Several months ago on the list of activities coming up for my Sunday School class was "Hike the Guadalupe Peak". I had been wanting to do this ever since I moved out to west Texas. I thought this would be a good opportunity, going with friends and I wouldn't even have to pay for gas. I had read about this hike but really had absolutely NO idea of the type of hike it was. i really thought it was somewhat like any other hike I had been on...not much too it. The fact that I have been walking about 15 miles a week made me think not necessarily that it would be a cake but that I would have no trouble making it to the top. Boy was I wrong. I knew by the first several hundred yards I was in trouble. It was steep and it was rocky, big rocks, unstable rocks. They told me on the way to the peak that the first miles and a third were the hardest...then it go easier. By the first half mile I was ready to turn around. If I had been by myself I probably would have. But I was hiking at the BACK of the pack with a 70 year old man. He had hiked this peak 4 times already. I thought surely if he can I can. He went slow and sure and I tell you it was all I could do to keep up with him. We caught up with some other folks that I knew. We traversed with them a while and then it was the older guy, a guy a bit younger than I and me. We went all the way to the bridge together, some 3 1/2 miles straight as far as I could tell. I was exhausted and fatigued. I was hungry and near dehydration. I did not have one of those camel back water carriers which made getting water out of my pack very difficult. That and having some real hiking or trail shoes would be something I'd change in the future. At that point I said "I can't go any further. I'm afraid if I go any further I won't be able to make it down." I knew since it had taken me 3 1/2 hours to go 3 1/2 miles it would take me a couple of hours to get down. Also the group was going to turn around at 2p.m and start heading down. It was already after 1:30. By the time I would make it to the top, they would start heading down and not only would I not have time to rest, I would not be able to eat and by this time I was starving. So I turned around. It took me two hours to get to the bottom. My legs were tremoring. I finally made it town and said "I'll never do this again. Nothing about it was pleasant. It's too hard". What a let down though. I was very disappointed that I did not get to sign my name in the special ledger at the top of the peak.
By the next morning I was sore, but I was more convinced that I would have to try to climb that mountain again. By day three I was so sore I could barely walk. The difficulty of that hike was unexpected. The soreness of my muscles was unexpected as well. I believed I was more fit than that. I was wrong. Next trip I'll be a bit more fit. I'll try to do some stair climbing or hill climbing to train before hand. I'll have some trail or hiking shoes to wear to manage those rocks. I'll try it in a little cooler weather. I'll have a way to carry my water that I can drink easily as I go up. I'll go with no pressure of time to get to the top or specific time I'll have to head down. I'll go with someone who will be encouraging but not pressuring. It'll be a challenge because truly it was so hard, there was nothing enjoyable about it. Maybe it will be different when I make it to the top.
Encourage one another!