Monday, July 30, 2012

What the grumpies gave me today.

I hiked Hanging Lake today.  With my 20 year old daughter, Audrey...and about 100 other people.

Honestly, hiking with this many people makes me grumpy and I already started out the day on the grump side.  I am a bit of a trail snob.  Growing up close to the Mesa Trail, I would escape to it as a teenager to set my mind straight. This has left me a little bit snobby about trailing. I grump about people taking up the width of the trail or raising their nordic poles to my dog as we run by.  So ending our extended weekend of tooling along through the mountains, with 100 other people makes me grump again. 

But this is "our" hike.  This is what Audrey and I "do" (even though we just started this "tradition" last year). I must get over my  grumpy self and hike...with 100 other people.

Beginning of trail.
 I am taking picture while I hike, so as not to be passed.

If you have ever hiked Hanging Lake, just outside of Glennwood Springs, Colorado, you know, this is not an easy stroll up the mountainside.  It's challenging. The hike is only 2 miles round trip but most of it is a vertical climb. You also know every Tom, Dick and Harry is going to try to climb the mountain.  We remark about the people we see along the way. Those without adequate shoes (one woman is barefoot another in dress shoes) or water. The overweight and the out of shape (we are at altitude people...).  The ultra young or old.  Possibly they parked down the highway and have already walked a mile to the trail head.  We roll our eyes. Everyone is here. 

Soon we are commenting that on this day, the hike seems a little harder than last year.  "Haha" we say, "it must be more humid than last year".  Truth be told, it has not been an easy year for us in most any way. Life has thrown this family some hard balls and close to nothing has felt "easier".  Why would today be any different?  We sweat...we rest...we climb.  We pass people, people pass us.  There is always someone else with us along the trail. Faster or slower, whatever we try, we are always hiking with other people.

People begin to chatter and remark about the beauty of the scenery, the heat, the impending rain they may not make it to the top. 

And then something happens. 

As we get closer to the top (I call it the "ascent" because there is a railing to help you pull yourself along or not fall over the side. For us, possibly both.), strangers start talking to each other.  They begin develop this camaraderie of accomplishment.  Soon strangers are encouraging one another, offering to take photos for one another and making way for those who are struggling.  There is even an international element -  Spanish, Portuguese, Filipino, Japanese, Midwestern, Southern and Eastern- everyone is smiling and moving forward. A man with a Huskers t-shirt on, sweaty and winded wants to take our picture.  A woman passing a slower family, takes the elder woman's hand and helps her over the rocks.  People are happy. We are happy.  They have helped us make it to the top with their surge of accomplishment. At the top, it is beautiful and everyone remarks that the effort was worth it.

Picture taken by Husker t-shirt man.

Hmmm.... I was going to blog about how consumers spend more mind, money and intellectual energy into what they eat than the clothing they buy.  Yada yada. Another day.

I am reminded,  it is not usually about what people do not do.  It is about what they DO.  It is about all the strengths that we have inside and use to make a difference. Life is hard all around.  We can struggle, raise our fists or laugh at it.  We can do this....together.  And we most likely will feel good about it.  I think about all the things my children DO that are great. They are incredible people.  As are my coworkers, my customers, my friends and even the strangers that lend me a hand every day. I have so much to learn and to share. 

So in response to waking up grumpy, this world gave me today where I watched a woman hike in her bare feet, a man carry his son to the top of a mountain,  a woman reach out to a stranger, all while I caught me some incredibly beautiful Colorado scenery. 

I choose to focus on the  "do's" and not the "do not's".

So much for the grumpies.

Life is good.

Hanging Lake.