Every couple of years, I am blessed to have the opportunity to leave my family and head west. I head west because the mountains call my name. I love unplugging from the 21st Century, backpacking, and pushing myself physically. However, this type of experience is not as memorable unless it is shared with others.
This trip wasn’t my idea. My good friend viewed my previous photos and asked me to design a trip out west as a fitness goal. The only stipulation was to make it picturesque.
Choosing the location was easy. I chose The Cloud Peak Wilderness Area of the Big Horn Mountains located west of Buffalo, WY. The pictures and blog posts of previous visitors to the C.P.W.A. did not mislead in their descriptions. Each step was an amazingly beautiful, 360 degree view!
I should have mentioned earlier that none of the other three hikers had ever backpacked and two of them had never camped! This type of trip has the potential to be very dangerous. For starters, we are all in our mid 30’s and taking novices into the backcountry can be risky. The risk factor crossed my mind during the hike several times. We had to cross many streams, hike through a snow covered trail, equivalent to a 12X12 pitched roof, where one slip would have ended in certain death 1000 feet later, and be aware that we were visitors in a land with much larger animals than we find in the Midwest, out homeland.
Keeping these men safe was of utmost concern to me. Each of them are fathers and husbands to wives who have questioned the sanity of such a trip to different degrees for different reasons. Our group met several times over the course of this past year. We reviewed gear, menus, and two of us did a two night training weekend along the Pictured Rock National Shoreline in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Our planning provided a worry free, exhilarating time for these men.
On the way home, one of the men (far right in the photo above) mentioned something every leader should hear. He said that he was able to enjoy our trip to the fullest because he TRUSTed me. I was flattered. His comments are much larger than leading backpacking trips to the mountains. Teachers need to have trust in their leaders to fully engage in new initiatives, take risks with their own innovations, and to implement the latest web tools of the 21st Century. As the new school year approaches in Wisconsin, I will use his comment as a leadership filter to remind me that schools are less about things and soooo much more about relationships centered around trust.
<a href=" Peak Photos