V for Vendetta

To try something once and to not succeed is not failure, unless you never try it again. Deseret Peak located in Utah’s Great Basin Region left me high and dry ten years ago when I failed to reach it’s lofty 11,031 foot summit. Ten years ago my cousin Hollie and I spent our Labor Day hiking up this breathtaking mountain, only to be stopped 1,000 vertical feet short by some serious ailment happening with me. She was so sweet, and not upset at all and we turned back to the car. We always promised to come back to visit that peak together and reach it’s summit.

A few short years later I would lose my cousin, best friend, and the sister I never had, Hollie, to a car accident. We would never get to summit Deseret Peak before her passing, and something about that mountain all of a sudden seemed sacred. For a long time I thought that if I couldn’t summit it with Hollie then I just wouldn’t summit it. Time passed, and I soon realized that to summit that mountain is exactly what she would want me to do, and she would be there cheering me on the whole way to the top. Years and years later, the opportunity presented itself for me to try for the summit of this mountain again

Saturday was the perfect day for a hike. The Brenns, and Andy, Jane, and myself took off on a cool, crisp, fragrant morning for the heights of Deseret Peak. The first few miles felt good, and I was happy to be outside and just enjoying life. My cousin was often on my mind, wondering what her life would be like now if it was her beside me hiking. After a few short miles I started to really feel weak and fatigued and having stomach issues. I had been sick earlier in the week and knew I wasn’t completely recovered, but felt I was ok to do this today. 

As I reached the same spot that I stopped ten years ago, I got that same feeling of wanting to quit and just feeling too sick. However something deep inside me didn’t want to quit on this mountain twice. I also felt that maybe I had a little someone routing me on to finish this hike off. I took the next mile of the hike and powered through the pain and made it to the top. It wasn’t the most pleasant, but the views were worth it. I spent the descent in a lot of pain, and being dizzy, and wishing the grim reaper would be waiting around each corner. However, that’s the thing about being in the wilderness, you can’t just give up and quit, you have to finish, you have to conquer. Somehow I made it down the mountain, it truly was a big blur, I might have had someone with a pair of wings keeping me up. I like to believe so anyhow. Despite it being the worst I felt on a hike in a long time, I am glad I did it, and I learned some huge life lessons in that moment.

The human spirit is what takes over when the body no longer wants to cooperate; it is far more powerful than any muscle in your body. Believing in yourself goes a long way, and have faith there is always someone else believing in you too. Draw on these moments when you feel you can’t do something, or something is hard, remember how strong that spirit is, and what it has been able to accomplish in the past, and be grateful for a chance to give it the workout it needs as well. 


Family Vacation: Maryland’s High Point, Backbone Mountain

On Thursday, we began our travels to West Virginia. Lucky for us, there were peaks to be bagged along the way.

Backbone Mountain was relatively easy to find. There was even a sign redirecting us from where the GPS took us. 

The trail itself was a walk up, but it was steep in some places. The road was moist damp wet from recent rains, but I had my chacos on, so mud was no problem! 

I love these mountains because EVERYTHING is moss-covered. SO MUCH MOSS. So soft. 

The mile hike to the summit only took about 20 minutes and the descent took 10-15? I think we only gained 700ft and total elevation was 3360ft. I read that the youngest independent hiker of this mountain was 4, but I think an agile 3 year old could do it.


Family Vacation: Valley View Trail and Rocky Ridge

After our family excursion to Blackwater Falls, we went home, ate some lunch, and took a nap. 

I was awoken from my nap by Ethan telling me we were going to check out a trail. Better believe I was game. 

The view from the Valley View Trail was incredible. SO PRETTY. You could see the whole valley (thus the name). 

I wasn’t content with just looking though, I wanted to explore more. We wandered around a little bit and found a trail. Apparently we were in Dolly Sods Wilderness Area. Ethan’s family left us to have our fun. 

We just went out to these great big rocks and back. It was awesome and fun to enjoy my time with Ethan playing on these big rocks.

After being on this trail, I decided that I wanted to do a longer hike on some of the other trails.