A list of 10 things a person should have at their disposal when venturing out into the Wilds of Wine.
One of the great things about where we live in the Pacific Northwest is all the hiking that surrounds us. The Cascade Mountains are essentially at our doorstep, Mt. Hood the closest to us in Portland, as well as the vineyard (30 miles or so, as the crow flies), Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams near by to the north, and then all the peaks in central Oregon: Mt. Jefferson, Three Sisters, Broken Top…. Not to mention all the opportunities in the Columbia Gorge – Dog Mountain, Table Mountain, Ruckle Ridge, Mt. Defiance, to name a few. Before the vineyard and wine, when times seemed much simpler, and we had the time and car and energy to head out into nature, I was a rather avid hiker, even enrolling in and completing the Mazama’s Basic Climbing Education Program (BCEP) in Scott’s and my salad dating days. The Mazamas are the second oldest climbing group in the West, founded on the pinnacle of Mt. Hood in 1894, and their BCEP a primer for physical conditioning and basic climbing—rock and snow/ice—techniques to get you to the top of some peaks—along with a seasoned Mazama climb leader, of course—at the end of the course.
One of the key things that gets hammered into you in the Mazamas Basic Climbing Education Program is what’s called the 10 Essentials. They are what every climber should carry with them, no matter what the duration of your hike, day or overnight, car-camping or wilderness rambling, to help you in a pinch, and keep you prepared for outdoor’s unexpected twists and turns. They are:
- Map of where you are hiking
- Compass (I carried one, but still really don’t know how to use one, no fault of the Mazamas, I would even skip lukio in Finland whenever we had our Orienteering gym class. I don’t know why I have such an aversion to the compass. Odd.)
- Waterproof matches and a fire-starter
- Extra food/water
- Extra clothing
- Sun protection (extra glasses, lip and skin balm/cream, and hat)
- Flashlight with working and extra batteries
- First-aid kit
Based on this, I’ve assembled my own list of 10 Essentials that everyone should have at their disposal when starting a vineyard, for going whole hog into the wine business, for even, like in hiking, as much as you think you know where you’re going, there are a ton of unknown variables that can cause you to alter course, or terminate the mission altogether. Here they are, in no real order:
1. Preparation. Ok, I know, this goes without saying. But just like any outdoor hike or climb, you better know: where you’re going, how you plan on getting there, how much time it’ll take, and when you’ll be back safely to the trail head, this on top of making sure you’re even fit enough for the venture, and having the basic know-how to see it through. For this, your “preparation” begins with a business plan. Look at what you are about to do from inside, and out. Research, people, research. BE PREPARED. Why are you in the business? What do you hope to accomplish? What sets you apart? How can you make it happen? Something we weren’t prepared for, was how sharky it is out there with all those naysayers. Just know how to swim, people. Know how to swim. Know that if you try to do something different and run counter current to the crowd, the sharks will gather. But don’t look back, ever. Just be prepared.
2. Stamina. I started my Mt. Hood ascent at 10 PM on a Sunday evening. I summited the following day around 9 AM, back to Timberline Lodge and the car around 4 PM. Whew. Unlike that climb where we went evenly step-by-step up that beautiful mountain, this vineyard/wine endeavor has felt both like a marathon and sprint at once, and you need the stamina to persevere: while you wait through those long seasons for your vines to grow and hope some crazy weather pattern doesn’t gobble up your hard work, or that the fire a moron set over a good ½ mile away doesn’t find its way to your vineyard; or when you feel those sharks quietly circling to see some blood action; or all those daily sacrifices that rear their ugly heads on your worst days when you curse this endeavor that you will not see any ROI on for a good five years and you wonder why you must live in a tiny home, you need stamina.
3. A good shrink. Hiking is a therapy substitute; all those long hours of meditative foot following foot, out in the wilds. But as soon as the hikes end, and it suddenly catches up to you that a dream you’ve committed to is not yours, and boy, look how deep you’re in it now, a good shrink comes in handy for those darkest moments of cursing: the endeavor, the sharks, the weather, whatever. Enough said.
4. Know your team. Around 6 AM or so we were up at the Hogsback, the first team that should’ve reached Mt. Hood’s summit that morning, but little did we know, there was someone in our group who would profess his fear of heights. At 10,600 feet (3231 meters) he finally figured it out – and with only just over 600 feet (182 meters) to go. Sigh. Long story short, he never summited, and we had to sit there and wait, hoping he might change his mind. In the meantime, the trail to the summit filled up so quickly with everyone who began at a later time, we had to wait even longer while they all went by, creating the perfect conditions of the previous year when one hiker fell, pulled his/her team and another separate team into a crevasse, and at least two people were killed. Why couldn’t that guy have told us this earlier?!
Scott probably wishes he had known “his team” (aka me) a little better before starting this venture, because I was like that guy who decided way late, that the climb wasn’t for him. Unlike that guy, I’ve for the most part overcome the fear and hurt and anger and everything else I associate with this endeavor (remember Essential #3, a good shrink), but I bet he was cursing me like that guy, “Why couldn’t she have told me this earlier?!”
To be continued.
Tags: 10 Essentials, Basic Climbing Education Program, Broken Top, Cascade Mountains, Columbia Gorge, Dog Mountain, Hogsback, lukio, Mazamas, Mt. Adams, Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Defiance, Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. St. Helens, Portland, Ruckle Ridge, Table Mountain, Three Sisters, Timberline Lodge