✓ Goal #94) Climb Mount Saint Helens

I set up camp at Climber’s Bivouac, a small base camp at the foot of the mountain, and began cooking spaghetti on the campfire when a stranger wandered into my campsite looking for conversation. He spent the better part of the next hour telling old war stories of his time in the mountains and assured me I’d see him the next morning on the summit. Then he wandered off into the darkness.

With the campfire slowly fading, I decided to get some rest before my early start in the morning. It wouldn’t be a comfortable night. I should’ve expected it to be cold since the tent was staked into a pile of snow. I spent most of the night shivering, trying to stay warm. Sleep was a luxury. When the sun finally cast its warm rays across the tent it was time to get up, eat breakfast and get on my way.

The climb started with an easy hike through the woods, and it didn’t take long before I reached the tree line where I was welcomed by a huge mountain … one which I’d soon be climbing. I trudged across the snow field and began my ascent.

I hiked across snow and ice, rocks and boulders and dusty ash trails for about six hours before  finally making it to the summit of Mount Saint Helens. All of the work was definitely worth the reward of sitting at the top of the crater rim looking out at Mount Rainier in the distance. I stayed at the summit for about half an hour before beginning my descent. I could’ve stayed there for days.

I scrambled down the boulder fields and as I neared the bottom of the mountain, there was a snow chute from previous hikers. I slid the rest of the way down the mountain on my butt. It was a much more efficient way to travel … not to mention a lot of fun!

It was a challenge to reach the summit.

My legs were practically screaming “I hate you!” with each step. But no matter how much it hurt, I had to keep going. I’d already come this far and I knew how glad I’d be once I reached the top. I think it’s like anything you hope to accomplish in life … the closer you are, the harder you push to make it happen.

Whatever your mountain may be, no matter the challenges and difficulties that lie ahead, keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually you’ll arrive at your destination.

One step at a time.

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