775.448.6070 OCTOBER 2018 CHALLENGES ARE ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE My Thoughts at the Top of Phipps Pass WWW.JERRYCARTERLAW.COM
F ear is a common theme during the month of October. At Halloween, many of us have nail-biting horror films, spine-chilling murder mysteries, or dark haunted houses on our minds. As strange as it might seem, some people truly enjoy being terrified! Now, I won’t concede to being an adrenaline junkie or thrill-seeker per se, but I will admit that I find the anticipation of a new challenge quite exhilarating. One of the most recent personal challenges I faced took place during a recent backpacking trip with my brother Travis. over the course of 3–4 days. This year, we backpacked in the Desolation Wilderness, which is situated high above Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay. Our route started at Meeks Bay and called for us to climb over Phipps Pass the second day. To us, the pass was just a group of tight lines on the topographical map. But it turned out to have quite a reputation among the hikers we encountered on the trail. Just a few hours into the first day of hiking, we spoke with a backpacker who said he had crossed Phipps pass from the other side, which he considered to be less steep. He told us the approach was going to be steep and rocky, and we were going to hate it. We set up camp the first night at Crag Lake, with the awesome Crag Peak hovering over us. Even though we saw other hikers on the way there, we managed to have the whole northern part of the lake to ourselves. The warm weather throughout the day kept the water calm and serene. When we finished setting up our tents, we explored, and then we ate the best backpacking dinner ever — chili mac. Afterward, we got to watch the sun fade behind the tree line while we watched a family of ducks grab a few more bites of their own and then swim off. Every few summers, Travis and I pick a backpacking trail we can reasonably complete
“WE TOOK IN AND PHOTOGRAPHED THE BEAUTY SPRAWLED OUT BEFORE US AND KNEW THAT WITHOUT ALL THE PAIN, SWEAT, AND SORE JOINTS AND MUSCLES, WE WOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO WITNESS SUCH A SCENE.”
that without all the pain, sweat, and sore joints and muscles, we would have never been able to witness such a scene. Had we listened to the hikers who eyed our heavy packs and questioned our plan or believed the self-doubt that crept into our thoughts as the number of skeptical observers grew, we would have never known what our bodies and our minds were capable of. To me, that is much more frightening than any mountain could ever be. Facing any kind of challenge can be a daunting experience. But what distinguishes a positive outcome from a negative one is the method by which you approach it. Some people define challenges purely by the level of difficulty, focusing only on what can go wrong. Others view them as an opportunity to have a way- out-of-the-ordinary experience while also experiencing personal growth and great companionship. Backpacking has taught me that it’s far more rewarding to focus on the latter.
The next morning, we packed up and made our way toward Phipps Peak and the pass. On the way, we passed a group of hikers who made a point of telling us how difficult Phipps Pass would be to ascend from our direction. We kept moving forward but started to wonder if we had bitten off more than we could chew. As we began the climb, an older couple approached us from the opposite direction. They too asked if we were going up Phipps Pass. When we said yes, the husband smiled and said “All right!” During the rest of the climb, we pondered his ambiguous “all right!”Did it mean he thought we were in for a surprisingly brutal climb? Did he think we would love the pass? Was he trying to encourage us? Warn us? All of the above? In the end, the trail was jagged with tight switchbacks and a lot of sweating and heavy breathing. The steep terrain gave us great views of the lakes below. We were elated when we reached the summit. Our afternoon snack tasted great. We took in and photographed the beauty sprawled out before us and knew
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