We set out on Tre Cime di Lavaredo on the southern side of the mountain shortly before dawn, hiking past Rifugio Auronzo. This hike requires one to keep an eye on the trail, attending to variations in the terrain and weather patterns and as we hiked past Forcella Lavaredo the trail became increasingly hard. At 9300’ above sea level the hike became more challenging while at the same time the higher we went, the more we were taken in by the desolate beauty of gray granite, white snow, and blue sky.
A little more than 5 miles into the hike a cloud bank suddenly moved in, bringing fog so thick I could hardly see beyond my feet. At the same time the trail became wet and muddy in places making navigation difficult. After flying 4400 miles, tooling and retooling our ascent we decided to return to our vehicle.
Not finishing Tre Cime di Lavaredo has become a metaphor for something important in my life. The unfinished mountain trail is often the most beautiful. Anyone who likes to hike can appreciate that sometimes reaching our destination is just not in the cards. I can think of many unfinished trails in my life, both real and metaphorical, but I look at these as gifts to help me see that whether you face a physical inability to make it to the end of the trail, or a realization that you're no longer the king of the hill that you were thirty years ago, what we aren't able to attain sometimes proves more powerful than anything within our reach.