The snow has melted which means that all the hiking junkies climb out of their hibernation holes to head to the mountains! I’ve had the pleasure of having this past weekend off of work and what better thing to do with your Sunday than hike around little ol’ Ouray? The sun was shining brighter than expected and it actually felt hot for the first time in a long while. We were probably at a high of 60 degrees and we were sweating… there’s Colorado girls for ya. I went hiking with my friend Bella and we treated the hike as a much needed therapy session. We took the time to reminisce on our freshman year and although we both went to the same university, we had very different experiences, some good and some bad. We came to the conclusion that despite mistakes made, it’s the lessons we learned that mattered.
The hike felt symbolic to our first year of college. The beginning of the hike was very steep and difficult to hike due to not being adjusted to the elevation and being generally out of shape from the year of eating crappy dining hall food and probably not exercising as much as we should have. The beginning of the hike reminded me of the hump that I had to overcome when I first moved to Fort Collins. I didn’t know hardly anyone, the adjustment process was a slow one, and I had to do it on my own. It was a process that took strength and motivation to push through and get to the top.
As we walked on, the hike would flatten out at some points and the sun would poke through the trees to cast bright sun spots to walk through and briefly warm you. I relate this to the moments of making new friends in college. The whole first year was a task to adapt and find my place and people and when I would find someone who I especially vibed well with, I felt as though they were a break in the struggle of everything. They were the sunny patches that ended up making the entire trip more enjoyable.
As expected at this time of year, we hit muddy patches. The mud caused us to jump from little rocks to small patches of dry land. It was sometimes difficult to maneuver but nothing we couldn’t handle. My first year definitely wasn’t easy on me, I don’t believe it is on anyone and that’s the great thing about it. The first year challenges you like you’ve never been challenged before. Perhaps you’ve experienced the work load that college lays on you but for me, this was the first time that I was completely alone without my family and set to start a life in a new and different environment. I hit some muddy patches along the way, got my boots a bit dirty, but in the end, the mud had a lot to teach me. It taught me confidence, confidence in myself as I rushed the rough patches of the trail. It taught me strength to overcome obstacles in my path and it taught me to accept the trail for what it was in the raw. The trail isn’t designed to make you comfortable, it’s designed to challenge you and that is exactly what it did for the entirety of my first year of college and I learned to love the hard work that it took to succeed.
As we came to the end of the trail, we looked at our progress and smiled. We had made it around the entire perimeter of Ouray. Our strength brought us full circle, as it did for us with our freshman year of college. What a great adventure it truly was!