Quest Update: As Summer Adventures Come to a Close

I haven’t been blogging or vlogging in quite a while.  I put a pause on this while my friend was supposed to update my website, but since my website still hasn’t been updated, and while my Quest inches closer to completion, it is time to bring you a compelling story of… well, okay, it’s just an update on things that I’ve been up to.  Super provocative stuff here, guys!

Prelude

I am down to the last couple weeks of alcohol-free living.  I feel fantastic overall, and had an incredible summer full of camping, hiking, peak scrambling, biking, backpacking, a wedding, but mainly, working.  Much of my time in the last few months has been dedicated to growing my real estate business, maintaining my fitness, staying consistent with my Quest objectives, and some hiking/adventures when they could be squeezed in.

The Last Little Bit

So, let’s rewind a month when I was in the Enchantments for five days and then came home, grabbed my pre-packed bag of wedding garments and jumped on a plane to Cincinnati to celebrate my friends, Zach and Meghan, tying a knot.  I stood beside Zach as his (co-) best man and had a wonderful time meeting his friends and family.  Also that week, I saw my friend, Steve, who I had not seen in years.  It’s odd how with certain people it doesn’t matter the duration of time that passes between visits, when you get back together with those people, it’s as if nothing has changed.  Zach and Steve are two people in my life that that applies to.

Going back about nine years to when I met them, I was not too keen on Mister Zach.  I determined he was a pompous know-it-all ass before I properly got to know him.  I figured out, however, that he was just socially inept and had a pretty tough initial guard up.  However, once I broke through that guard we became great friends.  We even ended up all living in the same apartment building.  During that period I was their “Kramer,” not because I used the n-word on stage like some raving lunatic, but because on a daily basis I would just open their door and walk into their abode without so much as a door knock.  Much has changed in our lives since I had last saw them… especially with Steve who now has a toddler.  Together, in a group again, it was as if it no time had passed at all… with the exception of Zach’s ability to grow a beard, my inability to retain my hair, and Steve getting … errr… a little rounder.  Ha.

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Zach on his big day biting my girlfriend’s arm

After Zach’s beautiful vows, and my appropriately hilarious and oh-so touching speech that shattered the expectations of everyone involved, but most importantly, the bride and groom 🧐, Steven and I woke up the next morning and drove my bishhh to the airport.  We proceeded to kick her wiggity-wack ass out the car and then drove to Cincinnati’s very own King’s Island.  King’s Island is a theme park.  I’m 34.  Steve is like 38 or some shit?… Basically, two full grown adult males had a date going on all the rollercoasters and rides that a midwestern theme park had to offer, and it was the best day ever!

But let’s not so quickly leap over the Enchantments, as it was an incredible trip through a beautiful, albeit smokey, region of the Cascades.  During our stay we visited all the different alpine lakes, swam in a few of them, climbed Little Annapurna, night hiked up Prusik Pass to watch a very unimpressive meteor shower, slept next to mountain goats  with their rambunctious kids in my hammock, and did some other miscellaneous scrambles.  We were very lucky to get permits, and although the smoke was a hinderance, it could have been much worse.

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Brandi’s signature hiking pose.
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My towel and his vistors

 

Full Enchantments Post coming soon with video footage.

So, that was a month back.  This past week Brandi and I attended a double header baby shower (one after the other) for two of my dudes.  I, then, packed up and went camping near Winthrop, WA, on Monday with my good friend, Adam.  We hadn’t spent any time together this summer so we had planned a couple days in the North Cascades.  The weather decided to be a cranky biotch, so we shifted our trip to the eastern side of the park where it is not quite as rain prone.  We hiked along the PCT and spent a couple days eating, as Adam likes to say, some “good food” in the woods along a creek.  With the weather starting to change, it’s probably the last multi-night camping trip for a while, but I was able to not miss much work at all.  It’s somewhat convenient taking most of your days off in the middle of the week.

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During one of those weekends in there we went camping with our friends Jon and Bre.  On this camping trip we found an amazing riverside camp spot that was completely isolated from other passer-byers.  Jon was generous enough to bring along some delicious stogies he had picked up in the Dominican Republic.  Unfortunately, I had Open Houses to attend on both Saturday and Sunday that weekend so I had to drive back into civilization both mornings and didn’t get to disconnect on this particular trip like I normally would.  It was a very long and deliberate route that I wish had been avoidable on Saturday morning… but, hey, when duty calls.  Clearly getting outside hasn’t been much of an issue for me lately, so no harm no foul.

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My dooooood Jon and I thumbin’ up & hangin’ loose

Beyond that… work + gym + plus a random weekday outing here and there is what my life currently consists of, and I a pretty okay with that.

The Quest

As for the Quest… As I had stated earlier, and as of today, I am two weeks out from completion.  That’s a huge benchmark and I am getting pretty excited to, again, be able to drink a cold and delicious beer.  Although, I am admittedly still wrestling with the idea of continuing with the absence of alcohol, that is seemingly a wrestling match I will lose.  Not because of some innate need to drink, but instead, because I do like having beer and a certain amount of alcohol is probably beneficial to things like my career and social life.

What has changed? 

There is more that has changed than that I recognize, but, simultaneously, not enough has changed for me to give up and go back to my post-Quest life.  Many of my new habits will stay with my for the remainder of years I have left.  Especially meditation, journaling, consistent exercise, hot and cold therapy, writing, and reading.  In fact, a couple weeks ago I realized that I am a completely different person than when I started this a year ago.  I, also, found out what doesn’t work and what I was just doing to say I did it.  Having some crazy journaling schedule… yeah, that did not come close to sticking.  Reading a ton of books a month became more of a chore and hindered performance in other areas.  Not watching TV sounds fun until you get bored out of your mind.

I am, however, in drastically better shape, I feel smarter, better read, more consistent with my mood, less anxious, less depression, I have started a completely new career where I work for my self, and I am better fit to deal with adversities that I face.

I do have a few new Quest concepts that I will further define and start once this one comes to fruition.  My next quest will focus on my shortcomings and areas of my life I wish to further improve.  Unfortunately, my current quest will not be 100% completed quite yet, as I still have some saving to do until I will be able to afford to make it to Patagonia.  That is still going to happen, however, and hopefully at some point in 2019 I’ll make it a reality.  Of course, it has to work out seasonally as well.  Stay tuned.

Summer is out, Fall is in

The seasons changed rather quickly this year, going from incredibly hot to rather cold overnight.  Summer is officially over this coming Saturday, and I am stoked to see some yellow and orange leaves and have some cooler weather to go hike in.  I used to call the fall shoulder season, now I just look at it as the cooler time of year to go hiking.

Lastly, congrats to my sister and her boyfriend on their engagement.  Ditto to my friends Jake and Jen!

IT’S ALMOST SKI SEASON!!!!

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

VLOG #13: Melakwa Lake & Kaleetan Peak

Last week my adventure buddy Austin and I did what we love to do and found a fun hike and scramble off the i90 corridor to complete.  We headed out the night before, slept in hammocks near the trailhead, and then proceeded to burn the ever-loving piss out of my shoulders and back in the shape of the pack I was carrying.  There were fun times.  Great views.  Some route finding and steep rock faces.  We slipped at one point, that’s not on the video.  And, we jumped in the lake.

Sooo… Enjoy the vid!  No tunes added on this one, so it’s just the incredibly enjoyable sounds of nature… rather the commentary of two adventure dudes yukkin’ it up on the trail.  #CaptivatingAF

This weekend marked ten months of a booze free life; two more to go and I am officially done.  Who knows what will come then, but the initial quest is getting close to complete!

 

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

 

VLOG 12.1 – Day One: the Spider Gap

Starting our trip at approximately 9 AM on the 4th of July, our first day consisted of hiking from the trailhead to Lower Lyman Lake.  A pretty ambitious, however unintentional goal that was the result of finding unsuitable camping conditions at Lower Lyman Lake’s higher brother, Upper Lyman Lake.

The hike started out like most other’s do here in the Northwest, meandering through forested slopes as we gained elevation, finally reaching the Spider Meadows.  From their we climbed up to the Spider Gap glacier, then down to Upper Lyman Lake, followed by Lower Lyman.  Here is a video account of Day One of our trip.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

VLOG #10: Bro’in’ It Up in the Olympics

Here’s the promised footage of my brother and I camping and hiking out in the Olympics last week.  What a pretty and fun day hike.  It was super easy, but definitely had us sweating a bit due to the heat.

 

Click Here for my most recent Quest Update!

 

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

Winning. Losing. Just Being.

An Update on the Most Epic of Quests.

What is up, party people!?  There is a lot in this post, so please read all the way through.

We’re well into month eight of my Quest, and holy moly is there a lot that has transpired since my last update.  Adventures I have gone on.  Soul searching I have done.  Work accomplishments that have come and passed.  Books I have read.  Let’s get into the nitty gritty and break down this on-going self-improvement quest into its five key areas of focus.

Mental Health.  I have to say my mental health is pretty steady.  Besides having random bouts of self-doubt, I have maintained a pretty optimistic outlook on life, am successfully practicing non-reactivity, and am trending in a direction that I am content with.  That is not to say I don’t, at times, find myself slightly down or unmotivated, but I am able to define where my negative feelings are coming from and isolate those feelings to whatever obstacle is responsible for the negative thought loop.  Once I do that, I can break that thought loop.  Often, any negative feelings can be traced back to my impatience with my career or financials, or not being able to do something I want to do.  When there is nothing I can do about the outcome, or if the solution is one that will take time to achieve, I have started to breathe through my discontentment and reframe my perspective to take the action needed to help me get where I want to be.

My meditation practice has seen some significant growth and is bleeding into my daily routine, meaning, I am finding myself clearing my mind by noting my breath when feelings of anxiety, stress, or self-doubt begin.  That is a massive change that has significant benefits, maybe even the most significant development that I have undergone during this process.

Physical Health.  Stated simply, I’m in shape.  I am strong, I am lean, I workout 4-7x per week and am maintaining a weight at around 182-185 lbs.  Although I would consider that on the lighter side for my frame, I feel fantastic and think that adding any additional muscle mass is only going to benefit me aesthetically.  My diet could use some work, but if I just got rid of the momentary lapses in discipline that urge me to shovel spoonfuls of PB with a delectable honey drizzle into my gaping mouth, then I would be doing just fine.  I, also, tend to drink an iced hazelnut americano at some point during each day, which I have started being cognizant of, not just from a health perspective (the syrup and cream), but also because of the sheer amount of plastic that a habit like that generates.

Here’s what my diet regularly looks like:  In the morning, I, typically, fast until 10 AM -1 PM.  I break that fast with either a protein shake or some eggs over a bed of greens (with an avocado if we have one).  Lunch is often a salad and some leftovers, but if I’m in a rush, a sandwich or burrito from Whole Foods or PCC may be indulged.  I have, as of lately, been cooking my dinner on the grill.  After my daily workout I drink a large whey protein shake.

I, also, take some supplements, here is what I am currently taking:  Whey Protein, Creatine, Pre-Workout, Alpha Brain by ONNIT, Brain by Host Defense, CoQ10, B12, Krill Oil, Vitamin D3, ZMA (Zinc Magnesium Asperate), 5-HTP, Collagen Peptides, Aniracetam (nootropic – take only as needed and sometimes with my pre-workout for added focus)

Creativity:  Honestly, I have not been doing all I can here.  My focus feels somewhat divided between work, the outdoors, the gym, and I have been neglecting to let my creative juices flow like the river they could be.  I haven’t even been updating this blog very regularly, but what I have been doing is enjoying editing and recording videos of my adventures, which I have posted to the “a Life to Summit” YouTube Channel.  I, also, am feeling more inspired lately and feel that I have a lot of pent up writing to slog through.  One of my goals for this coming month is to make some progress on the book I am writing.

Relationships:  In some ways, this has seen tremendous growth.  My girlfriend and I have been fighting and bickering much less than normal, and I feel like we are understanding one another better and acknowledging what sets us off.  It’s not perfect, as no relationship ever is, but we’re making strides, and I’m very pleased with that.  My other relationships with my family and friends are going just fine, minus the fact that there is just not enough time to adequately spend with all the people I care about.

On the other hand, I have further written off the most toxic relationship in my life, and harsh, but incredibly honest, words were conveyed through text messages to that person and their significant other.  I have come to terms with the fact that some people cannot be changed, and no matter who that person is supposed to be to you, if they are negatively impacting your mental health, they do not need to be in your life.

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Career/Learning:  I have sold two houses so far and have been busily growing my pipeline.  I am, currently, in between very active buyers, believe I have a couple listings coming up and am generally looking at this career move as the best decision I have ever made.  With that said, I am somewhat stressed out, the lull between clients has been too long and led to some self-doubt, but think I will make a solid career out of this venture once I have fully ramped my business up.

I am reading daily and applying what I read to my life.  Great things are coming from that.  Listening is the other thing I am working on, and my Audible and Calm apps have been great tools to hone that skillset.

 

As I have been gearing up my real estate business and further growing this blog, I have been paying attention to how people interact with their social media, and there are a couple things that have bothered me about what I have witnessed.  One of those things is that I feel like there are a lot of phonies out there.  Frauds, if you will.  People who convey that they are someone that they truly are not, and I want to do my very best to ensure I do not fall into this category, because, in reality, I am not some zen-minded intellectual, rather, I operate in chaos and my life has been a series of me stumbling into stupid decision after dumb outcome, rinse, repeat.  The whole concept of this year has been to find balance and learn to clear out that chaos.  It’s a step that has been needed to be taken to correct an unstable path.  With that said, these people I have deemed as phonies might not deserve such a harsh critic.  In fact, it is a negative time suck to even judge these people who are just trying to figure out who they are in this digitally connected world.  Or maybe they’re just trying to make a buck.  What drives someone else is completely separate from what drives me, and it is very easy to choose which lens you decide to view others through.  What I am trying to say is, I have kind of been a dick for a lot of years, but I think I might be coming to a place where I am shedding that dick skin. 😳

If I could offer advice to people out there battling with their online personality versus their true self, I would say to just get out and do what it is you claim you do and make it part of who you actually are.  For instance, if you are claiming to be a bad ass personal trainer who is a crazy hiking machine, then get the fuck out there TODAY and go hike something extremely hard.  Then do it tomorrow, too!  Followed by three more next week.  Show the world you can do things others cannot and set a precedent for yourself to stop encouraging half ass efforts just so that you can get a picture on top of some easily attainable mountaintop that makes people unfamiliar with the area say, “Oh, wow, they’re on top of a mountain, that must be hard.”  It’s easy to be on top of a mountain, it’s hard to find the steepest, longest route, and push yourself beyond what you know you are capable of.

Stop talking, start doing, and don’t stop doing until you get the results you desire.

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Lastly, I had a discussion this week with a childhood friend.  That friend is Antone Gerontis.  I am going to write a whole separate post regarding Antone’s journey, but am bringing your attention to him now, as his story is one of the most inspirational and heartbreaking things I have come across.  His mental strength is unrivaled and I am so honored to have had the chance to converse with him.  Antone and I went to elementary school together, and, unfortunately, he has become very, very sick for the last six plus years.  As we were talking he was prepping himself for a surgery and had a gaping hole in his chest.  Even with all of that, he had nothing but the kindest words to say and was telling me his dreams and goals for when he is healthy, again.  I know he is going to get there, but he needs your help.  He has spend all of his money battling his disease.  Please go visit his site and read his updates.

https://www.youcaring.com/antone-gerontis-563753

 

When an issue seems like it is too large and burdensome to bear, remember that any issue at a certain distance vanishes completely from sight and is no longer an issue at all.  I have spent a lot of time feeling like I am winning or losing at life, recently I have realized that I am just being, and will continue to just be until that vanishes completely from sight as well.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

P.S. WHOEVER DONATED A THOUSAND DOLLARS TO aLifetoSummit.com’s Patagonia trip!  HOLY SHIT!!!!!!! THANK YOUUUUU!!!!!!! I, literally, just saw that and am so emotionally overwhelmed and thankful.

P.P.S.  I have alot of footage to upload to my Vlog, including a trip into the Olympics with my little brother.  Here is the recently uploaded video of us climbing Saint Helens in May.

P.P.P.S. Here’s what one of my recent workouts looks like:

Warmup:  1300 meter row on 10 difficulty in 5 minutes.

Squats
135 lbs x 10
Pause set: 135 lbs x 10
205 lbs x 10
255 lbs x 6
315 lbs x1
255 lbs x 6
255 lbs x 6

Shoulder press dumbbells
50 lbs x 10
50 lbs x 15
50 lbs x 12
50 lbs x 10

Single-Leg Leg Press
90 lbs x 10 ea
180 lbs x 10 ea
270 lbs x 4 ea + 180 lbs x 8 ea

(Superset with)

Isolated High Row on Hammer Strength (Plate Loaded)
90 lbs (180 lbs total) x 10 each
115 lbs (230 lbs total) x 10 ea
135 lbs (270 lbs total) x 10 ea

Lateral and Frontal (Alternating Sets) Dumbbell Raises
25 lbs x 10  L
25 lbs x 10 F
25 lbs x 10 L
25 lbs x 10 F
25 lbs X 10 L
25 lbs X 10 F

Low Cable Crossovers
80 lbs (each stack) x 10
80 lbs x 10
80 lbs x 10
80 lbs x 10

Rear Foot Elevated Lunge
25 lb dumbbells (50 lbs total) x 10 each leg
25 lb dumbbells x 10 each leg
25 lb dumbbells x 10 each leg

Sauna and Steam.

 

Vlog #8: The Most Epic of Fails; The North Cascades

Earlier this week, my trusty hiking/climbing buddy, Austin, and I headed into the North Cascades to summit Silver Star Mountain.  After getting there and getting setup to do the climb, we were disappointed to find that the trail was lost in intermittent snow with no visible boot pack and a raging river we would have to ford.  After wasting an hour of morning we decided to try to find the second entry point but it was not where we had thought it was.  So, we decided to just head up the middle of a basin and see if we could climb a peak.  Seemed like a decent idea…

 

And….. Lesson learned.  I will be back in the coming weeks with a successful summit!  It is now a must.

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Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

To The Summit of Mount Saint Helens

Trailer for my upcoming VLOG: To The Summit of Mount Saint Helens

Guaranteed to be less impressive than this cinematic masterpiece.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane