KidSpirit

Conquering Lafayette

Artwork by: Gemma Laurence

For our 6th grade beginning-of-the-year trip, we went to New Hampshire to climb the White Mountains. Although this presented a huge challenge, I was excited and ready to hike.

As we got off the bus I saw the tall, cloud- covered mountains. They made me feel so small, and my feeling of adrenaline turned to dread.

After packing our lunches and checking our packs, we began to hike. At first the terrain was level and flat, but then the ground gradually became hilly and slanted. My backpack began to feel heavy and my shoulders ached. My classmates seemed so confident and fearless. Why couldn’t I be like them? Birds chirped in the distance, and a stream ran next to our path, but I was too busy complaining to notice.

The scenery kept changing as we hiked higher and higher. It was the end of the summer, but temperatures reached below 15 degrees. Now, we were above the tree level and no vegetation grew. The freezing wind blew onto my cold, tired face. The only thing we passed now was rocks. This strange desolate place made me feel like I was on another planet. It was completely unfamiliar and I was overwhelmed with a feeling that I can only describe as UNKNOWINGNESS. Soon we came to a small wooden sign stuck into the ground. The chipped red paint read, “1/2 a mile to summit.” Soon we passed another sign, and another, and another. They all said that we were getting closer to the summit, but it seemed to me that we were getting farther. Soon, I looked up and saw another sign. In blue paint it said, “Summit of Mt Lafayette.” I MADE IT! We were at the top!

Everybody huddled behind a huge rock and reflected on the long, tiresome hike. We celebrated over a box of strawberry Pop Tarts. We ate Pop Tarts in the clouds! For a moment I wandered away from the group. I looked down the mountain. I saw everything from the parking lot where we started, to the waterfall we passed without my noticing.

How could I have missed all of that beautiful nature? How could I have walked by all that scenery, without really seeing it? I had taken it all for granted, but I still had the hike down to embrace the experience fully.

As the hike drew to a close, I realized how much fun we had. I felt like doing the hike all over again. On that trip I found out more about myself: I was a better hiker than I thought, and I was capable of so much more than I believed. I had conquered Lafayette.

Sam Miller is 12 years old and currently attends the Montessori Middle School in Norwalk, CT. His hobbies include playing the drums, classic rock, and cartooning.

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