Conquering new heights in 2014

With 2014 off and running, I wanted to take a moment and share something with you…it’s a ritual I try to perform every New Year’s Day. Since joining the Blue Ridge Mountain Club family, my tradition has been to take a long, challenging, solo hike early New Year’s Day.

The purpose is to symbolically start the year fresh, by rejuvenating myself and gaining a new perspective by experiencing something rare and inspiring. This has become important to me personally because it is a reminder that I can overcome any challenge. By scaling new heights, I am left motivated, galvanized, and filled with unique sense of accomplishment.

This year, as in years past, I hiked up to Calloway Peak, which is the highest point on Grandfather Mountain. As many of you know, Grandfather is the highest peak in the Blue Ridge at 5,946 feet, and is distinguished as a world’s biosphere reserve. While the terrain and ascent ratio are not extraordinarily challenging, it can be quite demanding in winter months, as the cold, the wind, and the ice can make trail conditions impassible at times. The total distance is seven miles and there are more than 2,000 vertical shifts in elevation between the start and the peak.

Last year I was unsuccessful in my attempt due to icy trail ladders and poor conditions, but this year, I was able to make it all the way to the top—weary, but thoroughly gratified. My Reward: a sense of accomplishment, and the resolute belief that 2014 will be a great year at Blue Ridge Mountain Club…a year of new heights for all of us.