Saturday, August 29, 2015

Three Ridges 2015 (Introducing: Positive Scott)

So yeah.  I’ve received quite a bit of hate mail lately.  

“Where’s your stupid blog, Scott?”

“Hope you break your ankle or something, because there’s no excuse for the delay.” (Almost got your wish…more on this later) 

“I know where you live, Scotty Poo.”  (you’re all talk, Corey…but I’m leaving a case of Jack on the front porch to distract you…just in case).

Relax, people.   
This entry has been extremely difficult to write. As I told Bob on the trail: “It’s easy for me to write about all the bad shit… and there hasn’t been anything bad to write about.  It’s tough to write about the good stuff.”  This entry was going to be a little more challenging to write than ones in the past…and I just needed a little time.

A month (or so) ago, I was about 3 miles into our team training hike at Three Ridges Wilderness and climbing to the first overlook.  As the ascent got a little steeper, Bob asked if I’d written the blog entry in my head yet—assuming the hill’s difficulty level would certainly make the blog .  The entire day hikers asked if certain events were going to ‘make the blog’:

Howabout…the nest of angry wasps in the middle of the trail and the ridiculous route we took to avoid them?

Or…The horseman guarding the canyon’s entrance and warning us of its dangers?
The Knight Who Says Neigh
Or….The hellacious climb out of Harper’s Creek canyon?

Rocks are fun, right? Woo hoo!
Or…. Amy’s Hunger Games and her sociopathic tendencies?

Or….The injuries that several of the hikers incurred during their trek? (Tracey, I hope you’re doing better!!)

Or… The deer that challenged me to a duel (spoiler alert: I won).
Outta my way, deer

Of course I could write an amazing blog entry about all the crap we faced on the trail that day, but I’m not.  Instead, I’m going to describe the transformation I experienced on that trail.  

Anyone who’s read my blog entry about the 2013 Three Ridges training hike knows how much I HATED that hike.  I’d never hiked a trail of that length and difficulty level before…and I did it in the pouring rain, nonetheless.  Three Ridges tore me up from head to toe.  Afterwards, I couldn’t walk for a week.  That hike kicked my ass, but it gave me confidence.  I started to understand that I was capable of accomplishing much more than I thought I could.  On that day I knew that I’d need to push myself further for the 31-mile hike, but I knew I could do it.  That hike was one the most physically demanding things I’d ever done, and even though it sucked…it was rewarding.

This year, the hike was different. Three Ridges was easy.  Well, not walk-in-the-park EASY—but easier than it was a couple of years ago.  It wasn’t easy because I was in better shape. I’m not.  I’m a couple years older, have less time to work-out, and I my BMI is way too high.  Apparently I’m doing something wrong? (hint: everything)

Diagnosis: FAT
So why was it easier this time?  Well, the lack of rain probably helped a lot, but that wasn’t the sole reason.  At the top of the first overlook, Michaela asked how I was doing, and my unfiltered, gut response was: "I’m doing awesome."   Two years ago, my gut response may have been: ‘F@#% off,” and then I would’ve spent the next 5 hours swearing at rocks.
I still hate you, rocks.
I think everyone was expecting a different Scott that weekend (and on this blog), but instead they witnessed the emergence of Positive Scott.  Who is Positive Scott? I’m not sure yet.  He's a little weird, but I like having him around—and I think others do too.

Do I know where he came from?  Not really, he just kinda showed up after our team meeting at the trailhead.  They say positive thinking is contagious, so I probably caught it from the other hikers.  As they introduced themselves and told their stories, Negative Scott just faded away.  On this day, there wasn't a place for him on the trail.  Imagine you’re a hiker with cystic fibrosis, and you have to listen to some dude complain about rocks all day.  Or imagine, you’re a recipient of a double-lung transplant, and some asshole is bitching about a blister on his little toe (for the record, we never hiked together because he RAN the trail with his wife).  Most of the hikers have children suffering from CF—and it’s unfair for them to be stuck on a trail with someone who sees the world as three-quarters empty.  It’s IMPOSSIBLE to view the world that way when you’re hiking alongside someone who’s lost a child to a horrible disease.  All of a sudden, hiking 14 miles doesn’t seem like its worth complaining about.  And the amazing thing about all these hikers….NONE of them seem to hate the world…and they have every right to hate it.  But they don’t.  My challenge isn’t hiking 30 miles.  I can do that.  My challenge is waking up and seeing the world like they do.

My old POV (Three Ridges 2013)
My new POV (Three Ridges 2015)

I want people to know Positive Scott.  I owe it to the other hikers. I owe it to my wife and girls, who model what they see at home.  And I owe it to myself—because I’m stuck with myself 24 hours a day, and I know who I’d rather hang out with.

Cookies for breakfast!?
I kicked Three Ridges ass this year—and it felt great—and my body felt great afterwards.  To paraphrase the great Emmet Brickowski : Everything was awesome.  I didn’t get down on myself or the situation, and it’s amazing how much easier everything became. It may seem like common sense—and it confirms all those times that I’ve heard I lack common sense—but life is a whole lot easier if you don’t allow things to trouble you.

Will the blog suck without Negative Scott? Maybe a little. Hell it took me almost a month to write this entry because it’s a huge challenge to write happy, positive stuff without throwing up.  I could write 18 entries about the little wasp that stung me at the post-hike cookout—after I hiked up a hill at an 85-degree grade to avoid a wasp nest.  It would be super-easy to blog about why I hate wasps (the insects…not the people), but I prefer the challenge of doing what's hard.

If you'd like to donate to Positive Scott's hike and support Cystic Fibrosis research, please click HERE:

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