Aron’s book somehow struck a nerve with me and remains my favorite non-fiction adventure book to this day. What people don’t realize about him is that his epic 6 day ordeal was merely one misadventure in a string of near misses and wanderings. As I read about his weekend warrior journeys and inevitable life change to follow his dreams in the mountains, I couldn’t help but be inspired to challenge myself to complete something bigger than myself and escape my day to day doldrums existence.
My husband and I had been married about 4 years- long enough to be settling in to one another, financially stable, and were verified (as my father-in-law likes to say) DINKS- double income, no kids. We were used to our jobs as teachers, gaining some respect as professionals, and past the green-eyed transition from college lifestyle to home owners. Life was stable, easy, and full of possibility. Yet something was still missing, some scratch needed itched.
I guess I should tell you a little about myself and why I don’t let the dust settle under my feet for long. I grew up as a competitive swimmer, earning a college scholarship, and qualifying for the Olympic Trials. Years of early morning practices, 6 days a week of high intensity physical activity, and the rush and adrenaline of high level competition has conditioned me toward self-discipline, physical pursuit, and a need to have a goal or vision of the future to draw me forward.
So when I read about Aron’s goal to climb all 14ers, solo, in the winter, I looked in the mirror and asked myself “So what are you going to do?” My antsy nature and feeling of being challenged to do more took hold and my own scheme was hatched. My husband and I decided to challenge ourself for the calendar year by beginning something new- The Dozen Dozen. We would backpack a dozen times overnight at a distance of at least a dozen miles.
We bought backpacks solely on a hunch that we wold love it because we loved camping and being outdoors. The expert at our local gear shop was very patient with us as he showed us how to load a pack and navigated us through the maze of gear options and basics.
We penciled in every location within 3 hours of home and took to the maps of Hoosier National Forest, Land Between the Lakes, and the Deam Wilderness. We found locations to backpack while traveling with family in Wisconsin, and quickly had a trip or two each month planned out.
However, our adventure was cut just shy of a dozen when our greatest life adventure unfolded after only ten of our trips... we were going to be parents.