By Sam Lovett
It seemed like days passed on the first mile of my very first big hike at Yosemite National Park — not in the sense that the hike took forever, but rather, I felt like I had seen a thousand new sceneries in just a short walk uphill. I thought, in that moment, “the world is a lot larger than the streets and avenues of New York City.”
I’ve lived in a city my whole life — first Chicago and then NYC, but after my time in Yosemite I was addicted to the views that hiking a big mountain would provide me. However, as I grew up and searched for more places to hike in upstate New York, hiking a mountain and its inevitable beauty became less important to me than the speed at which I climbed it. I developed an eternal, ambiguous competition with myself to walk up fast (sometimes I ran up) because I wanted to prove to myself that I could defeat the mountain. I had lost the sense of wanting to look up from the ground, stop, and dreamily gaze at the far distance that seemed almost untouchable. I had lost my love for the beauty that hiking gave me without any cost.
Thinking about my relationship with hiking as a young kid, my eventual great departure into the “tween years,” and my subsequent relationship with the mountains, it’s “frustratingly laughable” — the perfect oxymoron. Upon reflection and maturity I now appreciate the beauty of hiking and all that it has to offer rather than the speed at which I make it up the mountain, but it is frustrating that I do not get to hike as much as I’d like to. Even though I live in Colorado now, it is hard to find the time, the car, and the perfect weather to go for a hike. Furthermore, I am constantly studying or participating in my extracurricular activities (as most students are at Colorado College), and it is nearly impossible to truly go for a hike.
But there is hope, I have learned. While it might not be a hike with big hills, the Tiger Trail has become my new favorite aspect at CC. I try to run or walk around the north loop at least twice a week. At most, it takes up to an hour of my day of necessary relaxation. It is certainly ideal for students who like to overload their schedules like I do because it is close to the library. Sunshine hits the trail right at 3:45 p.m., which is when most students are burnt out from studying, and you don’t even need running shoes because the mud is usually frozen over. Finally, it gives your brain the fresh oxygen that you need in order to keep working.
If you haven’t gone on the trail yet — go ASAP! And if you do know what I am writing about, try to at least go once a week. Besides, there are adorable dogs on the trail, and you will receive free pet therapy for a boost of happiness and relaxation.