The Climb

He was pissed at his daughter. Raising his voice, a few choice cuss words, some clear disappointed dad comments.

“But Miley…”

I had just rolled into the suite pregame, making my rounds as a young sales guy in a new big boy job. My suit, a touch too big, which fit the role I was in perfectly.

In way over my head, I wondered but never asked anyone, “Why is Billy Ray Cyrus yelling at my daughters’ (then) pop icon, Hannah Montana in front of all these people?”

Raising daughters in the 2000’s included a heavy dose of this show, but awkward dad / daughter moment aside, what comes to mind quickest for me now is when she embraced her real name as Miley Cyrus and sang, “The Climb.”

I mean, come on. It wasn’t Taylor Swift “Love Story” strong, but it was strong.

A couple weeks ago, we found ourselves in the mountains of Colorado, on our 5th and final 10-year-old trip. Our baby is a decade old. 😳

The first night, my 909′ above sea level legs (who thought they were in pretty good running shape) set out to run a “moderate” Breckenridge 4 mile trail that started about 10,000 feet.

I wasn’t even 45 seconds in before I thought my lungs were going to combust. Not in mountain shape. Not even close.

For the next 1.25 miles, it was a fits and starts, huff and puff, jog and walk, bend over and put my hands on my knees, gasp for air, kind of stretch.

Then it started raining.


Not my idea of a day one mountain workout.

I was millimeters in my mind from quitting and turning back around. But something kept me stumbling up the mountain.

Pride, perhaps. But also the call of what the ascent literally always brings.

The payoff.

I wheezed my way forward another three-quarters of a mile, and yep, there it was.

Not sure how it’s even possible, but at the top of this trail was a giant, flat meadow, with a beautiful lake nestled in the middle.

The sun poked through, literally and also proverbially, into my soul.

The silence, stillness, and stunning scenery were almost too much to take in. It filled me.

The whole thing felt metaphoric.

Life, lots of times, feels like a wheezing, tripping on roots, twisting your ankle on rocks, short of breath, millimeters from shutting it down, falling forward kind of experience.

It doesn’t always end with rays of sunshine, but the journey itself, the hard ass, painful ascent is the actual reward and payoff.

Unless, of course, you have a dad with a mullet who is disappointed in you.

If that’s the case, I don’t really know what to say.

But, I think Miley had at least one thing right, it’s the climb.

So don’t quit. ⛰

Follow My Blog to Get the Daily Story

Copyright © 2024 Justin Ricklefs. All Rights Reserved.