Lessons from the Top

I’m sitting here at the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.  This is the highest peak in the Northeast at 6288 feet.  Mt. Washington boasts the worst weather in the world, with the highest wind speed ever recorded (231mph).  There’s even a building with chains attached to keep it from blowing away.  There are a few ways to get up here; you can hike, bike, drive or even take a train.  The auto road, built in 1853, is the oldest privately owned recreation site in the U.S. It took millions of dollars, a number of lives and two different companies (the first went bankrupt) to complete the monumental project.  Engineers today, with their aerial photography and sophisticated engineering equipment, have reviewed the work of the original road-builder and can’t find ways to make significant improvements to the route. Within a couple of years of the road’s completion, another firm built a railroad to the top, which is still in operation today.  Over 200 people have died on top of Mt. Washington.

As I am sitting here in awe of the view, some thoughts come to mind about the journey and arrival at “the top.”

–                      Drive to the top in low gear.  Getting to the top takes a lot of energy and it’s important to preserve your assets on the drive up.

–                      You can’t get to the top alone.  It takes a lot of resources and people to clear the way to the top.

–                      Not everyone makes it to the top.  Those that don’t aren’t any better or worse then those who do.  They’ve just different skills.  Everyone has something to contribute to the journey.

–               The route to the top is often the one you see first.  Go with your gut…it’s often better to make a quick decision then to analyze things to death.

–                      Look around as you climb to the top.  Slow down.  The views are different and just as breathtaking from every level as you climb to the top.

–                      The closer you get to the top, the harder it is to keep climbing.  Take your time.  Preserve your energy.  You’ll need it.

–                      Be careful on the climb to the top.  Avalanches are more common near the top.

–                      It can be very dangerous at the top.  One wrong step and you can rapidly land at the bottom.

–                      It’s windy at the top.  Like the building with chains, it takes a lot of anchors to keep you at the top.

–                      At the top, you have to always be prepared.   Pack different gear.  The weather changes fast at the top.

–                      Enjoy the view from the top, but don’t dally.  As in basketball, there really isn’t “hang time.” You’re either traveling up to the top

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