I climbed a mountain yesterday, Mt. Haast, and now I feel alive! It's not my first mountain or anything; it was just special. Round trip it was only 5k, but was estimated to take 6 hours (it took about 4.5). The trail was just straight up; there weren't even very many cutbacks.
The hike started out steep and muddy and impossibly. After about an hour and a half, I came out of the brush-line exhausted and saw the crazy bit still ahead of me. It was all rocks and tough grass. The trail mostly didn't exist. There were some pole markers occasionally, but after awhile those desisted as well. There were a few cairns after that marking where others had found success.
I had acquired hiking poles awhile ago, but hadn't used them yet. For some reason I decided this would be hike to test them with, and I don't think I could have done it without them. It was ridiculous.
The top was beautiful and great and amazing and worth it. But I was actually afraid of the hike back down. I accepted that I would sprain an ankle, or break a leg, or break an arm. I was dreading having to drag myself the rest of the way down the mountain after hurting myself. I don't know; I remember contemplating what level of injury would cause me to end my trip early and what I would be able to cope with.
Miraculously I made it down without any serious injuries, just a few cuts and bruises. Again, thanks to those hiking poles.
The whole thing really felt like how I would imagine climbing a mountain would be. Not much of a trail, a huge challenge, and beautiful. I couldn't believe it was happening. Where am I? Who am I? How did I get here? What is life? I just needed to mark this great feeling. I have more stories and pictures and things to share from the past few weeks, just not the patience for it now...soon.