An ode to the every day adventurer

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amounting to Childhood Dreams

On top of Mt. Willard, in Crawford Notch State Park.

On top of Mt. Willard, in Crawford Notch State Park.

Something that has plagued my mind as a young adult is, if I could have met myself at a young age, would I be the person I wanted to grow up to be? I recently found that answer. 

It's hard to imagine yourself at a young age and what your goals were, or to even know if you made goals. I was lucky enough that a 6th grade teacher told me about making goals. He said to make these goals for the future, mid-term, and short term, and to put them above our bed where we could see them every day. I made that list, and it's been taped to the wall in my parent's house for almost 13 years. Some of the goals I had on there were to design rollercoasters, try out for Drum Corps International, a few other things that I don't remember, and then lastly, to be nice to Mom and Dad. (I'm really glad I put that last one on there, because everyone can be a brat sometimes and my parents have always been there for me.) But since then I've always been a goal setter, I've always put big objectives in front of myself and told myself to go get them. 

I got my start in the outdoors with the Boy Scouts. I had some great role models who showed me how to have fun, survive in the woods, teach others, and be respectful to nature and fellow scouts. There were many exciting times. In the winter, our troop would camp out at our local scout camp with 4 feet of snow in the open fields, playing capture the flag late into the night because the moon's reflection was so bright against the white snow it was just like daylight. My Dad still refers to nights like those as "capture the flag nights."  

I developed a love for the outdoors and saw myself being a part of the wilderness as far as the mind could see. 

As a young child of growing up I dreamed of big mountains, of climbing walls and peaks without needing someone there to guide me. I dreamed I would be calm cool and collected in intense situations. I wanted to be one of those rugged people that walked out of the mountains and looked like they had a story to tell. 

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I never really knew if I had become that person until it smacked me on the face. I took a trip up to Acadia and then down into New Hampshire to ice climb with my friend Gabby. After a long day of being cold and climbing our way up Mt. Willard, we had reached the top just as the sun was slowly starting to fade over the tops of the mountains. On the hike back, I couldn't help but smile. I was in the mountains and had a picture perfect day with an awesome friend. It couldn't get any better. Something about opening the trunk of my car when I had arrived back at the parking lot, the sun casting last bits of sunlight, pulling a beer out of a sock for Gabby so it would stay warm enough not to freeze, and my ice climbing gear littered about as the temperatures dipped into the negatives made the moment really special. I really don't know what it was about that moment. But it's moments like those, that if you spend enough time in the wilderness you'll just feel them at random times while not being able to understand it. It was then that I realized if my childhood self had met my current young adult self, I would be happy. Just as happy as I was in that frozen parking lot. 

-Nolan