Since I am young and still in high school, many people would contend that I am yet to experience what life has to offer. However, I disagree. I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity of documenting a remarkable experience at a young age, which I am sure will forever remain in my memories: my first climb to the mountains. Those, who have ever taken a hike to the mountains, would attest to the excitement. It follows when one is about to reach the top. In most cases, it happens during the first time when you are unaware of how it is going to unravel or what to expect.
Before the maiden mountain hike, I was more comfortable in my home settings, my friends, and my hometown. I had no difficulty spending several months in my town. Sometimes, weeks would pass without going beyond my block. With a cable TV service having National Geographic and Discovery channels, all my needs for adventure were somewhat satisfied. It was my belief that no real difference existed between seeing something with one’s own eyes and watching it on TV. All these changed last year when my friends developed an idea to go hiking in the Western Carpathian Mountains. Although I was reluctant to the idea, the finally managed to convince me to accompany them on their trip. The Western Carpathian Mountains are not overly high when compared to other giant mountains. At about 4500 high, they are almost similar to hills. Nevertheless, for a rookie hiker, this was a big feat.
Since this was first time hiking, I was looking in all directions. Unluckily, for most of the time, the weather was foggy, and visibility worsened as we climbed higher. Nevertheless, the hike was still enjoyable. The experience of being in the wild with a backpack, knife and a flashlight was fulfilling. It was unimaginable that I used to see this life on TV but somehow, I was experiencing it firsthand. After climbing for about one hour, we came across a stream. With no doubt, the water from it was the tastiest water I have ever drunk in my life. The water smelt soil and moss and had some subtle sweetness. Coupled with clean and fresh air, the experience was stunning. The fact that we were miles away from civilization provided with an opportunity to appreciate the marvels of nature.
As we climbed higher, the density of the forest reduced while shrubs increased. I could also notice a change in the ground soil, which was more of clay. It increased the difficulty of climbing as we kept slipping. The further we climbed, the steeper the slopes become, and the more branches of shrubs and stones cover the ground. After hours of climbing, we reached the top without even realizing due to the fog and clouds. Notwithstanding the excitement, I had a feeling of disappointment since I expected to have a panoramic view from the top and perhaps take a couple of pictures as evidence of my experience. Just when we about to descent, the sun emerged from the clouds, and the intensity of the fog and clouds reduced significantly. The scenery below was breathtaking and memorable. The sight of green valleys, distant river, mountain ridged and cliffs was incredible. The excitement was further compounded by the fact that I was seeing them with naked eyes and not on TV as I was used to. Though the sun only lasted for about 10 minutes, those five minutes were an experience of a lifetime. At that time, it dawned on me that I needed such encounters more frequently.
Despite the hardship that we encountered throughout the hike, the experience was fulfilling. I learned that the journey to the top is not always rosy, but when you endure and ultimately reach the top, the feeling is satisfying. My legs were hurting in the next few days, but just the thought of being on top was enough to wash away the physical pain.