Hiking hasn’t always been an activity I’ve been open to trying, in fact, like golf, I blindly figured that it would be boring and was unwilling to give it a try. However, like all things in 2012, I have decided to push aside preconceived notions about different activities. And through this, I’ve learned that I have been holding myself back by deciding that anything was boring before actually giving it a shot.
Which is why, after visiting REI to prepare for my upcoming trip to Africa, and investing in a nice pair of hiking sneakers, I decided that I should give hiking a chance. I had hiked to Khunkorn Waterfall in Thailand, so how different could hiking in America be? Plus, I was attempting to make life at home just as exciting as life on the road, and this could be the perfect way to do it.
So, today, Jeff and I decided to head upstate in New York to Butter Hill to take advantage of the beautiful weather.
While the hike was much more difficult than anything I’ve ever done, the views of the Hudson River were well-worth it. From a parking lot off the side of 9W, we walked right into the woods on a path that was barely noticeable. Without Jeff, who’s been on the trail before, I would have never have ventured into the woods. But, venture into the woods we did, covered in sunscreen and bug spray, following the small orange marks that were left on trees and rocks. After the first few minutes, I knew I was in for something I’ve never come close to doing before.
It was one of the most exhausting experiences I have ever had: climbing over roots and branches, scaling rocks, and having to think about how I was going to climb before I actually did. There were many points along the way that I didn’t think I could do it, but Jeff pushed me to try, and I realized that it was only my mind holding me back.
The more we climbed the more I liked it, no matter how out of breath I became. With each step, I grew to like it more and more and the views were unbelievably beautiful. The reward was completely worth the exertion it took to get there.
After about forty-five minutes, we reached an area near the top, and decided to rest and take a few pictures.
The view ahead of us was absolutely beautiful and the skies were clear.
But, the view behind us told an entirely different story, predicting heavy rainfall and possible thundershowers. We decided to head back down, rather than continuing our climb and getting caught in the rain with nothing to protect ourselves.
Heading down presented its own challenges, as it was much more difficult than on the way up, but it was equally rewarding and my confidence grew as we continued on. Plus, the threat of thunder in the distance was enough to motivate me to keep going.
Jeff and I almost made it completely off the mountain before the rain started, but we had to run through the woods while it poured. Safe in the car, we had our snacks and laughed about how we just barely missed the storm and how much fun we had hiking together.
Now, I can’t wait to break out my hiking shoes again and to begin discovering new trails in the area. With each new activity I try, I find myself enjoying life here at home in completely new and different ways. I am also beginning to realize that I don’t have to go very far from home to have new experiences because my country is just as beautiful as those I spend hours traveling to visit.