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Tuckerman’s Ravine Hike

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Tuckerman’s Ravine Hike

“Life Lessons Courtesy of Mt Washington” I came for a hike and I left with some meaningful life lessons. 

Like many of you, I am practicing the art of creating a fulfilling life, and I share this with you in hopes that you too may get in touch with your own ability to consistently open to life, take on new challenges, and step outside your comfort zone. My story begins in Tuckerman Ravine, a glacial cirque on the southeast face of Mt. Washington, in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. We arrived at the base of trail, looking for a “good hike.” Many were hanging out in the parking lot, looking simultaneously exhilarated and relaxed — I wanted some of what they were having! The Mountain Club volunteers suggested we embark on either the Ravine Trail or the River Trail. Looking at my footwear (running sneakers), I was discouraged from tackling the former, even though we were told it was – by far – the more compelling trail.  I felt an immediate hesitation to embark upon the Ravine Trail, not just because of the footwear warnings, but also because my internal naysayer was saying “it might be too wet, too hard, too risky/dangerous…” – you get the picture. 

Both routes started from the same base, so we determined we’d start up the Ravine Trail, with the caveat that we would turn back to the River Trail if the Ravine Trail got too treacherous. After a few hundred yards, it was clear that it was wet, cold, icy, slushy and slippery. I actually felt relieved that my internal fears were confirmed – that meant I would have no choice but to take the ‘easier route.’ Yet, I also felt a subtle disappointment, like I had let myself down in some way. The River (aka “easier”) Trail was beautiful, slippery, and icy, and we were walking on several feet of packed snow. It was uneventful and my feet stayed dry and relatively warm. The next day, with renewed energy and a bit of recycled regret from the day before, we decided to give the Ravine Trail a go. What follows are a few of the insights I had along the way. Fulfillment is always a step beyond your comfort zone. Part of me does not want to push the envelope or take risks for fear of things getting messy or chaotic – there is safety in staying within the lines (…or trail). The experience of the River Trail was “nice”— fine, really—but it wasn’t exciting, and it certainly was not fulfilling. On the other hand, those “Ravine Trail choices” in my life that have brought me to my edge, that wake me up—now, those have me feel more engaged and ultimately more fulfilled, even if I get my feet a little wet on the journey. When you shift your perspective, your whole world shifts. When I finally committed to the Ravine Trail, I felt more alive. Immediately, I felt happier. I had made a choice to go for it and there was something joyous about that. When I stopped being concerned about how things would turn out (i.e. I stopped trying to control the situation) and brought my focus into the here and now, I felt freer. I looked up to notice the...

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