Philmont

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All I could do was chug the little bit of water I had left. My mouth was dry and I was fatigued enough to collapse. It was only half way through the day, but my group’s goal of reaching the summit of that mountain was complete.

My group started at 5:00 before the sun came up. There would be no breakfast until a half hour after we began, because it was important to wake up our bodies before eating. I had no idea how hard it would be to go from an elevation of 9,000 feet to 12,500 feet. But, over the next three hours, I would find out. The trail was five miles of switchbacks then a half-mile straight up. At least we only had to carry water and food with us. No full backpacks.

After two miles, half of group was getting low on water. I shared my extra two liters with others when they ran out. Soon enough, my water was almost gone too, but I kept on pushing. When we got past the third mile, the hike became a crawl with stops every hundred yards. “Hey, once we’re above tree line, let’s run to the top,” I said to my friend hiking with me. We went back and forth just making funny comments like that and telling jokes to forget about how tough the hike was. This worked well to keep the scouts moving. It didn’t seem to work for one of the adults though. He was struggling to keep going. I fell back to hike behind him and encouraged him, telling him that he can make it to the top. I could see the difference because he started picking up his pace. This allowed our group to move faster and make it to the top quicker.

Soon, we got to the point where the switchbacks stopped, and it was a straight path to the summit. We stopped to take a break before the last half-mile. Building up energy was necessary to climb the sixty degree grade. When we started up, the slope quickly began to take its toll. One boy was just ready to get to the top and be done with it. “Race you to the top,” he said to everyone. Then, for some of the scouts, the hike became a free-for-all to see who could get to the top first. I decided to stick back with one boy in our group because he was having a hard time hiking the grade. I wouldn’t get to the top first. But, we were a team, and we had to work together to get to the top.

After a half hour we reached the top. I drank the rest of the water I had left because my mouth was so dry. My legs ached, and I had to sit. When I built up some energy, I walked around and congratulated the other guys in our group. The physical training that took months of work finally paid off because we reached our goal of hiking to the top of the mountain. Since we were at the climax of our trip, I took some time to sit and think, staring off at the distant mountain ranges. Mostly, I thought about how we were able to achieve our goal and about the camaraderie we build up during the trip. It felt good to try something new with a group of friends and end up succeeding in the end.





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