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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

What is your “14er”?

Updated: Dec 3, 2022

group of hikers ready to climb a mountain in Colorado

This afternoon, my husband and oldest son, along with 12 other adventurers, are taking off from Indiana to drive more than 20 hours to reach Leadville, Colorado, where they will sleep a few hours before climbing Mt. Massive, one of the more than 50 peaks over 14,000 feet in elevation in the state. Upon descent, they will climb back in their vehicles for the 20-hour return trip and complete their adventure before the Labor Day weekend ends. My husband likes to refer to it as a “Type II Adventure,” miserable to do but fun to talk about later.

The photo shows the group that completed a previous Labor Day trek. (My son, Joey, is wearing dark yellow, my husband was the photographer.) Mt. Massive will be their fifth “14er.” According to the Colorado Fourteener Initiative, 260,000 summit-trips are logged each year. That’s a lot of hiking!

What is your “14er” - that project or undertaking that feels like a mountain to climb? Are you anticipating one… filled with some anxiety as well as excitement? Are you in the middle of one… not sure you can keep on going? Have you finished one? Time to celebrate!!

As I consider the huge writing project I have committed to - helping create the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ book about Nutrition Communication - I am struck by the ways it feels a bit like preparing for a 14er. The peak is high, the trip won’t always be easy, but reaching the summit is so rewarding.

Whatever “14er” we might face, I believe there are four steps that can make it a “Type I” adventure – something that is both fun to do and fun to talk about later:

  1. Cast a vision, but set a deadline. We have set deadlines to write, review, and publish the book by fall 2019.

  2. Form a team of people eager to take on the mountain, committed to reaching the peak. At last count, 45 nutrition professionals have agreed to serve as contributing authors. The combined expertise is phenomenal!

  3. Break it down into small, manageable tasks. As Mark Twain, puts it, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking down your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” For starters, we have a 33 page outline, a road map for writing.

  4. Train daily, or in other words: prepare and persevere. A mountain is climbed one step at a time. Books are written one sentence at a time. Training builds endurance and strength. Practice in any field builds skill. This book will get finished if we keep writing. Keep moving forward.

Share your “14er” experiences – past, present, or future - in the comments. What helped you reach the summit? If you need someone to join you on your journey, providing encouragement and guidance, be in touch:

If you are facing a “14er” – use this long weekend to plan and prepare, or, if you’re like Joey – climb it!

“With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.” Thomas Fowell Buxton

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