Twenty years ago I took the family to Colorado for a summer vacation. One of our activities was to hike a couple "Fourteeners", a name given to mountains over 14,000' in elevation. Colorado has 54 of the 67 Fourteeners found in the contiguous States.
By the end of that vacation we had climbed 3 of the 54 and an adventure was born, to summit all the 14ers in Colorado.
In early July, Alex, Clark and I climbed my final Colorado Fourteener, Culebra, near the town of San Luis Colorado.
This particular hike was probably one of the easiest and after already climbing the other 53, many of them multiple times, the outcome was never in doubt.
To complete the mission it had to be climbed. With the boys along, it was an ideal opportunity to ponder the journey and its lessons.
1) Perseverance in the long run, discretion in the short run. Sir Edmund Hillary famously stated when asked if his rival George Mallory might have beat him to the summit of Everest, " A successful summit requires getting down alive." In other words, stay focused on the long term goal while being aware of the obstacles in your path. Maybe you prefer the poker players adage, "You gotta know when to hold ‘em, and you gotta know when to fold ‘em." Whether you’re climbing mountains, playing cards, raising a family, or building a business, this timeless wisdom is relevant.
2) The rewards of following your passion are priceless. The number of good things that have happened in my life because of this endeavor are too numerous to mention. The relationships you develop, the doors that open, and the insights you gain will enrich your life in ways impossible to anticipate.
3) The faster you learn and improve, the farther you go. Many people die or get seriously injured hiking in the mountains. Avoiding serious injury while averaging a 94% summit success rate over a twenty year span is fairly respectable for a middle aged Iowa farmer who only spends a few days each year above 1300' elevation. Recognizing mistakes early and always striving for better are habits that have served me well.
Speaking of challenges, the 2019 harvest should be starting in the next month. Weather lately has been sunny, dry and slightly cool. I will not say perfect as the corn could use more heat and beans would benefit from rain. However, it has been really pleasant for livestock and people.
Bert says the bins will be empty and the machinery will be ready. I have no doubt he is right and the best part is it all happened without my effort.
Another one of those bucket list goals I was lucky to cross off.