It all started off with a whole lot of trauma, stress and grief; but it soon became happiness, joy and relief. It is funny beginning a story in a positive way when you are so use to the negativity. Your reality became a negative canopy that had just clouded your thoughts, your visions and your life. You think to yourself, is this how life is suppose to be? Is this what I have in store for me? What can I do to change my life? How can I conquer and climb these mountains? Those are all questions that I had asked myself again and again. It feels bitter sweet to finally get some answers. Answers that I spent decades trying to find. The answers were the key on how to move forward in life and feel less pain.
Internally, we all have our mountains to conquer. It may be something as simple as; how am I going to conquer going to the dentist and not panicking, to something as big as; fighting demons in your mind everyday, plus finding a way to move forward in life. A mountain can be anything, every person has different mountains they need to conquer. Not one mountain can be considered too small or too big, as every person's mountains are different and everyone will have different challenges.
But, life is always full of these challenges and many mountains to conquer. Once you finally complete the challenge; it will feel amazing and you will pat yourself on the back. I know that I did.
Everyone has good and bad days; but the struggle is when most of the days are all bad! How unfortunately is it to say that! But, fear not; even when things are grim, they still can get better. From my experience after several traumas, I had honestly come to a point, that I thought my life was never going to improve. Everyday was a struggle and a disappointment. I would have restless nights and trying days. Some days I could barely get out of bed and push myself to go to work.
One thing I found, is by pushing yourself, it can make the day better. No matter how hard it was- once you got yourself out of bed, I felt like I could accomplish anything. Everyday I was getting closer and closer to feeling better and moving forward in my life. A life of sobriety, days full of love, days filled with my amazing career, and lastly; coming home to my friends, family and my beautiful dog. Those were my goals to be strong, healthy and happy.
Now to stand tall throughout this, I made some goals I had to do every week. And here is what I did.
The one thing that has significantly changed my life; is my goal of climbing a new mountain or a hiking challenge each weekend. It can be something such as; a short hike with a steep incline that is great for cardiovascular health and leg strength training; to a mountain hike that can be to 24km in one day. That was my goal, to go somewhere new and just enjoy the thrill of an adventure.
The hikes can be challenging, but so is life and something rewarding that I learned is; no matter how hard you push; eventually all your goals can be accomplished. First you mark off goals of going to the gym 5 days a week, eating healthy, pushing yourself at work and so much more. The goals just keep on growing and so do you.
Now to start the story off, I will tell you about the hike that changed it all.
The most challenging hike I have done so far was 24km. It was steep, treacherous, enduring, emotionally exhausting; but also, exciting, amazing and an incredible experience no less.
It started off at about 7:45am, the first 3km were a breeze and done quite quickly. There was a few inclines, but nothing too extreme. At about 6km, it started to get tough and was just a steep incline with very few to no flat parts or rest stops. The views on this portion of the trail were gorgeous; beautiful, tall trees; and bright, green ferns.
After about 3 to 4 hours, we were finally reaching the 10 km mark. At this point, we were dripping sweat, red in the face, with very sore joints and muscles. Another 2 km to the peak, and at this point, what we had been waiting for was almost upon us. I could taste the mountain views and I could feel the excitement brewing inside of me. As we are getting closer, I am really slowing down at this point. I was just mentally and physically exhausted, but we were almost 0.5km to the peak. There was no stopping me now, I had to keep pushing through and continuing on.
"Keeping pushing", my brother would say, and he would continue saying encouraging words and next I hear him say "we made it!!"
Just wow! There were no words. I was completely speechless with tears in my eyes. The views were outstanding, I could not believe we finally made it. It was a surreal experience and one I will never forget. There is one thing that trumps over everything; is those experiences you will always cherish with those closest to you.
I breathed a sigh of relief and sat down to rest, while having my trail mix and tuna with crackers. I relaxed while taking in the views, and enjoying every second of it. I sat down on this rock next to a small stream with snow nearby. If you want to know anything about me- my favorite season is winter and I love the snow! There is no way to explain how incredible it all was. After some much needed food, water and rest; off we were again to finish the hike.
Might I add; this hike is normally completed in two days, but we pushed ourselves to complete it in one day. Many other hikers we saw had set up camp and would continue on in the morning.
It was now around 3pm and we had 12km to go. Off we went, and after a few wrong turns; we were back on track. When we reached the 5km mark, I felt like I could not continue on. My legs were shaking, I felt completely wiped out and was going slower than ever. At this point, a turtle would have past me. Possibly not that drastic, but I sure was going very slow.
In my head, I kept thinking " How am I going to continue another 7km". I could barely breathe, I was so exhausted. But, I told myself, I wanted a challenge and there was no stopping us now. We kept pushing on. I can't tell you enough how grueling it was on the way down. My knees hurt, I sprained my ankle twice and my feet were bleeding and covered in blisters. It gets even more "too much information" than that even..
Let's just say, I thought it was a good idea to wear my new hiking shoes and break them in on this hike. A word of advice from me; break your boots in before your hikes or you will spend weeks and even months dealing with the aftermath of blisters and broken toenails.
Aside from the pain, I kept thinking that we can do this. The saying is "No pain, no gain" for a reason. We had now reached the halfway point. 6km left to go! Now it was getting easier and I was able to move quicker.
My brother on the other hand was always a step ahead and had amazing endurance on the hike the entire time.
After a much needed break, we continued on. It was around 630pm and it was starting to get dark out. We still had about 3km left to go. We both tried to pick up the pace and push ourselves to finish before it was dark. Thankfully, we were smart and had packed a headlamp and flashlight. It helped alot to guide our way throughout the forest.
The one thing about hiking in the dark, is every rock and tree stump, looks like it could be a bear. I felt my anxiety growing and I just wanted to get back home.
Finally at about 745pm- we finally made it to the parking lot and back to our vehicle. The joy I felt was out of this world. When we arrived back home- it felt great to write accomplished on our trail plan. That day was one I will never forget and I could not be anymore thankful.
I could not have done this hike without my brother, but it pushed me to want to try more hikes for the future. This story goes out to everyone out there conquering mountains - trust me; you can do it!!!