Archive for the ‘mentor’ Category

Mt. Whitney Hike – A Rarefied Experience

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

A Rarefied Experience:
My Mom passed away Jan. 10 of this year and that ended the Cancer Warrior Moms time period that spanned three years. If you remember my Mother-in-law also fought her brain cancer and passed away a year and a half ago and with universal timing working perfectly one month later my Mom moved in when she could no longer care for herself having been fighting the war for the last three years. So in Feb. with an upcoming big birthday in April I decided to do something BIG. So I asked my three hiking buddies (my husband and two other husbands of camping/hiking friends) if they wanted to hike Mt. Whitney this year. They all said yes and I put in for the lottery.

The Mt. Whitney hike can be done in one day and is probably one of the most amazing one day hikes around as it goes up to the top of the highest peak in the continental US. Mt. Whitney stands a little over 14,500 feet. I won the lottery!!

June 29th was the day given to us to hike. One of our A-team members dropped out due to a medical issue. We started our five month long training hiking mostly every weekend and doing P90X workouts 3-4 days a week during the strength building push.

During the training we all had to upgrade our hiking boots to waterproof ones and we also added sweetfeet inserts as the down part of all the hikes were grueling on the feet. And to our great surprise, this doable one day hike, turned into a full mountaineering trek due to the more than normal snow accumulation this year. At one sports shop I was asking about the little attachments to our boots for not slipping on ice. The technically savvy guide asked where we were going and then showed us these “crampons” with 10 points measuring over 2.5 inches long each and said we’d need them. He also handed me an ice axe and said I’d need that too. I ask why? He said “to arrest your fall.” I did a double take, turned to my husband and informed him that I didn’t sign up for any fall I needed to arrest!!

Well keeping an eye on the Whitney blogs, reading and researching as much as we could we eventually did procure crampons and ice axe and scheduled hikes in the snow so we could “practice” with crampons and hiking poles, crampons and ice axe, hiking poles alone and then the looks-like-fun-but-dangerous glissading. Glissading is sliding on your butt over the softer snow on very steep slopes with an ice axe, anchored to your wrist, used as rudder and definitely learned the flip over to stomach, self arrest and not go flying off any cliffs!

In the last weeks up to the trip we hiked Mt. San Gregornio, Mt. Baldy, Rock Creek, went to Mammoth to acclimate, and all the ascents we could around the Pasadena, Malibu, Topanga, and the drivable local mountains.

Going up a few days early to acclimate and do a few other high altitude hikes we felt very prepared. I was drinking coco leaf tea of the kind that was given to us in Cusco, Peru as a remedy for altitude sickness nonstop. Also, Maca is a Peruvian root used for hormonal health that is also used to treat altitude sickness. I was determined not to get sick! We hyper hydrated, ate a lot to build up our stores and then at 1 am on the morning of June 29th, we set out with our 20 pound packs.

We heard that 6,000 calories are burned during this one day trek and after experiencing it I’m sure that’s an understatement. Reports from other folks and from our informal question asking at the ranger station about 20% of those granted permits made it up to the top that week.

I can no longer call it a hike because it was so much more than that. A hike doesn’t usually got up, over, through, many mountain sides, multiple meadows, cliffs, ice fields, snow chutes longer and steeper than any double black diamond ski run I’ve ever been on. Now I say journey (ordeal sort of matched but had more of a negative connotation) and I’m sure I didn’t get up my self. Not only were my hiking companions helpful but with that much time to think and work and experience mountain highs (literally) I know beyond a shadow of doubt that we had help from God/Universe/Mother Nature to get us safely up and down. The experience changed each of us, we are no longer the same person who started up that mountain range.

So we accomplished a great goal and have been feeling the rush of it as well as being exceptionally tired since we returned. I’m also experiencing a sort of lull as I’m thinking “now what?”

I did put together a video and put it on youtube (you can find it if you search for “Ragan Whitney”) but the link is posted above. That was fun and therapeutic.

Oh, I have a new word, mantra:
Rarefied – this means
the air of high altitude, less oxygen
belonging to a select group
a grand purpose, lofty goals
of high moral or intellectual value
esoterically different from the concerns of ordinary people

Financial Freedom = Financial Sucess?

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Most people think that financial success is a very visual thing with a high paying job, house in an expensive area, driving expensive cars and spending lavishly on vacations, parties and anything and everything else. But really, does SPENDING money like that mean financial sucess?

Most often not. We have seen this over the last few years. Those people who were on the “top” of the neighborhood silently disappear after the economic downturn and they somehow were not able to hold on to some of their assets. Some lost their homes in foreclosure and short sales and some had to move to lesser digs so that they could then unload their heavy chains of debt loading them down. These folks didn’t do what almost all financial advice says to do as one of the first or second steps. Build up several months of emergency funds to pay for all expenses in case the money stops coming in. Well when times are tough you must have savings to lean on.

Also with real estate I found it very troubling that all the real estate seminars promising that if you follow their directions (and buy into their courses, programs or plans) then you can’t help but get rich. But real estate must be treated differently than any other more liquid investment. If you can’t find a renter and the market values tumble then you have to have that holding emergency source of cash to stay with the long term plan for the long term. It’s also no time to then listen to those gurus telling you that you should have listened to them and gotten out. I believe real estate is a long term investment. I never really bought into the short term get rich real estate methods. That was just too risky because you have to have the staying power if you can’t get out when you wanted to. So since you have to plan for the long term why not work the plan into your nest building?! So take this lesson deeply into heart – real estate is a major investment and you must have a lot of emergency money set aside just for each property.

I love the book the Millionaire Next Door.

In this book you find out and based on research that the average millionaire is someone you don’t think is a millionaire. They don’t waste money on those visual things that most people associate with being wealthy. They buy used cars and drive them ten years, they don’t waste money on super fancy clothing with star studded name brands, and they make it their first priority to pay them selves first! This means that for every dollar they earn they put aside a percentage (at least 10%) into their investments. They learn to live on much less than they earn and this is the real difference. The more you save and invest the faster you will get to financial freedom.

As for Financial Freedom, what does that mean to you? To me it means that you have been investing and have passive income coming in that is equal to or more than your expenses. See this as math problem PassiveIncome minus Expense equals Success
So when Passive income equals Expenses you no longer have to work although you probably still want to do the work that you love. But you get to choose. The second term expenses you want to keep at a minimum, expecially fixed expenses since those can’t be changed as easily. In the Millionaire book you find that Millionaires are somewhat “cheap” (an outdated term if there ever was one) meaning they don’t want to part with even a dollar unless it makes sense. Looking at the math term above if you can keep expenses low then the passive income needed for your financial freedom is that much lower and more easily attainable! Isn’t that reason for doing that?

Bottom line, our country needs to change their perception of financial success, learn about passive income and make saving and investing in our future the number ONE priority!

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Please comment and share. Thank you.