September 9, 2013

Up the mountain.

     Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday last Friday!! All of the love from my blogging friends helped to make my day extra special. :-)

     Since I had classes on the morning of my birthday, I spent that night celebrating with new friends from my new school. But I couldn't let my birthday weekend go by without a celebration with some friends from my former school! I was trying to think of creative ideas for birthday fun that wouldn't cost a lot of money, and then it hit me... a birthday hike!

     When I was little, my parents and I used to hike every now and then up a small mountain in Maine that was about half an hour from my house. But it has been at least six years since I've been there, and I haven't really done that much hiking since then! I had always wanted to hike during my freshman year but I never got around to it. Crowders Mountain State Park in Gaston County, NC is about the halfway point between Charlotte and my old school. So I invited some of my girlfriends from freshman year to meet me for an afternoon of hiking on Saturday, and that was a wonderful decision! :-)

A rest stop on the way up the mountain with a couple of my lovely friends!

     While getting to see the summit of the mountain was 100% worth the trek up, that doesn't mean that it was an easy hike!! When I had looked on the Crowders' Mountain website I found a trail that was a little over 2.5 miles one way and was described as "moderate." That sounded perfect for our little group, and the website made it sound like it ended right at the summit. Wellllll..... not exactly. ;-) The trail was definitely more work then "moderate" and it ended a full mile from the summit! The only trail that lead to the top was labeled as difficult... mainly because the last section of it was hundreds of steep stairs leading directly up.

Just a few of the many steps we had to go up!

     I was really struggling right before we reached the top. Sweat was literally dripping down all part of my body, and the little bit of water left in my water bottle had turned hot. My arms hurt from carrying up my totebag of hiking essentials (like the water bottle and camera) and my feet hurt from the tightness of my sneakers.

     But literally all of those feelings of discomfort went away the second that I saw the summit:






     The pictures almost don't do it justice. It was one of the most beautiful things that I've ever seen in my life! The whole time that I was at the summit, all that I could think about was God, and how marvelous His creation his. How anyone could look at a view like that and not be able to acknowledge that there is a divine creator is beyond me. I also thought about how most bible verses that mention mountains say something along the lines of how God has the power to move the mountains. Just this one mountain seemed huge to me, and this was far from being the largest mountain in North Carolina, and certainly not even close to being the largest in the US! Thinking about how our God has the power to move all of these mountains at any given time was incredible... and it made me feel very small and humbled.

     All in all we ended up hiking about six miles, and I'll just say that my body has been paying me back for that since (I'm sore everywhere!). But again, it was 100% worth it, and it makes me want to get back into hiking! I'm not a camper and I never will be (I like to sleep in my own bed at night) but I would like to get more into taking nature related day trips like this one. Exploring God's creation is a healthy and cheap activity with so many benefits!!

     After the hike the five of us gals went to a Mexican restaurant in a nearby town to have my second birthday dinner. My best friend K from my former school met us at the restaurant. It was a wonderful evening of good food and fun conversation.

I had one more friend there who was the one taking this picture. :-)


     Seeing this picture makes me so thankful that I still have such close friendships with the girls who went to my former school, and I'm grateful that they supported me in my decision to transfer and still value my friendship! That might have just been the best birthday present of all.


     xoxo Miss ALK

6 comments:

  1. Beeaaauuutiful view!! Mmmm, Mexican :)

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  2. Oh, so fun! Glad you had a fabulous day, sweet girl! I'm sorry I wasn't online that day and didn't wish you a happy birthday...I love you lady!!

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  3. Looks like you had an awesome day(s) celebrating! So fun that you could mix time with old friends and new :)

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  4. Your birthday sounds like it was perfect :) I'm jealous that you have access to views like that!!

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  5. LOVE this! Hiking and exploring are some of my favorite things to do :) These are beautiful photos!

    xo, gina

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  6. You look you had so much fun! That was an awesome idea to go for hike with friends and enjoy the day for your birthday instead of doing anything over the top!

    XX,
    Em

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