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Bucket List

January 15, 2014
North Cascades

North Cascades. Photo by Michelle Miller.

I’ve never made one.  I’ve never planned my experiences; I’ve blissfully relied on happenstance.  When opportunity arrives, hold on tight. I admire the organized dreamers who sign up for the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer wanting to check Mt. Rainier or Mt. Kilimanjaro off their bucket list.  I’m impressed by anyone who has one.

I climbed Mt. Baker in 2002 after a dear friend and cancer survivor suggested I sign up.  I’ve been back nearly every year and always think of her when choosing my annual mountain peak. This year it’s a big one. There will be more to come on that.

Between work, errands, Crossfit and removing my very dry Christmas tree, I came up with a few bucket list items of my own.  When I think about it, it’s the small things I never get to, that inspire me.  There are endless far away places I long to explore, but the paradises close to home are paramount.

  • Climb Mt. Hood (11,237 ft) – I’ve stood on top before. It’s been a few years since the stars have lined up for me.  I’d like to be on the summit of Mt. Hood on June 15 with the first Climb to Fight Breast Cancer team this season.
  • Snow camp at Reflection Lake – It’s a place hundreds of people visit each season in Mt. Rainier National Park.  This year I hope to be one of them.
  • Hike the Wonderland Trail (the 93 miles that encircle Mt. Rainier) – I’ll take it anyway I can get it, solo or alongside friends. You call me and I’ll be there.
  • Visit Acadia National Park, Maine – I dream about watching the sun rise over America.
  • Summit Mt. Shasta (14,179 ft) – My first Memorial Day attempt was accompanied by high winds and a foot of snow dropping on my tent.  I’d like to try again this summer.
  • The Enchantments  (Eastern Washington) – Sigh.  This trek has been on my mind for a few years.

After I came up with the travel log bucket list, I thought about some real memories I’d prefer not to miss.

  • Every family moment I can imagine; graduations, birthdays, and all the “firsts” that come along with those.
  • Prom dress shopping with my niece. She lost her mother to stage 4 colon cancer and I promise to be there for her.
  • Endless hours of belly laughs with my bestie.
  • Time spent watching the wild life in my own back yard (Blue Heron, deer, coyotes, birds and spawning salmon).
  • Continuing to support the life-saving research I get to witness at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

That’s a pretty good start, right? The New Year is promising.  It’s about hope for the future, forgiveness for the past, and anticipation of the windy trails ahead.

Climb a Mountain. Save a Life.

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