This weekend a friend and I summited Mt. St. Helens. It was honestly the hardest hike I have ever done. Mt. Baker, Long’s Peak and one other peak in Colorado are close but not as horrendous as this one.
Every time I hike, I always hit some point where I hate it…..I don’t want to continue but I have no choice because I’m somewhere in the middle of nowhere and no matter what I have to return the same way from which I came. But Mt. St. Helens, I hated it the whole way. I was scared and pushed to my limit. There were boulders, ash and snow. There was a ridiculous amount of elevation gain in a very short span of feet. We went from having to rest every 500 ft to having to rest every 250 ft. The last mile was a painfully slow ascent to the top of our magnificent world. If you stepped wrong there was plenty feet to plummet and usually on both sides from where you were. There were massive hidden gaps to sink into the snow with not so friendly volcanic rock to greet you.
I know it sounds like I don’t like it, but I clearly do. I like being scared and making myself move. I like being simultaneously mentally, emotionally and physically pushed. I like the potential impossibility of what I am accomplishing. It feels incredible to know that nature can backhand you out of existence with a gust of wind or one misstep.
Every time I hike, I am humbled back into the place I belong. A grateful servant to the earth. I need this experience at regular intervals so I can keep perspective of the daily. I need nature and a break from the amount of concrete we have used to litter our planet for our convenience. I need the feeling of the earth not being solid beneath my feet and to know that I can survive when I put my everything into each step.
Whether you are in nature, on stage, in the ring or just living your daily life, try and hang on to your insignificance for it will reward you with just how much you matter.
Boxing gives me this experience but there is something so important to have nature in the mix whenever possible. In the ring, I’m protected by walls and out of the elements. In nature I am the air, the infinite and the void.
Thank you to our National Parks Service for the incredible effort it takes to allow us to have this experience. I gladly give my money to preserve these spaces.