Smoke filled the air, and my lungs. The sound of exhaust spewing out filled my ears as we came to a stop. I took my first step down from the bus and I heard my friend yell to me, “Eli, go get a good spot!”
“You got it!” I hollered back.
I immediately went to get first dibs on the smoothest piece of dirt and gravel to set my tent on so I could sleep well for the big day tomorrow. I knew that the next couple of days would be days to remember.
Beaming light tore through the tent and it crashed against my eyes as I woke up. The real time was unknown because the counselors never told us the actual time. They told us it two o’clock, all day long, i guess so we wouldn’t get stressed about anything. Anyway, I walked out of my tent with the rest of my roommates for the time being, and we hastily went to get in line for breakfast. We ate as much as we could fit in our stomach because we knew we wouldn’t be eating for a long time. After breakfast, we got all of our gear and started our journey to the top of the mountain.
This journey was not an easy one, and there was a lineup of interference ahead of us. There were rocks two times taller than me, and I am just about six feet tall! There were also many rocks that were steeper, and more slippery than a forty five degree driveway that was covered in ice during the winter. Eventually we ventured past these obstacles and we came to the final point of our hike. We were going to climb a ninety degree cliff, this was where the real challenge was going to take place.
All the ropes were set up, so we got right into it. The day went on, and the sun began to set as my arms began to feel like they were going to fall off my body. It was time for the final climb. I was the first person to clamer the hardest climb I had ever faced. It was straight up and down, and flat, with only the smallest holds on the outside surface. There was a thin crack going through the middle, which was the only opening. Without second guessing myself, I knew, this was no doubt, going be the hardest climb I had ever faced. I also knew however, that no matter what, no matter how long it takes, no matter how hard it is, I was going to get to the top of it!
Then, without further adieu, I put on my harness and began. My friends were cheering me on. “You can do it Eli!” They screeched.
“I will do my best,” I exclaimed back. I looked at my belayer, and instructed, “You better not let me fall!”
“I got you, no worries, I am ready for anything,” he affirmed.
I reached the first hold and I could only hang on with my 3 fingers. I boosted myself up onto a little rock that was hanging out, and stood up on it. I kept on climbing, and I was at the middle of the wall and realized the hard part was only getting started. The rest of the wall was either risky jumps or super small places to either stand or hold onto. I was resting on this little rock, so I could catch my breath. I could feel the shower of the sweat running down my body. I had the sensation of little termites all over me, biting away at my nerves and playing tug of war with my body. I felt as if I had nothing left, but I looked at how far I had gone and something happened; I felt this feeling of adrenaline and of determination. This boost of energy gave me the mindset to think that I could get up this, get through it.
I climbed, and came to the final hold. I found myself facing the hardest challenge yet, the hardest hold, the hardest moment. All that was left between me and the top of the wall, was a little place to put my fingers on, and pull myself up. It seemed it was to far for my reach. I looked at it, and I thought about everything that had been bad or scary in my life. I focused on those bad moments and put them into that one hold. I told myself that when I would grab it, all those moments would no longer haunt me, and no longer control me, and that as soon as I grabbed ahold of it they would fall down the mountain.
My balayer, whose hands I lay my life upon, yelled up to me, “On three, we will give you a boost!”
“I don’t think it will be enough!” I said.
“You are getting up there Eli, whether you like it or not!” They protestingly chanted.
I know, I know, I am getting up there, it is too late to turn back, and I am too far to quit, because quitters never win! I told myself.
I looked up, and then back down, and focused into my jump. With everything I had left in my body, I jumped. It felt as if I was flying, as if I was in the air for an hour although it was only a single second. I grabbed the little opening, and was hanging by one hand, and I pulled myself up with my right hand. I looked behind me, and saw what I had accomplished. I took a moment to see how high I was, and the world around me. I saw the most beautiful canvas of nature that I had ever seen. The sun’s glistening light, was resting amongst a green pillow of trees. Transparent blue, water lay steady in a pool on the land. As I saw the world, I jumped. Then I saw the world pass by with me. I just closed my eyes, as I floated through the air knowing that my journey was almost over. All that was left, was getting back down!