Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater the attraction of its lonely freedom. If you get too deep in it, you can get lost in that kind of freedom. For me, mountains were what made me equivalate life to peaks. With the same strength, desire to win the grail, and the courage to descend with the same enthusiasm while on mountains, the same goes into life.
There will always be new mountains that need to be conquered with life, new trails that need sampling, craters that require love, and the dirt of it all is never quite enough.
Like mountains, life has a rule. They are harsh rules, but whether you like it or not, they are there, and if you keep to them, you will be safe while on the mountain. Unfortunately, the mountains are not like humans. Mountains are sincere, and the weapons to conquer real mountains exist inside you, inside your soul.
And Sometimes, Mountains Bring Treasures
Every single mountain I have done has given me secrets I never knew I needed to learn. And while it has taken time, I have come to realize that no matter how hard it can get, you just need to hold long enough, and that’s when you find the strength to rise up. Mountains also taught me that there are days when it’s okay to not get to the summit because you can always go back and conquer it again.
Sometimes, you impromptu decide to climb that Mount Longonot Crater that you ignored for so long, without even realizing that down that crater floor, in the same day you hike, the same time frame you’re within the vicinity, the treasure will climb off the crater and show up down a valley and bring nothing but love and joy in your life.
Lito Tejada-Flores once said, “You never climb the same mountain twice, not even in memory. Memory rebuilds the mountains, changes the weather, retells the jokes, remakes all the moves.” And when I think of that beautiful sunny day that I did Mt. Longonot, I see different scenarios every time.
Experienced mountain climbers are never intimidated by mountains; they are inspired by it. I have met enough experienced hikers who always downplayed the subtle beauty and challenge of the Longonot crater. However, I still intended to do on my birthday, and when I couldn’t, I had to go back and do it.
When I think of it today, there is a reason (like there is always a reason for everything) why I never got to do it as planned because if I had done then, I would never have procured some of the treasures I got off of that crater.
I was healing from heartbreak at the time, and I had taken some time off to find some peace in the wilderness far from the shit that was my life at the time. As a matter of fact, I want to be on mountains so bad that I did Ndia ya Njaa gorge then did Mt. Longonot the day after. Crazy right?
Yes crazy. In fact, this was around the time, my knee started having issues. I did two tasking hikes within hours; what did I think would happen?
Tell you what! I didn’t expect to wretch my knee, but I also didn’t expect to find treasures clothed in black delighted, and messaged t-shirts. I never expected to come off that mountain and into my camping site down a valley with a new kind of love.
They say that those who travel to mountain-tops are half in love with themselves and half in love with oblivion. Well, I was absolutely in love with the oblivion, but at the time, self-love was starting to fade from me. There comes a time in life you feel like all is lacking, like there more to life, but you always get the short-hand of it and sometimes, ain’t nothing with being there.
Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken – Frank Herbert.
Mt Longonot Woke Me Up
I needed to wake up; I just didn’t know-how. And I most definitely didn’t think that off of the crater floor, my walking medicine was maneuvering those treacherous trails.
Walt Whitman must have been eating a bowl of cereal off of a mountain when he said; “Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth” because I was eating a bowl of cereal the morning when I fully realized this, and it was the morning of that climb.
I hadn’t slept for weeks, but I managed to get some sleep the first night I camped at Malewa. The night before Mt. Longonot, I pretty much passed out and still woke up on time and got to the mountain on time too.
Hiking really is a bit more like life because the journey only requires putting one foot in front of the other, again and again, and again, pushing and pushing and pushing, even when it gets mad-hard. And if you allow yourself the opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the trek, you will witness beauty every step of the way, not just at the summit.
It wasn’t the ascend of Longonot that brought beauty; it was the descend. It was the descend that brought incomparable treasure—a new kind of freshness, desire, love, maturity, and appreciation. The descendants helped reveal a beauty that mountains tend not to disclose to those who don’t make an effort.
I gave the mountain effort, and it brought me beauty. It was here that I have come to learn that mountains will reveal their choice gifts for those who push themselves to stand upon their summits. And though I deeply love mountains and wild landscapes, it is only this mountain that beckoned me with some sort of magnetic pull that wanted me to walk deeper and deeper into that beauty.
Beyond the Crater and the Valley
Off that crater and deep down into the valley, this treasure turned to be like trees. Friendly and ready and unconditionally willing to give me rest and shadowed refuge. Slipping through it, I have felt safe and competent. My whole body has experienced occupancy, with little energy to think or worry.
This treasure has added beauty to my life, put a special burn on sunsets, and made the night air smell better. And though I see my path and have no idea where it leads, I know that I’m better for it. I know that I can’t wait to see what more life has to offer, what treasures arise from this particular rose quartz, what gems I will come across, and I know for sure that life is better for it.
It has been two months since, and I have learned that no matter how hard I try to keep pace with my life and try to push myself to be strong, sometimes it can seem hard to endure. But then life sends the one gift that will give you consolation and make you feel better.
A lot can get messy with life, especially if you are on a trail that is an unfamiliar place on your own. But this only makes us even more courageous. I never feel companionless anymore, even when I am forced to deal with certain dangers independently.
If you think you’ve peaked, find a new mountain. ~ John Muir
The beautiful thing about hiking is that it is genuinely an activity anyone can do. Whether old or young, an amateur or expert, there is a trail out there that will be perfect for you, and that will give treasures you never expected to beget because there is never enough dirt!