Mt. Diablo, or When It Is Ok To Fail

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I attempted to summit Mt. Diablo and found out the hard way that it is not that smart to try to hike 13+ miles in 100+ degree heat, while starting at 3pm and not eating much except for a few cookies. Who knew right?

As I said, I started pretty late in the afternoon, and it was already sweltering hot by the time I started. Despite the time and the heat, I started out pretty strong, due to nothing but the pure adrenaline and excitement I feel when I first start on any trail!

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See, look how cute I am, all ready to hike.

After about a mile, I started to feel a bit faint, due to lack of proper nutrition and the HEAT! Even though it was hot, late, and I wasn’t feeling great (hey that rhymes!) I still decided to push myself just a little bit further.

I already know that I have trouble quitting things, I feel intensely loyal and feel that I am disappointing someone (maybe myself) if I quit, so I try to keep pushing on, often instead of looking for a different or possibly better way. I have stood by and watched myself do this in various situations, jobs, relationships, and projects, and it is something that I am working on.

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So, in the light of working on myself and calling it quits when necessary, I decided to turn around and go back down the trail. I was on my way down when my brain got the better of me and I thought, “NO! I can make it, I can push through!!” (wrong). So I turned back around and started going up the trail again. I wrestled with myself a little bit and sat down in the dirt (don’t worry I checked for poison oak and rattlers first). I did the math and realized that I hadn’t told anyone exactly where I was going or when I would be back.

So I reluctantly turned around once again and headed back down for good. When I got to the trailhead I saw the end of the trail I was on (it was a loop) and decided to still get a bit of a workout and some outdoor time in. I hiked the flat part of the loop for about a mile and then turned around and ran back to the trailhead and the car.

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Overall, I felt pretty ok with turning around and stopping my hike, but I also felt pretty empty inside. I live for the feeling of accomplishment after I finish a challenging hike, and I have always been able to push myself to complete whatever hike I’m doing, but this time I didn’t get to have that moment. It was a surreal feeling because failing has been something that I’ve been really afraid of, yet this didn’t feel bad, it just felt like nothing.

All in all, I know that the mountain will still be there the next time I set out to conquer it, and that I will be so much more ready the next time I try. I am planning to try Mt. Diablo again this weekend, but we shall see what life decides to throw at me before then.

Until next time,

Pepper

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Karen Jensen says:

    You make good points re the importance of being ready!

    Like

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