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Climbing Mountains as To Do Lists

Why do we do the things that we do? If we break down any of our patterns of behaviour or sit down and reflect on something that surprised us, it is a great question to ponder. The answer to any behavioural pattern is probably different, but it probably has the same theme. You do things now, to do more in the future. This year my husband and I realized that we climbed more mountains than we have in the last 5 years combined. Without setting an intention of "bagging" as many peaks as we could, we ended up hiking to variety of peaks 7 times this year.

You could say that this year we were logistically enabled. Our child is older and we are all encouraged at how his little legs can keep up with us on the 15th kilometer. Logging roads go deeper into the forests than they used to. We have a rugged vehicle that gives us easy access. Technology is better than before so fools like us don't get lost with a GPS track. All combined, these are circumstantial reasons. Accessibility doesn't create desire to get up at 6am and trek up a mountain.

So how did this happen? FOMO? To do list? Instagram bragging?

Hiking isn't easy. I used to hate it because it was grueling and boring. It is a skill to learn. I used to only hike with a large company for entertainment and socializing. All hikes from this year were just with my husband and son. If you treat hiking up a mountain a mountain only to cross it off a list, that would be grueling and unpleasant. We do it because we enjoy the time together in nature. We enjoy the challenge of navigating a new path, of pushing our bodies. Primarily we do it because we've set a goal of hiking up Mount Baker ourselves. Having aborted a guided mission with Jonathan 6 years ago, Mount Baker teases us every day. At 3,286 m it stands tall on the Vancouver skyline, reminding us of our failed attempt, tempting us. Climbing it requires skills that we currently don't have, but we are now developing as we climb tougher backcountry slopes. By choosing backcountry, self navigating mountains I can see myself improving.

Just a few months ago, summiting Mount Baker seemed out of reach but as we progress, develop, face tougher challenges I can see it coming within reach. We've set it as a the gold standard without a specific to do list and it is now coming into our realization. It all started with a failed summit attempt. No. It all started with a visualization of successfully summitting Mount Baker on our own.

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