Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Commitment and Obsession

Commitment is a mean and unrelenting taskmaster.
That's what it takes to hike a long trail.
A commitment bordering on obsession, one that an armchair analyst may find ridiculous.
Mountain climbers in Alaska share many traits as those who thru hike the Appalachian Trail, or set off on the Pacific Crest Trail .
First, we must want it so bad as to endure seperation from loved ones, common luxuries of plentiful food and warmth, uncertainty of daily outcomes and pain. Never forget there is and will be physical pain.
In these endeavors, a person tends to overestimate their own strength, while underestimating nature. There is a definite nonchalance with the Forces that Be. Perhaps our suffering may amuse the trail gods. It is necessary to look at the long term goal and not expect any god to assist us.
As the passion seeps into every crevase of our life, we eat, read, dream of our obsession. There is advice from every corner, some which is based on fear, not reality.
Jonathan Waterman, the author of In the Shadow of Denali, proclaims we must want it for ourself, it is enough to stand on the summit because we want it. Hiking for breast cancer, heart desease, the children's happiness fund is not necessary. Not even recommended.
Own up to being obsessed with the mountain, the trail, the journey. Do the necessary work of preparation.
Once committed, and becoming driven to act on it, a person has a good chance of making it.

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