“You can do it!’, “I’m so proud of you!” I found myself saying over and over again as my mom, a sea-level native, took a step toward the summit of Cinnamon Mountain. My mom visited Colorado for the couple of weeks surrounding our wedding date. She had visited many times before but this time she had decided or, more like agreed, to hike a mountain. Hiking mountains is not necessarily an easy task for anyone but for someone not acclimated to altitude, who travelled from sea-level, and has never hiked a mountain let alone many trails, this was a rather large feat. And I was so overcome by pure excitement for this adventure that I didn’t put much consideration into anything but the experience and having enough water of course.
Now we chose the smallest mountain I know of in our valley which still happens to stand over 12,000ft but has a gradual incline up to the peak and no boulders to climb over. There are old mining roads that take you just beyond 11,000ft where you can then begin the hike. My mom was in good spirits as we began walking along the trail immersed in the lush green landscape of the rocky mountains. Though it wasn’t long before she noticed the thinning air and shortness of breathe.
We stopped every once in a while but not nearly as many times as I expected we would need too. This is where things get funny. The higher we got the more panicked my mom became it was no longer a scene from the sound of music. She couldn’t believe people did this for fun (haha) and she said she would never do it again. At this point her goal was to get up and down that mountain as quickly as possible not stopping to take in the view or admire her effort. The fear she was experiencing was familiar as I too shut down on the first mountain I had climbed. I actually told my husband to call a helicopter because I wasn’t going to move but we will save that story for another day.
We lost the trail at a point and started ‘bushwhacking’ which nearly sent my mom over the edge, literally and figuratively. We never reconnected with the trail so instead of the gradual incline we told her about, we went directly up the mountain toward the summit. Not only was it steep but the ground was covered in unstable shale and very loose dirt. There were also beautiful and fragrant wildflowers blanketing this section of the mountain but no amount of beauty or floral scent was going to lure my mom to stop and smell the flowers.
I was moved to tears by the flow of emotions through witnessing my moms strength and perseverance even as she struggled. My mom was moved to tears by the intensity of the challenge and her growing fear. Here we were crying on the side of a mountain, concerned hikers started to walk our way but my mom didn’t want anyone to approach us while she was having a moment. Truly a sight to see! Not your typical sight when in the backcountry of Colorado haha!
As you can see above she was not thrilled to reach the peak, at least not visibly. She didn’t like me very much at that moment nor did she feel any type of satisfaction (yet). She wanted to get to the final destination, which was the car at the bottom of Cinnamon Mountain. How true is that in everyday life? We so badly wish to get to our destination that we miss the journey. We get so caught up in beginning a journey and reaching the goal that we often discount the meaningful events in the middle. Looking ahead we lose sight of how far we’ve come and more importantly where we are in the present, in the Now.
Despite my moms lack of joy and internal conflict that day, I was so very proud of her and continue to be. I know first-hand just how hard the first climb can be and even more so finding the strength of mind to conquer such a quest. She never once said she wanted to quit, however, she did say she couldn’t do it but she did. She even fell on the descent, nevertheless, she picked herself back up, brushed off her knees, and flashed me a big smile.
About 8 months have passed since the day I climbed Cinnamon mountain with my mom, I couldn’t wait to share this story yet my mom wasn’t ready for the big reveal quite as soon as I was ready to tell it. She was proud of herself at this point even though the shock hadn’t worn off, yet, she was slightly displeased with her disposition that day and perhaps even a bit embarrassed. I assured her it was an opportunity to self-reflect and check in with herself but the story was hers to share. We all relish in the joy and adventure of that day, we laugh every time we speak of it and my mom (now) loves to tell every bit of that story. For no triumph is without great challenge but our perspective can make or break it.
At the peak she said “there is a mountain high enough!” and I responded “but you climbed it!”
Has self-belief helped you move mountains? How so?
Hope you all are having a wonderful day & find the motivation to overcome whatever mountain you’re climbing! You can do it!
Thank you for joining me here♥
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