Hiking Pichincha

Phoebe Park - Ecuador


September 11, 2016

Peering up at the relentless slopes that stretched on for what seemed like eternity, I didn't think I could finish the hike.

Yet I did, or at least our group of six made it all the way to the base of the last slope that led all the way up to the volcano. The view was spectacular from 4,000 meters above sea level, but it was awe-strikingly beautiful on our walk back down to the Teleferico. Looking back at how much distance we had covered, we realized that it was more than we thought it was.


As cheesy as it sounds, hiking Rucu Pichincha seemed to be a great representation of this coming year. It is going to be difficult to say the very least.


The whole way up, I will fight dizziness, nausea, and the little voice in my head that says give up. I should push myself to conquer the uphill battles, but I should also keep check on my condition and take breaks. During these breaks in which I will stop to enjoy the stretch of sky and mountains meeting before me, I will find happiness.


And I am sure our growth will surpass what we though it would be. Even today, I look back at what I wrote for myself here a month ago, and I can't believe how much my mindset has changed.


But the weight of my bulging backpack made my hike harder. However, as I ate and drank my overstock of supplies, I could tighten my straps a little more and bring my bag closer to me. I think expectations of what this year will look like will drag me down significantly. Though, as I chew on them and digest them, I can process my expectations into a vision for the future – a big picture.


Today, I tripped on my way down the trail. I hurt the same ankle that I had hurt just a week ago, but my friends helped me the rest of the way down. I leaned on them, and I learned more about them as we made our way back to the Teleferico. I will fall in stupidly annoying and painful ways, but my friends will help me finish the year. Along the way, I will get to know them more intimately.


We stopped to eat the worst pizza we had ever had in our lives before returning home. We were dead tired, and we missed the real pizza we could find so easily back at home. Yet we were so happy in that moment, together and having accomplished something together.


Would I hike Pichincha again? Probably not. Maybe? I'm not sure, but I don't regret anything about today. I won't regret anything about this year. I will relish the difficult inclines, sprained ankles, and disgusting pizza. I will turn my the burdening weight into a driving force.


I don't think this goes for just these next seven months though; this goes for the rest of my life. I think I like hiking, but maybe next time I'll return with some hiking shoes with traction.

Phoebe Park