Author: Kaitlin Waterloo
The Dreaded Hike
Last spring break my parents and I flew out to Arizona to visit colleges I had in mind. Part of the trip was going to be spent in the Grand Canyon, including a hike. When I say “hike” I mean a torturous descent into a vast opening in the earth that could easily take our lives… but I’m just being a bit dramatic.
The hike was projected to be a mere 3 miles. At the 1.5 mile marker we realized there was no water had had to continue to the 3 mile marker. To my demise the water at the 3 mile station had been turned off so we continued to the 5.2 mile station.
At the top of the canyon it was still springtime weather, with melting snow and lower temperatures. Upon arriving at the 5.2 mile marker I threw off all the remaining pieces of warm clothing and ate my packed lunch. After being nearly attacked by a rather hungry squirrel, I took our water bottles and filled them up at the communal water spout. When I returned, a lovely lady had started a chat with my parents informing them of a beautiful spot called Plateau Point just a stones throw away. The way I saw it was some evil woman had forced my parents to take me another 1.5 miles up just to see some silly river. I was not happy, lest to say, because as of now the total hike was adding up to 10.4 miles.
My parents finally convinced me to do the last 1.5 miles and the main reason I agreed was I knew that after this leg we literally could not continue on because the trail ended at a ridge. During the walk I made sure to distance myself from my parents and continued the last of the walk in total silence, still angry about the extra 3 miles we just added to our hike.
We arrived at the Plateau Point, with the sun high, my breath was taken away. Overlooking the Colorado River we sat on an edge and dangled our feet 800 feet above it. I secretly changed my view on the evil woman before, maybe she wasn’t so evil.
The hike up was possibly the hardest mental and physical challenge of my life. I had to walk a total of 6.1 miles uphill in the desert heat with a weighted backpack. I had to push myself mentally because my physical self could not handle it anymore. At one point my step dad stood behind me actually pushing me and in turn I was pushing my mother who was in front of me. The hardest part was seeing the end of the trail and not actually being there.
Finally we achieved success and made it to the top, exhausted, sweaty, and hungry. At the end of the day we had hiked a total of 12.2 miles up and down with a difference of 7,000 ft in elevation.
I learned that sometimes the toughest things to do are the most rewarding and last much longer than the easier tasks. I also learned that once you are committed to something it is more rewarding to push through and finish it.