Astounding Ourselves

Lazy and Unmotivated.

Those were two words that up until 8 months ago described me.

However, on Sunday, those words were forever removed from my permanent file. The final check was placed on my goals I set back in February, and I  finished feeling tired and beaten up, but OH so wonderful.

It took me a while to Realize it, but there is a fierce warrior that resides in me, and I think I like her.  She came out when I stopped saying, “I wish I could do that”, and I started DOING IT. No longer did I live on the Border of something wonderful.. I was there.

One of my favorite  quotes comes form Thomas Edison,

“If we did all the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

How true it that? So often we dream big dreams, but we fail to seek fulfillment of them because we tell ourselves….. “I can’t”

Sunday I made the trek up to the top of Mt. LeConte once again. There are 5 trails leading up to the lodge, and I had tackled 4 of them.  I saved the final trail, Trillium, until the end because it is a special trail. Three times a week llamas make their way up the 6.7 miles to the lodge to bring resupplies of food, linens, and other items needed for the staff and guest. They are the only form of resupply… and they are also just incredible to see.

I was excited to get the trip started. I had so many plans for the day. The weather was to be perfect. I was feeling great. The sky was the limit.

Oh if only things had worked out that way……

I woke up cranky and moody right from the start. I got started late. My foot hurt. Traffic was horrid going into the mountains….and I just didn’t want to go. But go I did.  I pulled up to the trailhead and took my picture to celebrate  my 5th and final trail up this year.

The start of my day.

Away I went.

Instantly I was in pain. My foot was throbbing, my hands were cold, and I just wanted to be back home in my warm and comfy bed. The first mile I grumbled and whined.  As I approached Grotto Falls, I was finally starting to settle down and find some peace.

Grotto Falls

The morning was starting to dawn, and I realized today was the day I was going to finally finish something I stated. Adrenaline fired through me and I started making some good time up the mountain.

Can you just not FEEL the beauty??????

As I got closer to the lodge, the climb became more difficult. Rocky ledges, and log steps made the climb even more difficult on my very short and stubby legs.

My spirit started to dampen. The pain in my foot was almost to the point of unbearable at this point.

“What am I thinking doing this? There is no way. I just can’t”

My mind and my body were both spent. This was too much. Here I was at the end and I wanted to quit.

I was done.


I sat down….and I cried.


It is a good thing this was a pretty deserted trail, because I don’t think anyone would have liked coming up on me being an emotional wreck at this point. My frustrations and emotions were not only coming out in tears, but verbally as well.

“I HATE this! I HATE my foot. I HATE my body. I HATE this trail. I QUIT!”

“Are you quite done now?

“NO! I’m angry and I want everyone to know!”

“You do know you are alone right?”


“Remember…..He who started this work in you will see you through it…. to the very end. Philippians 1:6”

“But I hurt. I am tired. I am hungry.”

“Eat a snack. Drink some water. Move your rump. I will get you to the top.”

So I did…. I ate my snack.  Drank some water. And started moving. Within minutes I smelled it….. the smell of fresh pine and balsam.  If you could smell the picture below you would be jealous…. imagine Christmas.  That’s what it smells like.

 I had made it.

The very first thing I see as I enter the lodge? The one thing I had walked all this way to see… staring down at me… as if to ask…”What took you so long?”

The first llama I encountered

I spent the next 20 minutes forgetting about my foot, my rumbling belly, or even letting my mother know I had made it to the top.  It was time to play with my new friends!

Taking a break before heading back down the mountain.

Always dreamed of getting a selfie with these guys!

All the pain, agony, annoyances, frustrations…..were gone. The list was complete. It was all over.

As I went to the dining room to eat my lunch the realization that I had just finished what I sat out to do hit me.  I had done it. Every item on the list was done.  Complete. I had not left one thing unchecked, no stone unturned, no mile not accounted for.

For the second time during the day…. I cried.

But there wasn’t much time for celebration. I saw a hiking friend I had not see in a while and we caught up over some lunch.

I met a sweet friend for lunch!

Then it was time to take in the lodge and the views from the Cliff Tops. ………

Looking up at the lodge from the bottom of steps at the dining hall.

No words needed…..this is HOME!

Even though I had seen the view several times before, it never fails to take my breathe away.  I am so blessed to live in the most beautiful of places.

I let the beauty soak in and I chatted with other folks up on the mountain taking it all in for the first time. One lady was overcome with emotion as she looked out at the mountains, and said in amazed wonder…. “I did it… I walked up here. God is good.” I don’t think any truer words were spoken on the mountain that day.

It was getting time for me to leave the lodge. I took my time coming down from the Cliff Tops, because I wanted to enjoy every moment as I made my exit.

Looking down at Lodge…. that is the dining hall in center.

This was my 7th time up this season, but the wonder and majesty of it just gets me each and every time.

Mountain ash is everywhere right now.

As I descended the mountain I thought over all I had done this year…or actually the past 8 months. I had started out only wanting to do 100 miles, but when I finished this trek I would have 390. I had pushed through fear, doubt, pain, sickness, anxiety, frustration, heat, cold, wind, fog, rain, and snow. There were times I have sat down ready to quit.

But I never did.

I always got back up.

Sadly, this is was my last hike for a while. The next day, I went back to my Dr. knowing something was terribly wrong.

I was right.

My Achilles tendon in my heel is damaged and on the verge of rupture if I continue right now.

Sadness consumed me…but not for long.

I have made myself incredibly proud. I set out to do something and I DID it. Even when I didn’t want to. Even when it hurt. Even when it cost me my mobility.

Friend, don’t waste precious time sitting telling yourself you can’t.


Me, the most unmotivated person ever created, just proved your theory wrong. It is totally possible. You are fully capable. You just have to be willing to want it bad enough to work for it.

Don’t waste another day planning or dreaming…. go DO IT.

Astound yourself!


A little of my year!


13 thoughts on “Astounding Ourselves

  1. WOW! You make me weep. Congratulations, Jess! I’m off to get the leash and take Ginger down to the trail, vicariously soaring to the heights with you (though we are at sea level) … my little victory is that I’m actually walking for the first time in a long time! Thank you for inspiring us all to reach!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your truly inspiring. I have trouble walking from one room to another. Tomorrow I’m going to push pride aside get my moms walker out and attempt my short driveway. Congrats on your accomplishments.

    Liked by 1 person

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