This past weekend, I did something new.
First of all, (for those of you who don't know) I am not very… outdoors-y. I enjoy the outdoors, but I have to be doing something worth doing, I guess you could say. Like swimming or taking a walk, roasting marshmallows around a fire, or hiking.
But up until this weekend, I had never actually gone hiking. A friend from church invited my little brother and I to join him on Saturday for a hike and I said no.
Some folks at our church plan these hikes every once in a while, and we have been invited before, but I had never had the courage to say yes. I have always wanted to go, but in all honesty, I was afraid I'd make a fool of myself. But this time, my dad encouraged me to join the group and give it a shot.
When I thought of hiking, I imagined this big steep mountain where I would climb over boulders 'til I reached the top, but I was assured that this one would be super simple and a great trail for a beginner. So I agreed. After all it was only a 4.5-mile hike... right?
Did I make a fool of myself? I'll let you be the judge of that ;)
Truly, it was the photography that drew me in. I was dying to get to the top of a mountain to capture some amazing photos of nature's prime: autumn. So, at 4:45 AM, I woke up, added the finishing touches to my over-packed backpack, and by 5:30 AM, my brother and I were loaded into a friend's car and on our way to do something I knew nothing about.
My friends encouraged me a lot; especially those who'd done this many times before. So while I was nervous about the unknown, I knew I wouldn't be alone. Plus, I had my little brother who is now bigger than me and he's pretty protective ;)
According to the frequent hikers, our group was one of the largest they'd ever had--and it was a great group! We had a lot of fun as we worked together to make it to the top, creating what are now inside jokes and delightful memories.
The hike was pretty easy… except that I have short legs and apparently am not strong enough to conquer the several-hundred stairs as well as most people can. So yes, I was at the back most of the time, but I always had someone who slowed down to keep me company ;) Oh, and remember that over-packed bag I was talking about? Yeah, I won't be bringing that much stuff next time around. I was too tired to eat all the food I packed, and realized that I didn't need to bring my entire camera bag inside of my backpack, plus my Instax Mini 8 and extra film--just one camera and a lens will do next time. Lugging that thing up those stairs wasn't fun, but the pride in me said I had to finish what I had started and carry my weight the whole way, therefore, I refused all of the boys' offers to take my bag for me (even when three of them cornered me to a tree and listed the reasons I should give up my load and not be ashamed. Haha!).
The views truly were remarkable. Standing there with the wind biting my nose, I felt a rush of energy at being so high up and doing something so new with people I admire so much.
I really enjoyed the photography, and the fellowship was great. I'll have you know that the 4.5 miles I signed up for, ended up being almost 11, though!
Included in the scenery was a waterfall, and just before we started on the trail to go see it, we took a break and the guys stole my backpack and carried it the rest of the way. It was a lesson of humility for me, but it did help and I really appreciated it ;)
I did slip down a stair, too.
Despite the fact I didn't haul my bag the whole way, despite the fall down the stairs, the cold, the pounding of my heart, the ache in my legs, I enjoyed hiking, and I would go again :) I did something new and I'm glad that I did; I got to know friends better, went on little adventures, and ate good food afterwards!
Stepping outside your comfort zone isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes, it can lead to something really good. My trip was something I'll definitely remember :)