Slippery Slopes Call For Hope

May 27, 2013

Majestic. Breathtaking. Inspiring. Staggeringly Beautiful. All of these things describe the landscapes and scenic views of New Zealand. To them, I add rugged, icy, steep, intimidating, chilling, formidable, untamed and unpredictable. For some, these words may deter or even frighten. However, I propose that such descriptors are authentic and just as remarkable. It’s all about the hope you pack on your adventure.

For instance, 4 hours can seem like a blip on the universal radar, until you are 20 minutes into a vertical climb up a steep hill against cold, drizzling rain. Without hope of reaching the summit, hope that your legs will hold out and hope for the views you anticipate ahead, such a hike could tempt you to turn back. But, like life, it’s your choice to push ahead or fold.

The hike into Fox Glacier

The hike into Fox Glacier

In my case, the trek in to meet the Fox Glacier face to face was the most arduous part of the journey. Feeling the shift in elevation from the sea level I am accustomed to, seeing the potential drop off to my immediate right and sensing the burn for air in my chest, there was a moment of anxiousness and a fleeting question, “Can I do this?” Deep breaths, calm thoughts and hopeful concentration won out.

Dizzy with excitement

Dizzy with excitement

Knowing that the steepest climb was over sparked further hope and glee within me. Just seeing this amazing force of nature offered a priceless perspective to the seemingly immense setbacks in life. How could anything be monumental next to this?

First glimpse of the icy giant

First glimpse of the icy giant

On any challenging course, it never hurts to band together. And, of course, it’s best to pack hope (and perhaps hot cocoa).

Half of our glacier party

Half of our glacier party

Winds, snow, wet terrain, icy pools and sharp slopes could make the heart skip a beat. Ok, maybe once or twice it did. Still, it’s the willpower to keep moving, the faith that your footing will be right, and the knowledge that you must trust yourself and your guide. Again, I’m hiding no parallels to everyday life.

A close up of the glacier

A close up of the glacier

There are even times that will surprise and stun you in the same instant. Reaching the clouds, for example, yet not knowing what is over that icy horizon line . . . it means that you need to have hope to dance on the edge between stability and possibility.

Clouds meet frigid earth

Clouds meet frigid earth

Tumbling rocks (yes, we heard several landslides rumbling from heights far above), like the bumps you face in work, life or personal relationships, may try to jar you from holding on to hope. They may even threaten your sense of comfort. Let the fear fall, not your spirits.

Hopeful and invigorated

Hopeful and invigorated

The way you climb to your dreams may require carving a path unlike others and may even mean working each moment to keep your footing, but it will pay off in stunning ways.

Steps carved into the glacier

Steps carved into the glacier

Remember, slopes only appear slippery without the right gear (character, talent, perspective) and can be conquered with an indomitable feeling of hope.

Tucked into a moulin

Tucked into a moulin

Enjoy every step you take and freeze every positive memory in your mind to draw from later.

P.S. I hope wherever my scarf ended up that it brings a spark of warm joy to its new owner.

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