Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Backpacking: One step at a time

So... now that I've been moved into campus for almost a week, I think it's about time I should write this post that's been on my mind for nearly a month now.  So I can get on to other, more recent, things.

Anyways, I went backpacking last month for the first time in years.  I've been wanting to go since I was invited on a backpacking trip freshman year and didn't go (the trip was more intense than I'd be up for, and the group dynamics could have made things very awkward).  So, this summer, I finally got around to making backpacking happen.

The first site we picked for the trip didn't work out so well - my camping buddy's family day-hiked it, and came back saying it was buggy and rather steep... rock climbing steep at times.  Seeing as I've never done anything that was much more than flat, it was back to the drawing board last minute.

My mom came up with a hike she'd done which she knew I could manage (Navajo Pass, near Cle Elum, if you're curious).  It was gorgeous, she told me, especially the day hike up to the ridge.  That it would be challenging but not too challenging, and I could get there if I just took it one step at a time and remembered the reward awaiting me when I got to the top.

She was about right.  Every time we stopped for a break, we were greeted by stunning views of the mountains and forest around us.  The campsite was amazing (right by the water!), which made everything nicer.

A view from the hike up

The day hike up to Navajo Pass was a bit steep, but not that long.  However, since we didn't know how long it was, or where we were going, it seemed to last forever at times.  At one point we went across an area that didn't have much water, was completely dry and looked like a moonscape - but the views in the distance were incredible.

It's like... hiking on Mars or something.  Except with views of the mountains.

Then we finally spotted our destination, or what we assumed was our destination.  The last stretch was somehow the hardest, even with an end in sight, it seemed steeper than any section of trail before it.  Just a few more steps and we knew we'd be to the top of the ridge, where we could see the mountains.

I wasn't nearly prepared for how gorgeous those mountains would be.  Breathtaking would be cliche, but I'm pretty sure I gasped.  One step at a time and I'd made it all the way to the top, to a view well, well worth the effort.

We made it over the ridge and then suddenly saw this.
And by this I mean the mountains, not the person.

Now that I am a couple weeks into a school year that is off to a challenging start, at best, I'm looking back on that backpacking trip for inspiration.  I wish I was there again, partly because California is dry and hot (or... drier and hotter), and partly because there's just something to be said for being out of touch.

Most of all, though, I'm remembering this situation where one step at a time got me to the top, where one step at a time got me through all the problems I was facing in that moment.  I'm looking back and hoping I can keep the same attitude moving forward - that, one step at a time, I can rebuild a solid social life, since mine has mostly fallen apart.  That, one step at a time, I can write an impressive thesis (and get everything done in the rest of my classes).  That, one step at a time, I can finish unpacking and making myself at home in my new room.

Have a pretty meadow... Maybe I can print this for my room!

In Alcoholics Anonymous (and it's various offshoots), we're reminded to take life one day at a time.  Sometimes, however, such as when climbing mountains or facing that day that has 5 classes and homework and laundry all in one, a day is too much to handle at once.  So for now, I'll just keep taking steps.

My first step is lunch.  Can't forget to eat!