This I Believe

kelly - Durango, Colorado
Entered on January 30, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: nature

I haven’t seen the world, I haven’t even scratched the surface, but I have experienced the slick rock in Utah, the rapids of the grand Canyon, and the peaks of Colorado, each time awe-struck at the amazing things this world has to offer, and coming back to the same conclusion: Having adventures in nature is vital to appreciating life and living it to it’s entirety.

My dad’s influence is allot to blame for this belief I hold, always dragging me up mountains, down rivers, on mountain bike, or backpacking trips. Although I disliked the idea of these expeditions at first, when we were well into our adventure I assured myself that there was no place I’d rather be. These trips forced me to face challenges or overcome fears, but most importantly gave me some good bragging rights, for what 8yr. old in her right mind would embark on post holing,(hiking through knee deep snow), hike to the base of a peak and climb it? My second mountaineering experience with my dad, has me clambering up Mount Engineer, (12,968ft.), and braving an ice gully exposed to a steep drop off rockslide. A craggy, ragged, and steep 200 ft route lead to the top,(excuse me for the exaggerations, but everything was much bigger back then!), where you were greeted by a cold gust of wind and a stunning view of clouds, mountains, and valleys. It was expeditions like this that helped me realize the importance of adventures in nature to living life.

Soon I would grow to thrive on these excursions. When I went rafting down the Grand Canyon with sixteen other people at the age of twelve, I was blown away by the breathtaking intensity of it. Your perspective changes when you know that you are at the mercy of the waves, or the massive canyon walls, towering and never-ending. When you try to maneuver your boat through the roaring waves, eddies, and rocks, or at least try to keep it from flipping, adrenaline is rushing through your body. After a full day of work and rowing you can sit down to admire the perfected ragged beauty of this place, and realize that this is what it means to live.

Now the thought of climbing a peak is thrilling to me. My first fourteener, (fourteen thousand foot and higher peak), was Mt. Sneffels this summer with my dad, where we took the south ridge route,(off the beaten path you might say), to the summit. As I place my feet carefully on each rock I fall into a pattern of balancing and endurance. When we reach the top, it is enveloped in a thick fog that has come in from the west, and when it clears we gaze around at the surrounding peaks, intimidating and powerful.

To me being exposed to the unforgiving beauty of nature is as essential as food for the body. I thrive off of these adventures, and would not be complete without them.