I don't claim to have made all the best decisions throughout my life
but I have few regrets about my choices in the educational, career, and
financial realms. The biggest mistake I've made financially was buying
and selling homes (residences, not investments) too often. If I'd stayed
in one place longer, I'd own my current house free and clear. But even
that I don't really regret because the reasons for moving most of the
times were sound and Jim and I are still able to enjoy our itinerate
lifestyle even with a mortgage.
Don't just dream it, DO it! Whatever your dreams or goals, figure out
what you need to do and make the changes necessary to reach them within
a reasonable period of time.
Sometimes the barriers to reaching your goals have more to do with
your own fears and/or a lack of self-confidence than they do with financial
or other situational factors. I have this propensity to conjure up all
sorts of fears at times, like before yesterday's long run, that
occasionally prevent me from being all that I can be. You've probably
done it sometimes in your life, too.
I've thought a lot about courage and dreams since meeting Erin a few
days ago. I can't imagine the guts it takes for a young woman to strike
out on her own with two mules to set a new record on the Continental
Divide Trail. I'm totally intimidated by my own goal of running and
walking the thing over a period of years, with Jim crewing for me, and
that's a weenie way of doing the trail compared to Erin's way! Most
of the CDT is even more remote than the Colorado Trail, there aren't
waypoints to stick into your GPS, it's only 70% done (the rest is on
roads), and it stretches over a whopping 3,100 miles at high altitude
along America's backbone from the Mexican to the Canadian border.
An amazing challenge, the CDT.
I've already completed over two hundred miles of the CDT in Colorado
where it coincides with the Colorado Trail and where I've run parts of
it near Leadville (such as over Hope Pass). I'm hoping to do a few more
miles of it while we're near Leadville but Jim's getting burned out
driving to trail heads and needs to focus on LT100 the next four weeks.
These rocky back roads are also tough on our aging truck. Maybe I'm using these
things as excuses to not get out there and run more
sections of the CDT on his off-days . . . but they are
valid reasons and I am a
little nervous about getting totally lost in the wilderness.
Hence my joke in the last entry about wanting to be like Erin when I grow up. I don't
know if I'll ever realize my goal of completing the Continental Divide
Trail. It makes more sense for me to run the smoother, better marked, somewhat
less remote Pacific Crest Trail but it's even farther from our home in
Virginia. Perhaps some summer(s) we can spend a couple months in Washington or Oregon
doing ultra races there so I can run the PCT in those states. I'd also
like to do northern and central California some day, but I'm not as interested
in the desert parts of southern California or New Mexico on the CDT.
We'll see. Stay tuned for the next few years! <grin>
One of my original stated purposes when I began the AT journal in
early 2005 was to serve as an inspiration for others who had dreams of
hiking or running the Appalachian Trail -- or aspirations for any other
sort of big goal, like pursuing an education, changing careers, learning
a new skill, etc. Letters from readers confirm that what Jim and I are
doing is indeed a source of inspiration (and education, and comedy . .
.) to them.
Jim and I need occasional doses of inspiration from other people, too. As
you already know, I'm fond of quotes, especially motivational ones. They
make me think, and dream even bigger dreams.
I'd like to share this poem that I found on an Appalachian Trail
internet hikers' list several years ago. The person who submitted it doesn't
know the author. It usually makes the rounds of offices and the internet
at the beginning of the year, but I think it's appropriate at ANY time
of the year -- or at any point in your life.
If ever there were a time to dare,
to make a difference,
to embark on something worth doing,
it is now.
Not for some grand cause, necessarily,
but for something that tugs at your heart,
something that is your aspiration,
something that is your dream.
You owe it to yourself
to make each day here count.
Know, though, that things worth doing
seldom come easy.
There will be good days
and there will be bad days.
There will be times when
you want to turn around,
pack it up,
call it quits.
Those times tell you
that you are pushing yourself,
that you are not afraid to learn by trying.
Because with an idea,
and the right tools,
you can do great things.
Let your instincts,
and your heart
Believe in the incredible power
of all the things that will
cross your path this year.
The start of something new
brings the hope of something great.
Anything is possible.
There is only one you,
and you will pass this way once.
Do it right.
UPDATE ON WHERE WE ARE
Yesterday we arrived at the National Forest Service campground at
Clear Creek Reservoir, better known to Leadville race participants as
"Winfield Road." The reservoir is very low right now and the
end nearest the campground makes a fine estuary for egrets and other
waterfowl. It's a beautiful area we enjoyed for two weeks last
summer before moving closer to town. That's our plan again this year,
This is a good springboard for training on Hope Pass and for me to
check out the new Colorado Trail re-route on either side of the road.
The CT work crew camp is on one side of this large campground (photo
of their tents and campers below) so we'll
have a great opportunity to thank two or three different groups of volunteers
while we're here. (Each work group comes for a week.) We both know how strenuous the work is to build new
trails and maintain existing ones and we want them to know how much
their efforts are appreciated.
Hmm . . . maybe they'd like a couple bottles of Virginia wine!
I'm happily taking a rest day or two or three. I'm pretty tired from
the two strenuous runs I've had this week and will probably do another
tough one tomorrow or Sunday (Hope Pass), making for a very high-mileage week for me.
Even though Jim brought books and magazines to read in his spare time
this summer, he can't sit still very long. He has to be out on the
trail, running errands in town, getting water, fixing something that's broken (nothing
lately, thank goodness!), whatever -- he just can't sit around the
camper like I can. Today he's acclimating in the high mining area above
Leadville, about 2,000 feet higher up than our campground. But he can
stand that only so long, too. (Listening to Neal Boortz on the radio up
there in the morning makes the time go more easily for him, though.)
I like my "down" time in the campground between exhausting athletic
endeavors just fine. There are fascinating mountain views from our camper
windows. I love watching the cloud patterns, whether the sky is blue or
threatening a storm:
I enjoy my magazines and books (currently Walter
Isaacson's tome on Benjamin Franklin, a guy I woulda liked for his
emphasis on frugality and industry), reading e-mail, writing, tinkering
with photos, scrap booking, doing other creative and artistic things,
walking the dogs around the campground, taking an occasional nap . .
. . . and watching the large group of 70-somethings from Texas
practice Tai Chi in the mornings and fly their model planes in the sky above the sagebrush
surrounding the campground (not to be confused with another large group of Texans in our campground
at South Mineral Creek -- Texans love cool Colorado summers!).
I find it much easier to be a Type B person when we're camping than I
do at home, although I'm still trying to be less frenetic and "anal" in
all aspects of my life. I'm a work in progress, and I'm working on Jim
to be more relaxed, too (that's a tough job).
Next entry: Jim's training for the Leadville Trail 100-miler, including
photos from Hope Pass and a flooded Lake Creek. Courage definitely
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and
© 2007 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil