I tried to hike a mountain today, and failed miserably, but it’s okay.

The more I try things the more I’m learning when it’s okay to say no. That seems like the opposite of what most people experience in this kind of thing, but for me it’s important. I committed to hiking up the backside of Pike’s Peak the other day, thinking “yeah, I could probably handle that now” but then we got ~2 miles in and I was huffing and puffing like a freight train. Turns out I’m not in good enough shape to hack a 14er yet.

I let the group know I was having a rough go of it, and since we were barely a third of the way up the mountain, it would only get worse from there. They tried to get me to stay and keep going, but I thanked them and turned back. Part of me wishes that I’d kept going, but I don’t think I would have been able to enjoy the hike if I had. It’s okay to say no if saying yes won’t give the experience you wanted.

I also realized on the way back that I don’t enjoy hiking mountains. Hiking *in* the mountains, sure. But hiking 14ers and gaining a ton of elevation? Definitely not for me. On the way back down I kept getting distracted by light in the forest, moss, lichen, squirrels, birdsong, sounds of water on rock and branch. It was great. None of that caught my eye on the way up, since I was just focused on surviving and not lagging behind too much.

I think I’ll stick to lone hiking as much as I can as well. Hiking with a group is nice, but you don’t get to experience the forest. Everyone keeps talking, and it seems like no one is willing to just be quiet and *be* in the woods for a bit. You never stop, and when you do, it feels like you should really be getting on your way. I’d much rather take an hour to hike a mile because I’m being pulled off the trail by interesting things.

The truth of the matter is that as I try things, especially right now, I’m treating them like side missions in a game, and secondary characters. Running the story out to see if it works with the plot of my life. I felt bad about that at first, but I’m a secondary character to everyone else too, so it’s fine in my estimation. We’re all just trying to figure out ourselves and how we fit into the tapestry of the world’s story. Not much else we can do.

“The world is dark the night is long
I could use a few laughs and a couple of songs”

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