my life sounds like this

this was an assignment from english 1010 that i was actually proud of and ethan told me to post it so here it is.


An Unexpected Adventure

My life sounds like cheers and applause and lyrics from “We are the Champions” by Queen. Just kidding. Too many songs describe my whole life, but I believe every song conjures a memory. Listening to music I’m reminded of a vivid memory that helped me learn how much I love the outdoors.

A jagged cliff is next to my face. My fingers grip the sharp rock. Slowly, Connor, Ethan, two dogs, and I move down the face of the cliff that belongs to part of the “shortcut” we take on our way home from a backpacking trip. Just 24 hours earlier we were bouncing around in the seats of Connor’s truck as we made our way up the rough road to the start of our destination.

“Children, wake up. Hold your mistake up before they turn the summer into dust.” Looking back I can say that my friends and I lived by those lines from “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire. Connor, Ethan and I had a fever that summer. We had the fever of adventure. We got really into this ultralight backpacking thing. Basically you pack only what you really need, then go forage in the wilderness for a few days living off dehydrated food and granola bars. Sounds like fun right!?

We stand at the trailhead of High Creek Canyon. My feet are planted in the moist dirt as a cool breeze ruffles my hair. I watch Ethan check his pack one last time to make sure he brought everything. Connor and I stand anxiously waiting to start our journey.

As we make our way up the steep, loose trail, music rings in our ears. We have this set of songs that we listen to whenever we are on one of these backpacking trips. One of my favorites from the playlist, “Welcome Home” by Radical Face, always meant the outdoors and adventure to me. “I’ve come home, all my nightmares escaped my head.” Often times the lyrics in a song don’t come out and say their meaning. Sometimes the personal meaning comes from how it makes you feel and the memories it conjures.

Wildflowers scatter the early August vibrant foliage. Cherry Peak looms over us as we stop to refill our water in a mountain stream. Step by step we make our way up the faint trail surrounded by gorgeous scenery. Finally we arrive at our destination: High Creek Lake. High Creek lake is a beautiful mountain lake nestled just below Cherry Peak.  We find a spot to hang our hammocks next to the lake. I lie there in my hammock watching the sun disappear from the horizon without a worry in my mind. No job to stress over, no phone to worry about, and most of all no school to attend.

We make our way to the summit of Cherry Peak as the sun rises. I imagine the words of “Celeste” by Ezra Vine playing in the background. “I’m on the road with my clothes in a rucksack over my shoulder following the whispers.” We sit on the peak for a good moment just taking it all in. At 9,765 feet the whole valley sits under us. I sit on a rock eating dried apples and pink lemonade fruit snacks. The dogs sniff around on the rocks while Ethan and Connor snap pictures of the view. Eventually we decide to move on.

Now, all we need to do is follow the trail down the other side of the mountain to where we will be picked up. The trail sort of curves around a bit and makes this big switchback that adds about 2-3 miles to the actual distance to the bottom. Of course with us being teenage boys, we decide to forget the trail and just go straight down the fairly steep looking face. Thinking we’ll save loads of time and energy, we all agree. Half sliding half jogging, we make our way down through the small bushes and loose rocks. As the going gets rougher and steeper, we realize that the trail served as the better option. But we keep going.

The ground flattens out a bit and I walk forward to where Connor stands looking down. As I near closer I see the problem, a particularly steep hundred feet or so of jagged rock cliff.  With steep cliffs jutting out to the right and left, moving around the cliff isn’t an option. We discuss our problem: dogs can’t rock climb. Eventually, we come up with a plan. Heart pounding, I start out. I climb a few feet down the cliff. Ethan then hands me one of the dogs. I hold the dog in one hand while Ethan climbs a few feet below me. I then hand the dog to Ethan, and climb a few feet below Ethan. We repeat that process until we make it to safer ground. It takes a while, but we make it work. Eventually, the steep slope flattens out and we see the friendly sign of the faint trail. Talking about the adventure we just experienced, none of us regret it.

As I look back on this memory I think it describes me well. I love anything in the outdoors, and I’m not afraid to take risks. Through this memory and many others I learned how much I love spending time in the outdoors. Those trips that we took that year, and others more recently, taught me how sometimes you just need to get away from it all. In conclusion a few lines from a song that I love fits well, “Stay Alive” by Jose Gonzalez : “There is a truth and it’s on our side, Dawn is coming, Open your eyes, Look into the sun as the new days rise.”


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