The Hike of A Lifetime | Teen Ink

The Hike of A Lifetime

December 18, 2018
By Mojenn BRONZE, Mundelein, Illinois
Mojenn BRONZE, Mundelein, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I’m cursed, no I’m not being haunted by ghosts, and no I didn’t steal the Hope Diamond. My curse is that I live in Illinois. I don’t despise the food, the city, or the people, but I do despise the land and it’s extraordinary lack of character. I love hiking and being outdoors, but Illinois’s puny 956 ft elevation range doesn’t hold much potential for those activities. So when my dad asked if I wanted to go hiking in Colorado with some other fathers and sons from my church, I was overjoyed .

As the days passed and our departure on July 28th from O’hare to Denver approached my excitement grew exponentially. We arrived at Denver and went to Estes Park, just northwest of Denver. As we drove around I was shocked at the beauty surrounding me. Every turn at we took at Estes Park we saw mountains towering over the lush valleys and cliffs that seemed to never end. It was unlike anything I have ever witnessed before.

The next day we started our main hike up Flattop Mountain then continuing up to Hallett Peak (12,713ft). As we hiked it was much more difficult than I anticipated. I gazed up at the mountain to see how much farther we had to go and I began to worry that I wouldn’t finish the hike. The eight mile journey and the huge 3,500ft elevation increase followed by a nearly vertical rock climbing at the summit was daunting. A recent ankle injury due to cross country had left me unsure of my physical capabilities. It wasn’t until we stopped about halfway on a mountain nearby and looked back at the path that we have taken fade into the distance that I was filled with a joy, fulfillment, and achievement with seeing how much we had done.

As I was hiking I started to think about how hiking is similar to other aspects of my life. Hiking gave time for my mind to wander. As I wandered I thought about school. I thought about my struggles in my classes and the challenges I had to overcome with AP  and honors level courses. I realized that the process of learning isn’t always the most fun, but the fulfillment after seeing how far I have come just encourages and increases that thirst for knowledge. Looking down at the mountain I was content but never fully satisfied. I was determined to pursue the summit.

We continued our hike approached the top of Flattop Mountain I felt like on top of the world but exhausted, like getting an “A” on a APUSH test after studying rigorously throughout the week 3-4 hours a day. Often sacrificing sleep for APUSH notecards at 1:00 am. However this is never the end of the journey, just look around there is always more, there is always a higher mountain, there is always something more I can learn.

As our upward journey reached an end, we finally reached the top, I felt that feeling of achievement, but this time it was better than before. It was almost an addiction at this point. I wanted to hike more, learn more, and do more, and I wanted to help others achieve the same like how I helped my dad during the final stretch of the journey.

A storm emerged overhead so we began our descent.

In school and all aspects of my life I believe that if I don’t challenge myself there is no way I can grow as a person. As I continue to be cursed by living in Illinois I will continue my search for meaningful adventure not just physically, but mentally as I challenge myself academically and continue my studies to secure a better future.


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