We've all gone through it. You start off in the parking lot with such promise – a little pep in your step, a belly full of breakfast, and good intentions to reach the summit before lunch time – and then reality hits you in the face in the form of lactic acid, and cramps... That second helping of bacon really wasn't worth it, was it?
Denial – "This is going to be easy!"
You're 5 minutes in. You're feeling strong. You can't see the parking lot anymore. Conversation is flowing, someone probably says something like "We should commit to hiking somewhere new every weekend this summer!" and usually everyone agrees because today – the first hike of the season – is going to be easy!
Anger – "This was the stupidest idea ever"
You're 6 minutes in. All of that talking and your elevated heart rate has you out of breath. Why did you ever think this was a good idea? Who's stupid idea was this? Why did you think this was going to be fun? ... Oh right, it was yours... So you say the first thing that comes to your mind "This was the stupidest idea ever".
Bargaining – "We could just turn around and go grab a beer... I won't tell if you won't"
You're 45 minutes in. You've already snapped the first viewpoint, uploaded to Instagram, updated your Facebook status, and tweeted 47 times... You could turn around and head back down, go for a beer, be back in time for The Walking Dead, and no one would ever know... "I won't tell if you won't!"
Depression – "How are we not there yet..."
You're 2 hours in... Your step counter already says you've taken 10,000 steps, your heart rate is well above 140 BPM, you've burned a healthy 1,000 calories, your quads are burning, the people you saw with in the parking lot are starting to come back down and are saying things like "Keep going!" or "You're almost there!" and all you can think is "How are we not there yet!"
Acceptance – "Ok... This wasn't such a bad idea. Totally worth it"
You're 2 hours and 15 minutes in... YOU MADE IT! Grapes never tasted so good. Water never tasted so good. Your trail mix never tasted so good. The view never looked so good. You've never smiled so big, and you have that sudden realization that it was all TOTALLY worth it... And then someone says something like "That wasn't so bad..."
Parking lot Bliss – "Same time next week?!"
After a quick 45-minute descent full of laughter, slipping on wet rocks, telling the people on their way up that "They're almost there" and to "Keep going" you see the clearing... That glorious slab of concrete where you left your car. You're home free! Somehow the pain, the heat, the swearing doesn't matter – and the best part? Your feet don't hurt!
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