Reaching the Pinnacle: Preview

Two posts in one day? I’m on a roll! Just kidding. But I do have a bit of a preview for you. Going to school in Kentucky has certainly been an interesting aspect of my life for the past four years. I’m from a metropolitan area, been in a relatively large city for all my life, and then for college, I made a major switch to a small town filled with “country folk.” This has been a learning experience for both parties (but I’ll get to that momentarily). But despite my overall feelings about the state of Kentucky, I can at least say that the landscape is one of pure beauty. Why am I saying all this? Well, just keep reading below:

I went hiking today. My school pretty much owns the entire town (you know, like a legitimate college town), and we have a mountain: The Pinnacle. It is Appalachia after all. Because of the importance that the mountains have to the Appalachian region, we get a day off from class every October to celebrate what we call Mountain Day. That’s how hardcore “we love mountains” we are. So the Pinnacle is the place to go for hiking, and despite being at this school for four years, I had never hiked it.

That is until today.

Pinnacle Views

Some of those buildings comprise Berea College, my school. This is the west side of the mountain (known as the West Pinnacle aka: the prettier side of the mountain). Of course, since it’s just now starting to truly feel like spring, most of the vegetation still looked dead. But there were birds and butterflies fluttering about, and the weather was perfect for the climb.

I mentioned the difference between city and country folk earlier. I went on this hike with my friends Frank, Kylie, and Peytone. Kylie and Frank are both from little towns in Kentucky while Peytone is from Louisville (which is as close to big and metropolitan as you’re going to get in this state). It’s funny the assumptions that we made about one another because the differences in upbringing, though most of them came from Frank’s view of city dwellers. For instance, on our way down from the mountain, Frank took off his shoes. Of course we pointed out the “country-like nature” of the action (though I ran around barefoot all the time as a child…still do when I get the chance), and Kylie mentioned how she used to walk on gravel barefoot as a kid. This led to a discussion about how I knew what gravel was and how surprised Frank was to discover this.

I totally have gravel at the bottom of my driveway…

On our way back from the gas station that sells amazing soft serve, we drove past a creek. I pointed it out to everyone and Frank said, “Rhonda, you know what a creek is? That makes me happy!”

Why would I not know what a creek is? There’s one literally 5 minutes from my house…

I guess this hike was very much a bringing together of two different kinds of people in several ways:

  • Those who are in shape and those who are not.
  • Those who burn easily and those who do not.
  • Those who are from little towns and those from big cities.

Peytone the Hiker

But I think that’s what made this hike so rewarding (and I’m not just talking about the ice cream we got afterward). Aside from just getting to hang out with my friends and being silly, we actually learned stuff about each other all while taking pictures and enjoying mother nature. This brings me to the most important aspect of this whole ordeal:

The challenge.

I am not the most physically fit person; I can admit this. Of course, that’s not to say that I don’t like being active. I love the outdoors (except during cicada season) and I can hold my own in games of volleyball, tag, soccer, etc. So when Peytone and Frank asked if I wanted to go hiking with them, I said yes. And sure, I complained a bit (not as much as Kylie) and lagged behind a little, but the experience was worth it.

Friends don’t let friends back down from challenges.

This was especially true for the final climb. We couldn’t figure out how to get up on the tallest rock, so we went for the one right next to it. The problem: I don’t climb much. On anything. I used to, but over the years, I’ve stopped working my upper body to successfully be able to support my weight in certain situations…like climbing rocks with very few hand/foot holds. So I’m stuck on a lower rock, and everyone else is harassing (read: encouraging) me to climb up. And after repeatedly telling them no while making the occasional attempt, I finally figured I’d really commit to getting up there with them. And with some yelling and a lot of laughter, I managed to pull myself up and roll onto the rock. See:

Mountain Conqueror

And all the cuts, scrapes, blood, sweat, laughter…it was all worth it. If you could see my legs right now, you’d think I actually fell down the mountain rather than successfully climbed it. But I don’t regret a thing. I think that’s my new approach to life. It’s weird that it’s taken me 4 years to truly embrace those words my surrogate mother spoke to me so long ago, but I’m living by them now:

Try, lest you regret it.

I’m a mountain conqueror…

…and I don’t regret a thing.

More pictures from this expedition will be posted soon. I’ve got a million projects in the works, so the next few weeks worth of post will be all over the place, but they will be fun. Now if you don’t mind, I’ve got a shower to take. Enjoy this beautiful spring weather and have a great evening!

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