When I agreed to go hiking with some pals early on a Sunday morning, I assumed it would be casual. Difficult at some points? Sure. But nothing too strenuous.
I was so naive.
We payed our few bucks to the park rangers (which I later felt was a deal with the devil) and started our 4.5 hour hike UP the mountain. I’m going to spare you the details of how many breaks I insisted we take and how many times I had to give myself silent, yet powerful pep talks that would make Coach Carter proud, but it was intense. We reached a point in the trail where a sign said “Don’t go past this point June-August” but since it was July 31st and we could possibly die on the mountain and remain there until August, we figured ‘why not?’
Chapter 2 in “Things We Didn’t Realize At First But Now Regret” begins with our realization that everything past the sign was basically rock-climbing. Long gone were the sweet comforts of worn trails and easily identified markers. We were about to actually climb a mountain. Like with our hands. And some screaming leg muscles.
As we got closer and closer to the top (we hoped), we started losing chunks of our group who were getting anxious about having to climb back down anything that they climbed up. The athletic people *cough* not me *cough* ran ahead and reached the top. At this point, Rachael and I both knew that we couldn’t come this far in the trail and not reach the top. It would be an injustice to our poor bodies that were going to be hurting tomorrow regardless of whether we summited the peak or not. So we kept going.
We had been climbing for what seemed like hours up shelves of rocks and between boulders and across very sketchy terrain that I would’ve never been on if I wasn’t already so emotionally beaten by this mountain. We sat down to eat lunch, feeling completely hopeless and defeated, when we were met by this group of locals who had managed to catch up to us (no surprise there.)
The man said, “Have you already been to the top?”
We replied, “No we’re not sure if we can make it there.”
– “You’re already there. That rock is the top. If you don’t take the last few steps, you’d be stupid.”
“Are you joking?”
– “No seriously you just have to get over that rock.”
So like anyone in that situation, caught somewhere between a rock and literally a hard place, Rachael and I picked up our legs and kept going until we were at the top. And let me say, it was worth every single minute of the hike. I’ve never felt so victorious in my whole life, as if I’d actually conquered something so huge and was finally able to soak in the goodness I’d been promised so many hours ago.
WOULD YOU JUST LOOK AT THOSE PICTURES! I MEAN GOSH! THOSE ARE THE ANDES, PEOPLE! AND THAT OVER THERE IS THE OCEAN! WE COULD SEE IT ALL AT ONE TIME! WE WERE ABOVE THE CLOUDS! THAT IS INSANE!
YES, I HAD BLISTERS THE SIZE OF DIMES AND YES, I THINK MY KNEECAPS WERE DISLOCATED, AND BEFORE YOU ASK, NO, I COULD NOT WALK THE NEXT DAY. IT WAS COMPLETELY OUT OF THE QUESTION. ALSO, YES, I AM YELLING BUT THIS WAS A GREAT DAY. END OF STORY.