by Natalie Yuhas
Over Columbus Day weekend, I had the opportunity to go to New Hampshire with Boston College’s Outdoor Club. We drove to White Mountain National Park and spent the day hiking up Mount Osceola. Before this point, I had considered myself a fairly outdoorsy person; I live next door to the Cleveland Metroparks South Chagrin Reservation and spend many summer days hiking, biking, and river-walking around there. As we pulled into the park, however, I came to the crippling realization that the land in Ohio is incredibly flat and hiking in New Hampshire may have been a bit of an ambitious endeavor.
Needless to say, I was the diva of the group. My lungs were on fire and I was ready for a lunch break within fifteen minutes of starting our trek up Mount Osceola. I just kept thinking, “I’m not going to make it to the top of the mountain. I’m definitely not going to make it to the top of the mountain.” I was so focused on moving forward at the speed of the rest of the group and on making it to the final destination, that I failed to appreciate the beauty of the journey. When we finally did stop for water, I was able to sit and look around. I was absolutely amazed at how gorgeous the scenery was. There were miles of pine trees as far as you could see, which made the crisp air smell just like Christmas and the rocks were precariously stacked with small streams running between the jagged edges. It was one of those moments where I couldn’t believe I was seeing something so amazing with my own eyes. At that moment, I couldn’t even imagine how incredible the view from the top of the mountain would be, if just this insignificant spot along the trail was enough to take my breath away.
Reflecting on my experience of hiking up my first mountain, I thought of the connection between the physical journey I took that weekend and the spiritual journey I am constantly on. Often times I find myself too focused on the end goals: I need to get my work and obligations out of the way during the week so that I can relax and enjoy the weekend. I need to go to class and take exams because I want to graduate, get a job, and start my life as an adult. I go to mass even though I have a million things to do because I want to be a good Catholic and go to Heaven. There is more to the journey, though, than just the final destination. God has made the hike to the top of whatever mountain you are climbing beautiful if you just stop to appreciate it. I am able to find God in the simple, beautiful moments of everyday that let me know that I am going to make it to the top of the mountain. I am definitely going to make it to the top of the mountain.