I can’t tell you how much I love being up in the mountains, even when the mountain is as small as Mount Spokane. I’ve always heard people talking about Mount Spokane, but until yesterday I had never been up there before. The hill behind my apartment is a more noticeable landmark from the city than “Mount” Spokane, but after driving up there I was actually pretty mesmerized by its winter beauty. Even driving through the park I felt a deep sense of peace as I wound through the snow covered trees.
After reaching the start of the snowshoe trail, it became apparent that it was going to be a snowy and foggy day. I trekked for a while, chatting with a few people along the way, and eventually reached a little picnic shelter before the push to the summit. A couple of women who were at the shelter told me that they usually navigate by spotting a straight line to the communication tower. Unfortunately for me, there was no tower in sight! So I started on my way with just a map and compass, blindly hoping that there was indeed a tower at the top. After maybe a half hour or so I hit the tree line. Suddenly, I could no longer tell the difference between the ground and sky, as my world was now a barren landscape of gray. At this moment I was presented with an interesting decision: continue onward through the unknown to my destination, or head back down to the picnic shelter. After a few minutes consulting my map and compass, I decided to push onward. I didn’t push on with fear (in part because Mount Spokane is a small mountain that is well trafficked) but with faith and confidence in my goal. Before I knew it the tower came into sight and I met up with a few others who were sheltering from the wind beneath an overhang. After reaching the tower, I traversed the summit until I came upon the Vista House, a cozy little cabin where they keep a wood burning fire and sell hot cocoa. The moment I stepped inside the Vista House, I was incredibly grateful that I had made the decision to push onward to the top. As I made my way back down the mountain, I ran into others who were questioning their decision. With a big smile on my face, I showed them the direction to the summit and assured them that the Vista House was still there.
My journey up the mountain got me to thinking about taking risks in life. As cliche as it might sound, I definitely believe that the most amazing things are only discovered when you step into the unknown. Along the way, people will tell you to navigate with tall towers, but more often than not you’ll find yourself blindly pushing to destinations you only vaguely believe exist. Instead of turning back, however, I encourage you to keep moving forward. Sure, I could have enjoyed my cocoa had I backtracked to to the picnic shelter. But the cocoa I enjoyed by the wood burning fire at the top filled me with an incomparable sense of inspiration and gratitude, knowing that I had faced the unknown and persevered.