs near Aspen. I just didn’t think I could do it. Maybe I was right, or maybe, like this hut trip, I would have surprised myself.
Being enough means that you don’t feel badly if you need help on the trail or in life. It means being able to seek advice on gear and packing and anything that you don’t have experience with in your world. It means taking risks to do something outside of your comfort zone cvx c and basking in the joy that comes with completing difficult challenges. And it means knowing that no matter what - even if you are the last person off the trail or up the mountain or down the hill – that you are always and absolutely ENOUGH.
I had some frustrating experiences on this trip like falling sideways into a snow bank and not being able to get up because my pack was so heavy and was pushing my face into the snow, and suffering with ill-fitting gear that wasn’t right for me and a too heavy pack because I didn’t plan well-enough. It would have been so easy to get down on myself or others and let my frustration ruin the trip, but I am much better at letting stuff roll off my back since embracing everything that is great about me. It is so much nicer to go through life this way, and makes even the challenging times easier. I notice what is great about everyone else more readily too.
If you want to explore your own enoughness with a great group of people, there are still a few open spots in the upcoming class, and even better, I am offering it on a pay what you want basis. How cool is that? Even though the course is worth every penny of the $347 registration fee (and it comes with $650 worth of bonuses too), I want it to be accessible to everyone who wants to participate, so I am making this special offer to the first 12 people who register. Sign up today to snag one of the remaining spots.