A Hike of Realization | My Family Travels

Two months ago my teacher informed my literature class that we would be taking an all-day hiking trip to a local national park. I cringed at the thought of climbing impossible hills and dripping in my own sweat all day. But along with my friend’s and my teacher’s convincing I decided to go on the trip. I had always wanted to be more active or outdoorsy I should say. I just never knew how to approach it.

The day of the trip had arrived and I was above and beyond nervous. I wasn’t sure if I was physically fit enough to attempt this hike. On the way to Cloudland Canyon (the national park) my friends and I joked about how we claimed the back of the group. We were so sure we would be the last in everything.

â–º  QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP

We arrived at the site and as a group we decided which trails we would take. Our first destination was a short trip to a waterfall. After about 10 minutes of hiking mostly downhill we arrived at the waterfall. It was surrounded by rocks of all sizes and trees as tall as skyscrapers. The water fell nice and quietly, and it made for a peaceful experience.

We then continued on to our second destination. This trail was famous for its endless amounts of stairs. On the way down it wasn’t bad at all. We were surrounded by nothing but trees and streams of water. I walked with my friends and enjoyed the intake of fresh air. Halfway down the trail I looked back and realized something. My friends and I were in the front! We were all astonished at the fact that not only were we keeping up with everyone but that we were also leading them! The trail looped so we turned around and started to head back. My friends and I had no idea of what was ahead of us. Numerous sharp curves, the steepest hills you could ever imagine and literally 1,200 steps! But my friends and I encouraged each other to not give up. We pushed through all the pain in our legs and made it up each hill and every step. By the time we got to the top we were exhausted, but we continued on to our final destination, lunch!

Our teacher had us hike one last trail that lead up to the top of a mountain. We reached the top of the trail and in front of us laid an area that allowed you to look over the side of the mountain. You had the most perfect view of the whole park. We all sat down and enjoyed our lunches. After lunch our teacher assigned a short writing prompt. It was to write about your experience that day. He allowed us to go anywhere we wanted, sit down by ourselves, and just write. I chose the very edge of a rock hanging off of the mountain. Right in front of me laid endless amounts of trees and a beautiful blue sky. The sun provided a perfect amount of light and the breeze rolled in at all the perfect times. It was sheer perfection! My whole life I had yearned to be a part of something greater than myself, as do most humans. I had always imagined it to be flashing lights or big bold letters. But at that very moment when I was writing down my experience I looked up and I realized it was right in front of me. It was greater than anything I’ll ever be!

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