I Believe in Hiking
The night was dark, cold, and haunting; with only flashlights breaking through the darkness. The tired feet shuffled onward with little or no enthusiasm. The mountain stood before us, tall and unforgiving, yet we still embarked, uncertain and unknowing. Our tired eyes peered upon it with no thought, but of what was to come. The journey was long and tough, yet to this day I believe in hiking.
At camp, the mountains surrounded our cabin, making us feel small and helpless. The rocky ridges taunted us in our sleep to climb one. How foolish of the mountains, though mere children, we were daring. Ziplines, rope courses, spider webs, and fears we defeated together, a mountain seemed like nothing to us. So decided it was, my cabin mates and I would take the dawn hike up Longs Peak. On two hours of sleep we awoke to total darkness, but walked in each others’ light. Trials appeared at every bend. When it seemed as though we could not go on, we kept on going. The elevation, the lack of sleep, the never ending climb, and of course the darkness penetrated our hopes, but never broke them. As darkness diminished, so did the climb.
There we stood, on top of the world with nothing but nature’s beauty surrounding us. As we rubbed our aching legs, the golden rays spread light throughout what seemed like an endless night. We sat there for half an hour, soaking up our success and all the warmth beaming down from the sky above. From there on everything was downhill.
Though I do not climb fourteeners everyday, other peaks are reached. One day I struggle through an essay, the next I cope with the stroke of a loved one. Throw every challenge at me, every mountain no matter how tall; for I know that once the climb is over, all that is left is recovery and a sense of accomplishment. When I fall, my friends and family pick me back up; and push me on despite my complaints, because they have seen the glory of achievement. Homework, sports, hard times set me back, but God whispers in my ear to keep on going. After one ridge is vanquished, another lays ready to test my very being. Life is a never ending hike, but luckily not all uphill. With the help of loved ones I conquer the unconquerable, and reach new heights. As I journey onward into the unknown, I take comfort in the fact that no mountain towers too tall, and remember to just keep on hiking.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.