November 30, 2012
Ahead of me is a makeshift cross held upright by rocks. Is this it? Answered by the sound of bulky packs thumping into the snow. I am here.

Ascending treacherous Mt. Zion brought rough terrain, ten-hour climbs, and insufficient rest. Unaccustomed to fifty pounds on my back, my body ached. Each step I took pain scorched my lower body. Concluding the first day, my hips were bruised, legs torn, and ego destroyed.
Day two: the Yasher Forest. Monstrous trees collapsed at my feet, I search for the sky but all I discover are countless treetops. A wall of dirt is before me- it seems to go on for eternity. Using my stamina I grab onto the vicious mountain and hoist myself up. My palms, pierced with pricks, my body pleads with me to quit. Hours later, I squint my eyes and peer ahead: white, sparkling, glowing, snow. Filled with unfamiliar hope, I will summit.

Don’t you dare look down. I do. Below me is a sea of white, if I fall there is nothing to catch me. I stumble. My vision blurs, hands trembling, I forget to breathe. Knowing without my ice axe, right now I would be cascading down Zion. Repeating my mantra several times, I am focused, I climb on.

Summit day. The white in front of my eyes startles me. Clouds and fog creates a strenuous journey. Impatience grows inside me; the sun will be setting soon. Before long, I see the cross. The simple wooden cross barley held together by a bandana on top of Zion is a memory that will never be erased. The instant I saw it a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment raced through me. I’m here.

Standing under the vast red-orange sun, I am insignificant. On top of tremendous Mt. Zion, I am minuscule. My surroundings overwhelm me, what’s more astounding—I got myself there. Ascending Mt. Zion made me want to scream, “I give up!” But the gratification I experienced on the summit is my reminder to persist and be focused.

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