The Dawn Wall

Have you ever come to that point in your life where you felt like everything you worked for and thought it was going to be came to screeching stop?  Where you just thought to yourself “I just don’t know that I can go any further”?  I’m confident we have all had these moments.  Some of them have in small doses.  Some of them have in huge life altering events.  Regardless of the size of these moments, at the time they are happening they seem insurmountable.  The fact that we are all here reading this at this very moment is proof that they are not.  Somehow our inner tenacity pushed through and knocked down that Bully inside us who convinced life was over.

I watched a really cool documentary the other week about Tommy Caldwell a world-famous climber who hit rock bottom (pun intended) and then decided to make arguably the most difficult free climb in the world.  The Dawn Wall of El Capitan.  He did this after being held hostage by terrorist, cutting off a finger by accident with a table saw, and losing the love of his life.  Some people said he got obsessed with it.  Others just said that he had lost his mind.  What I found interesting about him is how he approached it.

He saw that there had to be a way.  No matter how small, there just had to be and he would find it.  He would do this for himself and then later for his friend climbing with him.  He spent months hanging on the wall looking for a route.  Planning what each stage would be.  How each hold could be done.  Then, when it became time to start, the climb was so challenging there was a section of it he STILL didn’t know how he was going to cross.  It wasn’t until the moment came to cross this broken area that he paused, rethought his original plan. Instead of moving up the wall like he anticipated he climbed down the wall and around the gap on the other side.  He set out with one idea and the wall changed him.  He took what he was given and didn’t allow what was behind him to hold him back.  He allowed himself to change because of what was in front of him.

Now I am doing a lousy job surmising this incredible documentary.  Why am I rambling about all of this and what could it possibly have to do with hiking or getting fit?  Our minds drive us to do things to our bodies.  Good and bad.  If we can’t see the future based on what we have right in front of us, how can we ever shape our bodies to be prepared for that life?  I believe that physical and mental health are intertwined.  I know that when I’m feeling good about myself, I work out harder, I drink less, and I make healthier food decisions.  When I’m feeling lousy, oh boy!! That growler and pizza better look out because I’m gonna put a hurt on them!! I don’t think I’m alone in this.  Watching Tommy Caldwell climb that wall reminded me that an open mind and optimism about what is right in front of us can make us better people.   Something to think about on our next walk in the woods.

See ya all on the trail

Published by Michael Brookshire

Philly guy hiking his way to fitness

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