14 Jul Rocky Resilient Hike, Mt Washington, NH
Living Well Column for Community Magazine/ August 2017
“A Nod to Nike”
Nike says it. Many of us try to live it. Just do it! Indeed, we did it this weekend in what Backpacker magazine calls “the most dangerous small mountain in the world.” Mt. Washington, in the White Mountains of NH, hosts approximately 250,000 visitors a year. Home of the world’s worst weather, Mt Washington sits at the intersection of several major storm tracks and is known for its extreme weather, rocky terrain and windy ways. The highest wind velocity ever recorded at any surface weather station belongs to Mt Washington at 231 mph.
Eight diverse, talented and teflon women climbed together this weekend in our first Lodge-to-Hut weekend adventure from Joe Dodge Lodge at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. The 120 yr hut system was devised to provide refuge and meals to hungry hikers. We were edified by the “croo” (hut crews) with entertainment, education and hot meals at Lakes of the Clouds Hut, reportedly the most popular in the system. The overnight did not disappoint despite no shower, hot water, or electricity in our bunk room of 12 strangers turned friends. We wilderness women harnessed our physical strength, mental stamina and adventurous spirit to summit the northeast’s highest precipice in the east at 6300 ft. For those that don’t own hiking boots or a backpack, a Mt Washington climb is significant for a number of reasons:
1. It’s hilly hard. Think one big tripping trap. Lots of rocks, little rest.
2. The weather is highly unpredictable and potentially dangerous. The kill hill record currently stands at over 150 lives.
3. It’s a multi-strength stretch assignment. Brains & beauty unite.
Our posse of packing mountain mamas brought their lust for life to the ascent. A land use attorney, a teacher, a memory making mom and her two daughters and a few seasoned entrepreneurs hoofed straight up the mountain to meet the vicissitudes of mountain life. The weekend weather predicted T-storms and lightening mixed with winds and wet weather. We showed up, stocked up and shuffled up Mt Washington’s steep steps and slippery trails. We left no stone unturned as we tested our mettle along the miles of smiles and faces of occasional fear.
We revisited some universal truths about living well:
1. Take calculated risks.
2. Make new friends.
3. Growth can be uncomfortable.
Sure, we could have played it safe with another delightful day at the Jersey shore, but then we wouldn’t have bonded with our inner outdoorswoman at such a high level(no pun intended). We wouldn’t have learned about eight kinds of cloud formations, the physics of wind or a the doggone wonder of mountain flora that stretches from New Hampshire’s White mountains to NJ(Labrador Tea).
Nike, the winged goddess of victory, would have been proud. We just did it with tenacity and teamwork. We will likely treasure this weekend trek for a lifetime. Learn more at www.outdoors.org to plan your next daring adventure. Do the training, make new friends, take risks and live well!
DonnaLyn Giegerich MBA CIC RYT is the CEO/President of DLG Consulting, an integrated leadership training company that supports talent agility and skills development for professionals. Conference keynoter and executive coach, she delights in helping others develop resiliency and reinvention at www.DonnaLynSpeaks.com