It amazes me that exactly one year from today Cullen and I started hiking New Hampshire’s 4,000 footers. Now at the time I had virtually no experience in hiking mountains, and hardly any idea what was required to take on such a task. While hiking up our first mountain, Mt. Tecumseh, I couldn’t believe how terribly challenging it was. I found myself struggling with each and every step up (mind you it’s one of the least challenging of the 4,000 footers). When I imagined hiking in the mountains I pictured a series of inclines combined with plenty level sections with jaw dropping vistas. However, on my way up Tecumseh there was hardly any level ground and absolutely no outlooks that made my jaw drop in the slightest bit, but I did find something more impacting.
As I hiked on, I continued to watch Cullen and witness how he navigated his way up the mountain. He found such joy taking pleasure in every single moment spent in the captivating forest. I also noticed how he never strayed too far ahead turning back frequently to make sure my sorry, unprepared, weakened body hadn’t collapsed. This gave me the strength to keep moving, to keep pushing forward, and to not settle.
When we finally reached the summit, which provided a single outlook over the White Mountains, I was lost in such emotions. We had reached the summit of our first mountain on our journey that would unexpectedly change my life. Now at the time of hiking Tecumseh, I was lost in discouragement and doubting our chances at actually finishing all 48. Reflecting on that hike now, I realize it was just the start and that there is no sense in looking at the end when it is only just beginning. Focusing on the present is what is going to get you through to the end. We currently have 16 mountains left and due to the winter we will most likely be taking our time with collecting another one until Mother Nature decides to awake from her sleep and fill these lands with life and vibrant colors. I am spending a lot of time planning the rest of our hikes out to make sure we can finish in the most enjoyable way possible. We will always be out in the woods losing ourselves in nature and the company of each other, but until the weather warms up we will be playing it safe.
We look forward to our future journeys and sharing our experiences. It will be in no time at all that Cullen will be the world’s smallest dog to hike all 48.