I am sending you this postcard from the edge because I wanted to share with you the trials and tribs of my 10-mile hike up and back down Mount Emory in Big Bend this week. To reach the summit, you have to take one long, ascending switch-back after another until, eventually, you begin to wonder, “Who moved the mountain?”
It was a journey I began with my family, the teenage members of which soon found that iTunes provided the necessary motivation (distraction?), so while that peace and quiet allowed me to focus ever deeper on the pain in my aging lower extremities, we met some nice people of all shapes and sizes along the way. “You’re almost there!” and “It’s worth it when you get to the top.” Even the park ranger who stopped during one of our many fig-newton and water breaks – we had to carry enough food and hydration for the entire day – was slightly encouraging in a stern, ranger-y kind of way.
Yet, it would take blood, sweat and tears – oh yes, we saw them all, including a bee sting – to keep putting one foot in front of the other. As I climbed, my apprehension about getting back down the rocky, slippery trail on weak and tired legs grew, and the realization that there was no ski patrol there to rescue me weighed as heavily on me as my backpack. There were times I could feel eyes watching from the underbrush – I’m sure they were hungry mountain lions ready to move in for the kill.
Then, at one of my lowest more-painful-than-childbirth moments, a fat bluebird came along, and seemed to follow us for a bit, bringing a little happiness to our climb. We managed to make it to the peak by mid-afternoon, exhausted and relieved.
Guess what, there’s no T-shirt shop up there, no certificates or cash rewards. But you could see clearly for miles, you could rest, you could proclaim victory. Oh, and the getting down? On a difficulty scale of 1-10, the descent was about a 2, far less than I had imagined, and I even found the strength to jog the last bit after a lion was spotted in the area.
That night, a super moon shone for us.
Sanera Camp is a journey to the top, even if you can’t always see the top.
There’s a lot of help along the way.
Don’t worry, don’t look back.
Stay ahead of the competition.
Ultimately, it’s up to you alone.
If you seek the rewards within first, bigger rewards will come.
(No, I haven’t done my homework yet.)
See you on Wednesday.