Mt. Disappointment Trail
Am I still a virgin hiker if this was not my first time on the trails? No matter, it was all the same to me because each hike felt like I was hiking for the first time. I should admit though, that my whole perspective about hiking was changing. You know how you hate to exercise? How you despise getting up before the rooster crows, putting on your best workout gear, having that grainy protein shake that tasted like ground chalk with egg whites, 12 grain toast sans butter and soy milk for breakfast before you started your grueling 30 minutes of heart pumping exercise? The whole idea was enough to make me want to stay in the comfort of my nice cozy bed.
Who LOVES exercise? Anyone who tells you they LOVE exercise is not being honest. Let me be honest with you - I don’t LOVE hiking. I don’t LOVE the heart pounding, leg aching, painstaking and sweat drenching, mountain climbing act of hiking. Maybe having had that dinner with appetizers and dessert the night before wasn’t such a good idea after all.
On this particular day, we would be hiking Mt. Disappointment, (who named this mountain?) to a level of just about 6000 feet. My trusty guide assured me that after hiking Mt. Baldy, this would be an easy day. (Does that mean I would get home before the sun sank slowly into the west? We’ll see about that.). There were twelve of us, half of which were hiking this trail for the first time. The weather was good and everyone was prepared for the task at hand – to reach the summit and enjoy the view. I didn’t know if there were any girl or boy scouts in the group but our guide tested our knowledge by asking us which way was the trail head. Who’s leading whom? Even our guide’s trusty second-in-command looked daunted as if it was a trick question.
Nevertheless, as our trek began, my lungs immediately revolted and I asked myself – I’m doing this - WHY!? Why would I subject myself to the torture of climbing a mountain just for the sake of it? Nevertheless, I continued onward and upward, and in what seemed like the blink of an eye, the beauty of nature in all its glory stopped us in our tracks. (It was actually a water break and thankfully, a much needed one.) We took in the scenery around us, each person silently showing their appreciation to Mother Nature, snapping a few photos to preserve the memories. When we got to our first landing and snapped a few more photos, we continued on a service road for a few more minutes. As we reached the final leg of a seemingly endless hike, I was relieved and saddened at the same time. I had once again challenged myself and came out -literally- on top. Now what would I possibly do for an encore? That thought I pushed right outta my head as it threatened to disrupt the thought of my latest accomplishment that I wanted to relish a little longer.
I haven't decided if I really do love hiking or not. Did I love the quiet? Yes. Did I love the sounds of the birds chirping, the bees humming and the ground crunching beneath my feet? Yes. Did I love being among the tall trees with the sun peeking through the leaves to reveal itself to me? Yes. Did I love hiking? NO. Why did I do this to myself? Because the reward was in the fact that I had challenged myself, conquered my fears and because just like the exercise junkie who can’t seem to get enough, I do believe I’d become a junkie myself.