The Wedgemount Wind
A blast of wind smashed against me as I realized that I had made it. The various peaks. Aspirating air. Eyes wide open. The tactual and emotional sensation of experience. I was at the top. However, climbing a mountain is no easy feat, especially, one I was not prepared for. This past summer I never planned any super physical activities, whether it was because I didn’t want to, or I was just uninterested, I’ll never know; however, when I was asked if I wanted to go on a hike: “Sure! Of course.” This was a perfect opportunity to get active. The trip was planned and I was as ready as one could be by only hearing, “Do you want to go on a hike?”
I packed the essentials: water, snacks, shorts, and my camera; then, I was over at my cousin’s house by seven the Saturday before. My cousins and I were all confident, although, somewhat worried, yet, still confident.
We were wakened at two by our collective alarms and after some last-minute packing, an hour later we were off.Through my consistent ins and outs of consciousness on the drive to our destination the lingering anxiety, worry, and excitement for what came ahead only began to grow as we became ever so close to our destination. At a quarter to five we reached the base of what would become the death of us, Wedgemount, past Whistler. Unaware of the trek, we laughed and joked as we began the trail. Starting off slow we felt this could be a simple breeze, a battle of duration, rather than dexterity, although, soon enough, we would find that to be untrue.
The scenery was gorgeous, for as we climbed the steady incline the evermoving backgrounds to our journey were always changing, the surrounding trees would change width, the vegetation would thicken, and the colors would grow in saturation as the sun started to rise. There were times I would look around me a see an never-ending ocean of green in countless shades, the gentle sounds of birds and the breaking of branches as I took step after step towards my unforeseen goal. A few hours in and as the incline started to grow in height. We all started to notice some struggle three hours in as the strength of the sun started to rise, I quickly changed to my shorts; however, it was soon noticed that mosquitos were also starting to wake. Too hot and sweaty to feel any sort of comfort from my clothes I took my chances with the little devils and continued our journey ahead, although, there was always the usual slap or hand wave to ward them off.
Eventually, we reached the half way mark, pulled out our snacks and attempted to draw back some energy, sitting by the unnerving cliff edge right off the path.
Half past ten we reached an area dissimilar to what we have already seen: short sturdy trees with luscious bright green shrubs surrounding the area. Uncertain of the worth that awaited us we grew dreary and exhausted, however looking behind us, we could now see our elevation: unbelievably high, with clouds that seemed years away as well as a base that seemed disconnected from where we were, it gave us that extra motivation to keep us dragging along with our heads reasonably high. It was only eleven when we became unsure of how far we were, but we stopped for pictures and a relaxing rest as we absorbed the view behind us starting to bend behind the cliffside to our left.
Seven minutes later we continued, noticing mosquitos weren’t so common anymore, only to recognize the height we had to climb. As we approached, the steepness of the face became real, you couldn’t even fully extend your arm before you were touching path that we had to ascend. It was a real game of oblivious life or death, where you climb on these slippery loose rocks, looking forward to your goal. Behind you is hundreds of meters of mountain you have accomplished, but one slip is all It takes to tumble down to your own execution. Every grab becomes a mind game of uncertainty, while every step feels like a wheel of chance. An hour of this game drove us to exhaustion. As I climbed my mind went blank letting pure instinct lift me forward. This caused me to be first, having to wait ten to twenty minutes for my cousins to reach me. Which I didn’t complain of course. I continued to move ahead, however, with every step now dragging my weight along like anchors chained to my ankles, I somehow kept striding along. It was only until one of my cousins mentioned it that I noticed myself.
“Is that snow?” he said as he caught up to me.
“I guess?” how high are we right now? “we must be by the top then.” I replied. I was too excited. We were almost at the peak that we’ve spent the last seven hours treading. With what little strength we had, we quickened our pace and just passed the last ledge when we saw what we thought was the main glacier. Taking in the cool air, we were impressed, but not amazed, but we hoped there was more. Continuing the path, we see it: Our accomplishment. Straight ahead, blasted by glacier air we see the most beautiful sight, no picture could ever do it justice. The view was unimaginable: the vibrant colors, the tall peaks with spilling snow, a rock face almost as surreal as a painting. Surrounded by mountain, he lake was just a small dimple on the top of what felt like the world. This is what I loved, this is what I achieved. Taking in everything, I felt like I could stand there for hours just admiring what was before me. We collapsed in fatigue and sat down while snacking on whatever we had left, recollecting on the personal experience and struggles of the climb. I turned to them, seeing their smiles on their faces just as wide as mind. Only having an hour at the peak, we moved down to the small lake and we spent the rest of our time by the water while one of my cousins went for an icy swim in the glacier water.
This was life, I enjoyed every moment of being up there and I will never forget that feeling. A blast of wind smashed against me as I stood there. The various peaks. Aspirating air. Eyes wide open.
“Let’s go home,” they said.
“I’ll be there in a minute.” I wanted to enjoy the moment for as long as I could. Finally, I turned my back on the experience, getting ready to experience it again. Someplace else. Someplace new. Where once again, I could feel alive.
One thing I think I did well in my essay was how I described and told about the experience, the climb and how it felt.
Another thing I felt I did well was using stronger words, other than, for example: very tired, very big.
In terms of what I could have improved on, I felt I could have done a better job integrating the narrative aspect of the story.
As well, I could have cut out many pieces of unnecessary information.