What is an Epic4Epic?

Galena, Cuchillo, & Wanat peaks, from Momyer Trail
            At The Wildlands Conservancy we often speak of "epic landscapes," places of grandeur that can remind of us of, and connect us to, our own inner grandeur, our spirit. The Conservancy’s mission includes protecting these places with their diversity of plants and animals, ground and water, and the beauty that radiates from the extraordinary mix thereof—and then sharing with any and all people who may chance a visit (including you, friend). 

            In the phrase “epic for epic” I’m using the word “epic” as an adjective to describe both the greatness of an endeavor (or place), and dimension (or extent). The phrase has direction and movement, with “for” meaning “on behalf of.” Thus epic4epic = great efforts on behalf of great places. You could replace the word “great” with “extraordinary,” or “exceptional,” or “heroic,” or whatever you wish. It’s a relative term, because in the case of epic4epic, what might be an easy endeavor for one person might well be an extraordinary challenge for another. What matters most is that whoever embarks on such an endeavor pushes themselves to the edge, or beyond, of their [perceived] abilities. 
(L to R) Evan Welsh, Paul Melzer, Charlie Marquardt
       Here’s a hypothetical example: Susan has thought for years about hiking the John Muir Trail solo. She’s always loved hiking, and has several other accomplishments under her belt—she’s no novice hiker—but this 215 mile long trail in the Sierra Nevada mountain range has felt beyond her ability. Nevertheless, with some encouragement from her experienced hiking buddies, she decides that with enough smart planning, preparation, and training she can do it. She has her doubts, but her desire to prove to herself that she can accomplish it wins out. Susan is also an altruistic person who wants to inspire others in their own growth and life accomplishments. She decides that a great way to share her “epic” endeavor is to invite her friends, family, and acquaintances to follow her training (she has a blog) and consider donating to her favorite charity, a horse rescue nonprofit in her hometown. That way, she’d be running for a cause greater than herself, greater than her own “epic” accomplishment. Susan is doing an epic4epic because she’s doing an epic hike for an epic cause, rescuing abandoned or abused horses. 
            Susan’s is just an example; an epic endeavor need not be limited to a physical challenge. It could be a creative project like composing that piano sonata you’ve always thought you had in you…and then performing it in public. It could be publishing a book of short stories, or painting a public mural. Whatever it is, it just needs to be something you consider a great personal challenge, something through which your own efforts will inspire others. And when you complete it, those who’ve been following you may be inspired themselves to tackle something they believe they have inside them. And that inspiration will spread to more people who’ll then inspire greater numbers of other people, etc., etc. You get the picture.

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