Just Blaze Your Own Trail in Life

One of our bucketlist adventures on our vacation was to take Robin on an ascent to the top of Mount Crested Butte, thus providing her with two firsts in life, one, riding a ski gondola, and two, hiking to the top of a 12,000 plus foot mountain and soaking up the once in a lifetime feeling of knowing you hiked to the top of this, and you earned the right to enjoy the view!


At the ski base we bought our tickets and boarded the gondola, which took us on a gorgeous ride up the mountain to 10,000 feet, where we soon embarked on a 3 mile round trip hike to the summit.

Altitude hiking is totally different than any other hiking, trust me on this, the views are spectacular, but you have to earn every inch with your lungs burning and your labored breath making you sound like a panting dog.

Robin soon learned that the only way was slow and steady. When we entered the top section of the mountain and faced the boulder field you had to carefully pick your route and “scramble” over one rock to the next.

I kind of find this part fun –it’s the altitude climbing on the trail that I don’t like, but Robin was unsure of herself on the boulders and found that the problem solving part was the challenging aspect of the adventure.

You see, on the early stages of the trail, it is easy to see where you are supposed to go. The trail is well worn by many a bighorn sheep, chunky marmot or daring human. You can easily see where to put your foot next – you just follow what others have done before you.

The signs all say to stay on the trail and it is easy to follow these rules of the road.

When you get to the boulders, which unfortunately, are at the top of virtually every mountain I’ve ever been on, you can’t see where to go. All you see is a huge pile of rocks.

It looks like God dumped a bulldozer or two full of human sized rocks and just pushed them randomly on top of each other. No trail in sight, no hazard warning, no stop lights, just a huge pile of larger than life rocks.

As you look up you can see the bent over backs of other hikers slowly picking their way up. Some go slow, terrified to make a wrong move. Others almost run, their footing solid likes a Bighorn Sheep.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not fast – remember my burning lungs? But I do tend to go with confidence, even when I don’t know where to go. I kind of like this lesson for life in general. Like the Eagles say in their song “Just do something”! I guess I am just willing to go, figuring it will all work out somehow in the end. So far, thankfully, it has!

Robin has a different approach. She is willing to give it a try, but she gets a little anxious when there is not a clear path in sight. Interestingly enough, she felt this way when we went rock climbing too. You must understand, your vision is really limited on the boulder field. All you can really see is a radius of a few feet around you so it is scary to think of making the wrong move.

Unfortunately, not moving is not an option. There is no way up or down without taking a chance.

This is where I humbly offer the advice, just go for it. Blaze your own trail in life!

Robin hung in there. Even when she doubted herself and things got stressful she persisted and eventually was rewarded with a breathtaking view from the top. I think she was glad she hung in there and she learned a little about herself that morning.

A small plague at the top in honor of a young mane named Chris Mikesell said it right with the words “If you don’t climb the mountain you can’t see the view!”

Kudos to Robin, I’m proud of you and I hope you enjoyed the view and the feeling of accomplishment because you earned it!

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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