Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Climbing a Mountain

You may recall my blog post in January regarding goal-setting.  Consider this post an in-depth review and step-by-step worksheet for how to set goals, and also accept it as evidence that when you tell others about your goals, you will be more committed to following through.

As a girl who LOVES my perfect prairie province of Saskatchewan, it may seem odd (or normal, depending how odd or normal you are) that I should desire to climb a mountain.  It did not occur to me naturally, I read about an excursion taken by a group of buddies – not my buddies, some stranger’s buddies – in a magazine article from Cowboys & Indians magazine.  The mountain they climbed was Mt. Whitney in California, which is a great coincidence because I need to go back to Folsom, California anyway (and get a Harley t-shirt since I got lost the first time I tried…) but I digress.

So what’s the big deal?  Well, Mt. Whitney and the forest rangers paid to protect Mt. Whitney don’t let just every girl named Bevra from Saskatchewan climb to the peak at random.  No, the mountain is attainable during the summer by permit only - a permit that must be applied for between Feb. 1 and March 15.  Because my idea of a great mountain-climbing experience involves spending six days on a motorbike in sunny hot weather, I am pinning a lot of hopes on being drawn in the permit lottery, but if I am not chosen for the restricted summer months I will need to do the climb prior to May 1.  Typically, I cannot get my bike out of my yard prior to May 1, so what do I do.  Believe me, I am climbing this mountain and here is what I need to do:

1.    Research Mt. Whitney – I have read about my challenge on the internet and now have knowledge of what equipment I will need (I am not a hiker, I am a biker).  I may be able to use the same boots.  The rest of the “tools” I am not fully acquainted with, so a trip to a sporting goods store will be an early priority (I travel light on a bike and will copy my own style with this mountain gig also.)  Hopefully, the staff at Fresh Air Experience are trained to withhold laughter until a customer is out of the store.
2.     Train – Mt. Whitney Trail is 22 km round trip.  I once walked from Chitek Lake to Leoville in a walk-a-thon…I was four years old and I won the trophy for ‘Youngest Walker’ but the training for that has long-since worn off and just never you mind how long ago (what year were Yogi Bear slip-on running shoes in fashion?)  I will need to get in shape and ensure I can walk/crawl/hobble 22 miles within daylight hours, carrying a backpack full of socks and bottled water.
3.     Enter the lottery for a permit so I can ride bike down to Cali and hike this thing in the heat of summer.  If I am going to become faint from thin mountain air, it shall be warm thin mountain air.  I have chosen all my desired hiking dates and entered online.
4.     Plan the bike route – I have been over this territory before and cannot wait to ride through Nevada again (mostly because I get to see Montana and Idaho on the way!)  I will include a swing through Folsom and THIS TIME I WILL FIND THE HARLEY DEALER!  (Would parking somewhere and taking a cab be considered cheating?)
5.     Investigate accommodations somewhere near Mt. Whitney – I need to have one full day off the bike prior to the hike as I will need to eat “carbs” or whatever and generally introduce my system to the altitude.  Staying in Lone Pine, CA looks like a good idea - do they have “carbs” there?  Book it.
6.     Contemplate Plan B – that is in the event that someone else gets drawn for my permit and I cannot hike in the summer months.  I am a firm believer in having a contingency plan so that I can define all the angles and come at the challenge from one of several ways and still accomplish the ultimate goal.  Sadly for me - very, very, very sadly for me – Plan B includes me starting my training last week because I may need to do this hike in April.
7.     Check flights to Reno or Las Vegas so I can rent a bike and ride to Mt. Whitney if I need to befriend Plan B for real.  This would be a good time to advise someone in these towns that they are renting me a bike – I need to inquire if they have one of my favorites and how many of my children they will take on trade.
8.     Was anyone going to remind me to check my passport?  Okay, I did that already – it expires on July 1 this year.  I have already been to the awesome Walmart photographer for a recent mug shot and have sent away the renewal application and astronomical fee.  Check in on me 5 – 6 weeks from now, we can laugh and show each other our passport photos…sick.
9.     Enlist my brother to tell our mother   – what, he is better at calming her down than I am.  And I was kidding about trading the kids for a rented bike, so maybe she won’t even care.

There you have nine simple steps to climbing a mountain.  I have identified my goal, broken it down into several attainable steps and affixed timelines to each.  I have investigated more than one way to successful completion (and may need to build in smaller steps as I go along).  I have begun the necessary actions and will check my list frequently to cross steps as they are completed. 

Follow me along from here to the top of Mt. Whitney – I can’t wait to tell you all about it each grueling mountain step of the way!  No doubt my plans will need to be adjusted according to events unfolding, but one thing is now very clear – I am officially committed to this goal.

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