One of our clients, Mark, embarked on a 31 days of Inspiration (Point) challenge where he hiked to Inspiration Point EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. in October. At the end of his challenge, we asked him to reflect on this pretty inspirational accomplishment…
So, was the end of September and I was sitting on the couch at 5 am listening to all this crap on the news. I was becoming obsessed, waking up early to find out what new salacious revelations may have come up overnight in Washington. The negativity was sucking me in harder than the McConnell’s Ice Cream shop down the street. I needed Inspiration and where better to find it than at Inspiration Point!?! So I decided I would challenge myself to avoid the TV, and instead hike up to Inspiration Point EVERY DAY IN OCTOBER. Inspiration Point is an easy hike, only 4 miles round trip, and a mere 800 feet of elevation gain. Like every new challenge, I was full of ambition, excitement and enthusiasm for the first few days, admiring the panoramic vistas and the sunrises and sunsets and thinking how clever I was to come up with this idea.
Then, about 6 days into it, I had stubbed my toes numerous times, my calves were sore, I had a blister, it started raining, and it was dawning on me that this was self-imposed challenge that was going to offer some real mental challenges.
In the middle days of the month, I started listening to podcasts as a way to pass the time, but towards the end of my journey, I decided I just wanted to enjoy the peace and quiet of the mountain. I just wanted to observe how the shadows were evolving as the sun stayed lower in the sky, and rose later and sunk earlier. I started to enjoy the crunch of my feet on the trail. I have no harrowing stories about how I fought off a rabid cougar with my bare hands, or trod on a rattle snake and narrowly missed the inevitable strike.
But at the end of the month, I ended up climbing around 25,000 feet which is, in fact, more elevation than those who climb Mount Everest (29,000) (if they started at base camp…and if basecamp was sea level). Of course, I didn’t have to deal with the bone chilling cold, vertical rock faces, 100 mile an hour winds, daily avalanches, 1,000 foot ice crevices or the frozen bodies and associated ghosts, but heading up in the dark at 5 am or at midnight, and knowing if I twisted an ankle, it was going to be a long night did create a certain level of apprehension and stoked my adventurous side.
But it wasn’t a proverbial walk in the park either – many days it was really tempting to stay in bed, but in the end, it was a great challenge, and I do believe I better understand why that spot 1,800 hundred feet above Santa Barbara is called Inspiration Point. I was also happy that I was watching TV less and getting out more – my mind was more clear, which translated into being more calm on a daily basis. And here I am, a couple of weeks into November, and I’m kind of missing my October 31 day challenge…..