Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When We Are Climbing Mountains, We Just Have to Keep Going

Last week my oldest son Taylor and I hiked up Mt. Mansfield, which is Vermont's highest peak. It was something that Taylor has wanted to do for quite a while but we had just not gotten to it yet. Now that he has graduated high school and will be leaving for college next week, we realized we needed to make the hike before the opportunity passed. So we filled our backpacks with two days worth of food, hitched our sleeping bags to the packs and started up the mountain.

I am 43 years old, 25 pounds overweight and my right leg is wired, screwed and pinned together with a rod running up the interior of my leg bone due to a serious automobile accident I was in over a decade ago. Though I love to walk each morning, there is a big difference between taking a walk on familiar roads around my home and climbing the tallest mountain in our rugged state! Needless to say, it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

There were a number of times during the journey that I was not sure I was going to make it. At one point we were scrambling over jagged rocks over 3000 feet up the mountain. One spot we had to climb through was so tight we had to take our backpacks off and squeeze them through before we could wedge ourselves through the hole. I did wonder at one point if I was going to die on that mountain. But I kept telling myself to just keep going. I told myself over and over again "do not stop, do not stop, even though it is so much harder than I thought it would be and my leg hurts really bad, just keep going." I knew that if I ever stopped, I might not get moving again. I kept focused on my goal, which was to reach the top of the mountain with my son and spend the night in a rustic cabin maintained by the Green Mountain Trail Club.

I am happy to report that we made it to top of the mountain and then over the ridge to the cabin where we stayed through the night with 6 other hikers during one of the most horrific thunder storms I have ever witnessed. Then we hiked down the next day with the runoff from the thunderstorm making the path a virtual waterfall that we had to hike through for hours. It was a once in a lifetime experience with my son and I am so glad I got to do it with him. And I admit that I am secretly hoping my younger son will prefer a Caribbean cruise for his last father/son bonding event before going to college in two years!!!

I learned a number of things during that hike, which I will be blogging about all this week. But the first thing I learned is that when we have a goal in mind, we must stay focused on it and keep moving toward it. We may experience pain along the way, but we must keep going. We may have some tight spots to squeeze through, but we must keep going. We may have some unexpected delays along the way, but we must keep going. If we hope to achieve our goals in life, we must learn to just keep going until we have climbed all the mountains in our path.

This truth about pressing onward toward the goal is true in father/son bonding experiences but it is also true in all other areas of life. I am reminded of what the apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:13-14, "Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus." Let us press onward today toward the goal, which is the heavenly call of Jesus Christ. If we make knowing Christ the chief goal in our lives and just keep going, we will climb all the mountains we need to and life will be good.


  1. Stephen just climbed Mt Fuji again. I did once. That was enough!!

  2. Climbing mountains is like life, we have our ups and downs and easy and hard, and goals to obtain. God is always with us no matter what. We just have to reach out for Him. good article son.

  3. Jane Paronto, Williamstown, VTAugust 10, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    Thank you, I needed this. At the beginning of this year I began a journey to lose my excess weight and get healthy. The year started off great. By the beginning of May I had lost 24 pounds and was able to do an hour long Zumba class. Then the unexpected, I began to have horrible abdominal pain which led to scheduling a surgery to remove my gall bladder. A few days before surgery I developed pneumonia which postponed by surgery. Finally a month later I had my surgery during which I had my first ever asthma attack. After two weeks of recovery I was much better. Then I developed a MRSA infection on my back which was extremely painful. It is now fully healed. So now it is two and a half months since the beginning of being sick and while I wish I could say I stayed on track during that time unfortunately I cannot. I have gained back some of the weight and am struggling to get back on track. Your paragraph “I learned a number of things during that hike…..” spoke volumes to me. While all the things that happened may have been pain, tight spots and unexpected delays, I need to keep going if I am going to get to my goal.

    Thanks again.


  4. Gerry Lamb, Elder, Northshire Baptist Fellowship, Manchester, VTAugust 10, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    Great story Terry, and a great application. Thanks!

  5. God gives us those moments to experience His Majesty. Psalm 104 shows us this. A verse that comes to mind to me as I read your blog is what Paul writes in II Timothy 4:7 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." As a young man I spent much of my free time skiing, hiking, and hunting and when you spend time seeing His creation you learn that we must always allow him to work through us. Great Blog look forward to your next one.

  6. Rebecca PellegriniAugust 10, 2010 at 10:14 AM

    I was/am smarter than you are, I climbed that mountain in my teens and twenties so wouldn't have to in my forties! lol, great story.

  7. Thanks Terry -- you are an inspiration!

  8. Don Sweetser, Randolph, VTAugust 10, 2010 at 10:35 AM


    Being the oldest of 7, it was realized by all that Dad had to work 1 ½ to 2 jobs to maintain reasonable level of living. My mother did not work until the youngest started junior high. When I was in high school my father was still only getting two weeks of vacation. The first week he would take my brother and me mountain climbing for three to four days using the Appalachian mountain hut system in NH. He would take my 5 sisters to Cape Cod for 3 to 4 days. Then for the second week he took my mom on vacation, usually to Maine. (He never told us where.)
    The times with my father which bring the fondest memories were helping him build houses and going mountain climbing with him.
    One of my sisters opted to join us mountain climbing when she turned 12. It did not subtract but added to our relationships.

    Don Sweetser

  9. Thank you Terry! Very good timing for something I needed to hear.


  10. I enjoyed reading this. Bob

  11. Ken and Jean GriggsAugust 10, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    Dear Dr. Dorsett,

    Thank you very much for sending us your recent message (blog!) I plan to take some time to read through other recent blogs as I'm sure we will find them to be a blessing as this one is!

    Dear brother, I spend some time on the computer but not as much as some. However, with messages such as this one I expect I'll 'find the time' to read more!

    As you know, our family has been blessed by your's and your family's kindness and we praise God for your love for Jesus and your outreach to so many.

    May God continue to richly bless you. (We are very thankful He brought you and Taylor to the top of Mt. Mansfield and safely down again!)

    Thank you!

    Ken and Jean Griggs

  12. Thanks for sharing this. What a memorable experience for both of you!

    Reminded me of my decision to skydive. I learned much about "resolve." Once I made the decision, I chose not to think about it again--because I knew if I gave myself an out, I would not do it. I made similar parallels to the choice to follow Christ--"I am resolved no longer to linger . . . . "

  13. This article was reposted on Baptist Press on August 31, 2010. You can find version at this link:

  14. This article was reposted on:


  15. Lifeway reposted this article at:


  16. This article was reposted on:

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  19. Without question the funniest reposting was on the Weight Watchers Website. Apparently I'm the new poster child for FAT PEOPLE hiking up mountains!!!!


  20. It was also reposted at:

  21. The article is also mentioned on a mountain climbing website trying to show that ANYONE can climb a mountain if they keep going.