Take a Hike

A question…as you just read the title of this blog; did you sense a negative connotation?  I want a word or two with the person who first uttered these three words as an insult!  In fact, as I’ve learned since my first honest to goodness hike as an adult on January 1st of this year, “take a hike” is a phrase fraught with meaning – adventure, exhilaration, even spirituality.  “Take a hike” has become music to my ears.

Is it possible to reinvent yourself at 57 years of age…or at any age?  Yes!  Yes, it is.  Our company attracts heroes – seemingly normal, average people who reach deep into their soul’s divine center and accomplish the amazing.  These individuals lift us all.

Under a big tent at Snowbird in 1995, I was asked to take a few moments during the third annual USANA Convention and talk about the success I’d experienced since I’d launched my business a little over a year earlier.  Brand new to the public speaking arena (and with knees shaking uncontrollably) I shared one of my favorite poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox  entitled “Lifters and Leaners.”  In a nutshell, Ms. Wheeler promotes the idea that all the world’s masses can be divided into just two classes…you got it, lifters and leaners.  I remember hearing this poem over twenty years ago and thinking, this woman has pretty much figured out the secret to a fulfilling life.  If we concentrate our time, talent and energy lifting others, through some irrefutable energy, our own lives are elevated.   Ironically, one of my heroes and a fellow hiking/climbing/trekking enthusiast, Steve Netherby, recently sent me a quote he knew I’d love and when I realized it was written by this same insightful poet – Ella Wheeler Wilcox, I wasn’t surprised.

“Change is the watchword of progression.
When we tire of well-worn ways, we seek for new.
This restless craving in the souls of men
Spurs them to climb, and seek the mountain view.”

Apparently, this restless craving Ms. Wilcox refers to was lying dormant in my soul when I received an e-mail message over the holidays from another of my personal heroes, Werner Berger.  I met Werner through USANA nearly fifteen years ago and I’ve watched in star-struck awe as Werner has summitted peak after daunting peak, constantly striving for higher ground, becoming in 2007, the oldest North American and the fourth oldest person in the world to summit Mt. Everest at 29,035 feet – literally standing on top of the world.

Now, when Werner Berger sends you a personal e-mail outlining his upcoming intention to lead thirty or so USANA distributors on a spiritual, physical and emotional adventure of a lifetime – a 20-day trek to the a landscape he knows and loves; the Base Camp of Mt. Everest…well, to make a long story a little shorter…I gave birth to that restless craving and said, YES!  Then, just to cover my bases and insure I had strong men to carry me off the mountain should that need arise, I invited my sons Dax, Zak and Ryan (Sharlie’s husband) to join me.  And with that, our journey began.

I have become a hiking enthusiast.  For some reason built into my genetic code, when I decide to do something that at first glance seems impossible for me (especially if I’m told I can’t possibly do it), I pull out all the stops and become somewhat irrational in my determination and commitment.

REI is my new favorite shopping destination.  I spend hours on websites having to do with hiking, climbing and the gear that goes along with this passion.  I know a lot about liner socks, mole skin, hydration and sweat-proof sunscreen.  I’ve picked up some dangerous addictions: www.steepandcheap.com being a prime example.  I signed on as a member of www.trails.com and I scour our area for challenging new trails learning in the process that Southern California is a hiker’s paradise.

Ric and I can literally walk out our front door and start climbing – a fact we didn’t realize when we purchased our ranch house on three acres a little over a year ago.  I placed a couple beautiful wicker rockers and a matching swing on our wide front porch and envisioned us rocking away, sipping our chamomile tea, content to slow down the pace a bit and simply enjoy this life we’ve built for ourselves.


As it turns out, I’m chugging Rev3 and hiking for five or six hours several days a week with my husband and sons cheering me on and usually waiting at the top of the next incline for me.  They’re all far more fit than I am, but they are my most ardent supporters and I want more than anything to measure up to their expectations.  To accomplish that end I’m demanding more of myself than I ever have.  Pat Barry, another USANA associate who has come into my life and become a cherished friend and mentor agreed to be my personal trainer.  When I’m not hiking the hills or training with Pat, I’m at our local gym on the stairmaster or elliptical machine.  I thought by now I’d be thin but alas, that hasn’t happened.   However, I learned during my quick trip to Sanoviv two weeks ago, my body fat percentage has dropped by about 12% and has been replaced by lean muscle.  Yes, Dr. Strand…I know that’s a good thing…but I’d still like to get thin.  Perhaps a diet of Yak stew (really, that’s what Werner says we’ll be eating!) might do the trick.

So, here are a few of the hundreds of pictures we’ve taken over the past four months.  Isn’t the scenery breathtaking?  And I’m pretty sure it’s only going to get better from here on out.  We leave for Kathmandu on the first of May and if all goes well, I’ll be in Hong Kong at our International Celebration to give a full report of what it felt like to stand in the shadow of the tallest mountain on earth.

Zak, me, and Ryan
Me and Ric
Lake Hodges
Chicks dig scars

Ryan, me, and Zak testing our poles
Dax soaking his legs after the Catalina Marathon
Ryan, me, and Zak at Lake Hodges
Ric and me
Hiking in the snow at Tahquitz Peak with Zak and Ryan
Tahquitz Peak – before

Tahquitz Peak – after

When writing blogs, I feel a responsibility to provide tips and ideas for my USANA family, some little nugget that might help you in building your own USANA business.  So, here is my tip for this month:
If the mountain were smooth, we couldn’t climb it.

God Speed –


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