Friday, November 29, 2013

Testing One's Mettle

When my brother and sister-in-law visited last weekend, we naturally spent time conversing and catching up somewhat on what's been going on in our lives -- new job, progress on editing of book prior to publication, news of another expected grandchild, an engagement in the family, etc. etc.
This picture shows them reading the latest 'R Family Newsletter' which just came that morning - another means of catching up.

Susan related that her brother had taken four weeks off from work this past summer to hike the Superior Trail from Canada back home to Duluth  - something like close to 300 miles. Having driven the scenic North Shore Drive along Lake Superior several years ago, I assumed the hiking trail somewhat paralleled this, which it does.

Construction of the trail began about thirty years ago and was inspired by the Appalachian Trail. I have long been captivated by this type of personal accomplishment. Whether you think of it as "man against nature", "testing one's mettle", or "into the wild", it is something I have many times thought about doing. I like the idea of discovering my own inner strengths alone in nature.
Alas, I have waited too long for such adventure. My knees barely allow one or two miles on a treadmill. Still, I harbor the idea. If and when the time comes I'm ready to leave this lifetime, testing my mettle in the midst of Mother Nature is one way I can imagine going.

These are some scenes along the North Shore Drive taken in the late 90's.

There are many lighthouses along the shore as well as waterfalls, state parks, museums, shopping and dining.

Here I am along the Lake Superior shore line. The definition of mettle is the courage to carry on. Testing one's mettle is seeing if you have the heart to carry on when the going gets tough. It can be mental as well as physical toughness. When I think back over my life, there have been times my mettle has been tested. Still, just not quite the way I have always thought about doing it - alone, in the wilderness, journaling my thoughts and revelations for a week or two. What would I learn about myself?

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