Inspired to Climb

About 3 years ago, Derek noticed that the Disney Magic Cruise Ship did a summer trip through Scandinavia that looked incredible.  As soon as he showed it to me, we both agreed that we would have to do this trip as soon as possible.  Possible didn’t come that soon. But after saving up some vacation funds and coordinating a lot of schedules with our friends Mary, Carol, Alinda and Ricky, we all just recently flew from Orlando to London.  A transfer took us to the port and we boarded the Disney Magic that was docked under the White Cliffs of Dover, England!

The ship’s itinerary would take us up the coast of Norway, through the Arctic Circle, around Iceland, south to Scotland and back to Dover, with stops along the way.  As we were planning the excursions in advance of sailing, Alinda and Ricky immediately signed up for a 5 hour hike of “Preikestolen”, also known as Pulpit Rock just outside of Stavanger, Norway.  The pictures and description of the excursion looked incredible, the pinnacle of the hike is a sheer cliff that is 1982 feet above the Lysefjorden. Derek and I had considered doing the climb ourselves but had chosen against it because neither of us wanted to risk getting hurt on day 2 of the cruise. 

What surprised us about Alinda and Ricky signing up for the hike is that Alinda was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease about 2 years ago and Ricky has a very stiff ankle from a previous skiing injury so it just didn’t seem like something they would enjoy.  When we called Alinda to make sure that she had signed up for the correct excursion, she told us that she had noticed that since her diagnosis she had chosen to not move around much.  She would stay seated at her job as much as possible because it was when she moved that she would experience the tremor effects of Parkinson’s.   She had since made the decision that she was tired of being Alinda who has Parkinson’s, she was going to be Alinda who has Parkinson’s**and climbs mountains and Ricky was going to be right by her side, stiff ankle and all. 

After talking to Alinda, Derek and I were inspired to be fearless mountain climbers ourselves so we also signed up for the excursion and started training about 3 months before we left for the trip. Derek joined Jenny Craig and lost 20 pounds while he worked with his trainer Jason at the gym, and I trained on my bike along with some friends from Rotary.  It took some work, but when we got to the base of Pulpit Rock, we were ready to take the risk and climb the mountain.  

The weather was perfect, the trail was treacherous, and the view at the top was awe inspiring.  Alinda and Ricky made it half way up and back. She is actually still recovering from the tremendous effort that she committed to the hike and she had to spend the rest of the vacation in a wheelchair.  Does she regret it?  Alinda who has Parkinson’sandclimbs mountains regrets nothing, and I couldn’t be more proud.

Life throws mountains at us, whether they are in the form of a diagnosis or actual mountains.  We get to choose if we want to take the risk to actually experience the climb exactly as we are, instead of sitting on the sidelines wishing that we were the kind of person that gets to the top. 

We really are what we call ourselves, 

Mark Ramey