“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a pile of gear growing across the expanse of my bed. I have carefully laid the stove and gas, wrapped itself in a plastic bag, on one obscure corner in case of a leak. The sleeping bag holds court at the head, held in check by the air mattress. A shovel rests to one side, feeling a bit out of place between the sleep and cooking systems. The clothing combinations lord over the midsection, waiting patiently to be thinned and exchanged as I wander between the bed and the computer to check the weather report once again. A line of single-purpose goodies borders the front edge of the mattress.

My 60L pack rests against the dresser, sagging save for its internal frame. My skis, with skins already donned, and my boots, have crept their way out to the TOF already, eager to touch snow. It’s only one night out there, but I know it will be cold, especially if I make it to the lake. Questions burn through my head as I glance across the bed before I start loading the pack. What AM I forgetting?

In a season of thanks, I don’t know how to express my gratitude enough. There are so many blessings: both which I have earned and those, which have been bestowed by the most generous of people. My heart bursts, truly bursts, whenever I think of how much time, effort, and knowledge others have openly shared with me. And not just from this journey. I have so many families with whom I share my life, my adventures, that I am constantly overwhelmed by the support.

Without them, I would not be the woman I am today.

To my parents, so tough and kind, who worry ceaselessly but trust unconditionally.

To my siblings, who push me to be a better person, even though the buttons are sometimes the “wrong” ones.

To my extended family, who always ask my parents, “How can you let her do that?”

To my high school friends, who, after 20 years, show so much joy in all they have achieved.

To my paddling ohana, who helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life as I came to terms with, and then went through my divorce. Who truly taught me the meaning of teamwork, and how we only move forward together.

To my mountain family: all the sisters and brothers and dads. We all share a common goal: to come home with a story, usually of courage, hopefully of some ease, and indeed of the magic these heights bring.

And besides these, who would bring me up, there are also those who would push me down, or at least try. Those to whom I pose a threat, I suppose. Perhaps it is a threat to love, to their own sense of self and ego, their fear of being happy, I don’t know. Whatever the reason, there are those who demean or disrespect me in so many ways. It is all I can do to push their comments, or lack of comments, aside in order to minimize their impact in my own mind.

But I am thankful for them, as well, for hardening my resolve to try and live each day to it’s fullest. To not take any moment for granted. To know courage in myself, to be self-sufficient.

It’s just a one night overnight, but without the help and guidance of all of you, it would never happen.

To all my friends and family, who have shown and shared so much with me, thank you.


Now… just what AM I forgetting??


From the luckiest girl in the world:
Climb Hard. Be Safe.


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