I've always enjoyed the outdoors. The solitude that can be found in nature is nearly impossible to find in the city. But even more than solitude I find strength in nature, an inner strength that has little to do with physical ability. Its a mental strength that can only be found when one has gone beyond what is comfortable and finds themselves alone in the wild.
Standing above the clouds where the air is thin and the trees are scarce is an experience known only to a few. It's a feeling of serenity, solitude, exhaustion, and triumph. Knowing what you overcame to get here, to be standing on the tallest point for miles and able to look out at the valley floor below you, and at all of the other peaks that stand nearly as tall around you. But sadly your journey is only half finished, because you still have to make it safely down.
Climbing a mountain is a challenge unlike any other. It's a test of endurance as well as strength. It requires agility and also speed. The trail is generally very long, often 10 or 20 miles. To many that number may seem impossible to overcome. Climbing a mountain is more than a physical test. Your muscles alone will not save you from the fear and uncertainty that come from even contemplating this trek. The greatest challenge is not having the strength to finish, but simply having the will to start. Then you look up and see the towering mass before you rising up thousands of feet into the clouds. This is definitely a challenge worth starting.
Your first step into the outdoors will be an uneasy one. You won't be sure what you should take with you, or how far you can go. This is where it's important to start pushing yourself. Leave your extra shirt at home. Don't take two jackets if you only need one. Soon your pack will be lighter, and while you may be nervous that you aren't prepared, you'll be able to travel farther. Then one day the temperature will drop and you'll wish you had that extra jacket, until you realize that wrapping up in your sleeping bag keeps you warm by the fire. How you handle an uncomfortable situation is often more important than the gear you bring with you.
What I've found while climbing mountains is the mental strength that tells me one simple thing: that I can do anything I set my mind to. Climbing mountains is intimidating. It's scary. But overcoming that fear is so rewarding, and it will change your life forever. All it takes is the will to start.