If you can’t understand a single thing in my Blair Witch Project summit selfie video, you’re in luck. Neither can I.
If you listen closely, you might hear me drop an f-bomb, lament the wind, and admit to the fact that I was scared to keep scrambling to the summit. Alas, I survived and ended up having a great new hiking memory and some newfound confidence.
The hike begins at the Fourth of July trailhead. The drive to get there is gorgeous, but leave your Camry at home as the road is rough. And as with any hike these days, plan to get there early as the small parking lot fills up fast.
The trail really does have it all. Scenery that makes you feel like you’re in another country and views that don’t disappoint.
In fact, the hike wasn’t difficult…well…until we hit ~12K feet and the wind really started to kick in. I had heard about how the weather could change quickly at these elevations and as I saw the blue sky turn gray, my newbie fears started to come out. What if we’re caught in a lightening storm? I don’t have enough snacks. WHAT ABOUT THE SNACKS?!
The trek up to the glacier got windier. So much so that the wind ripped my hat off multiple times (even with my jacket hood snugly on) and started causing some strong, stinging headaches. I had to stop, brace myself multiple times and just take it slow. Our usual chit-chat was reduced to, “Ugh. Wait. Stop.” and we just kept going.
Once we reached the glacier, I rejoiced. Hurrah! We did it! Let’s pause for 1,928,398 photos!
Not so… Josh was ready to climb the peak.
Of course I wanted to and of course I was going to do it. But that little voice of fear kept creeping into my head. Over the past two years, I’ve learned enough about myself to know that it’s not the elements that I’m necessarily afraid of, but the unknown. This “fear of the unknown” is my worst enemy.
I’m a planner and I like to be prepared, and given that I had done zero research on this climb and the wind was still brutal, the fear of the unknown chatter was causing my heart rate to spike and my mood to sour. But in times like this, you have a choice and I know there is only one thing I do: try to turn off the chatter, trust Josh and put one foot in front of the other.
With dried salt stuck in the corners of my eyes and boogers likely streaming down my face, we got there…
AT LAST. The summit at ~13,400 feet!
It probably took an entire three seconds for the fear to completely evaporate and a ridiculous smile to spread across my face.
The scramble to the peak is considered a class three (out of five). So is this the most physically difficult climb you’d ever do? Probably not. But battling the fear (and the wind) was a defining moment that grew my confidence tenfold. I have Josh to thank for keeping me going and being my mountain partner. Would I have stopped and quit? Of course not. But having someone you trust by your side is exactly what I needed to keep propelling me forward.
Time to find another mountain to climb.