It’s a hard place to be when nothing goes as planned. When everything falls apart. When all your expectations are unmet.
I expected the first day of our backpacking trip to be cold but not icy. I expected the hike to be difficult but not treacherous. I expected good conversation around a blazing fire the first night in camp. Instead, the icy wind storm forced us to set up and enter our tents early where we ate our dinners alone and tried to stay warm and dry. The long night was made longer as the storm continued through the dark morning hours. The wind howled, trees crashed to the ground, mice scurried around our tents, and we turned over and over in our sleeping bags. The morning brought relief from the storm, but ice covered everything.
It was so cold we didn’t want to move out of our sleeping bags, but we ate breakfast and began the long process of taking down tents and repacking our packs. Some in our group left because of sickness or injury but some more of us thought of quitting. Some of us wanted a toilet, a warm bed, and just not to be on the adventure any longer.
Maybe more of us than I knew wanted to leave the trail, but we stayed with it. We hiked through one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. The frozen forest was other-wordly. Two or so hours into our hike we were out of the ice and ascending the mountain where the sun shone bright on our faces. We ate our lunches on rocks warmed by the sun, then we climbed Little Hump and Big Hump Mountains.
The three day, two night backpacking trip far exceeded my expectations and turned out to be one of the most difficult, joyful, and memorable adventures for me. The hard parts of the trip made the good parts really good.
It’s like that with most anything, isn’t it? The challenges of a thing make the finish that much sweeter. We’re made stronger by the challenges. We learn more from difficult situations and we find out what we can really do.
The hard parts are worth it.