Last week I went to a National Park and did a ~7 mile hike. Elevation at the start was 1260 ft (384 m) and the peak was 2720 ft (829 m). That uphill stuff is killer. It took around 4 hours including breaks for lunch and enjoying the views.
I love hiking and really need to do it more.
I’m also somewhat terrified of heights and this hike included some nice cliffs. The trail is well kept and has railing at a few spots, but it still is a lot for me.
I could write about how beautiful it was. How good it felt to fight against the heat and the weight of my backpack, the steep trail and the awkward rocks. How the struggle and aching muscles made every step seem like an accomplishment. How everything else seemed to disappear when I reached the peak and could see for miles in every direction. How the nothingness of the trees and rocks and mountains stretched out and made me forget how scared I am of everything. The feeling of being in nature. The fear and love of the bees and wasps (I’m allergic). Taking in the surroundings while considering the evolution of everything living there. The millions of years of gradual change that allows the trees and animals to survive in this environment today. The hundred million years that some of these rocks have been here. The events that took place over 20 million years ago to form the pinnacles. The vastness of time. How that somehow puts life in a new perspective. And the joy that fills me when I think about how wonderful it all is and will remain to be long after I’m gone. It makes me feel tiny, but it makes all the pettiness that seems to fill up my life feel tiny as well. Worry fades for a moment and I’m happy to be standing on a massive boulder outcrop looking hundreds of feet straight down.
I could talk about all that, but I won’t waste your time (HA!). Here are a few pictures from the hike with a little commentary if necessary.
It wasn’t the most difficult hike I’ve ever done. Uphill was a lot of work and it was hot, but it was manageable even if you don’t exercise much at all. There was also a rattlesnake on the side of the trail but somehow I didn’t think to take a picture of it. Really boggles the mind that I forgot how pictures work.